January 1, 2007  


For his lecture on the “Meaning of Freedom” at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Moyers’ impressive speech, both thought-provoking and deeply moving, deserves to be read in its entirety by all who serve. Two issues raised by Moyers are especially noteworthy. First, he exposes Congress’ double standards with regard to the troops on the ground. Moyers told the West Point cadets: “The chicken hawks in Washington, who at this very moment are busily defending you against supposed ‘insults’ or betrayals by the opponents of the war in Iraq, are likewise those who have cut budgets for medical and psychiatric care, … who sent the men and women whom you may soon be commanding into Iraq understrength, underequipped and unprepared for dealing with a kind of war fought in streets and homes full of civilians against enemies undistinguishable from non-combatants.”

Second, is his reminder of the clause in the Constitution that confides the question of war and peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department. Moyers argues that twice in 40 years we have gone to war paying only lip service to this tenet. “So when the vice president of the United States says it doesn’t matter what the people think, he and the president intend to prosecute the war anyway, he is committing heresy against the fundamental tenets of the American political order.” Read the full text at http://www.tompaine.com/print/message_to_west_point.php.