Bill Moyers Compares Surge Of Additional Troops To Afghanistan To Doomed Surge Of The Light Brigade

Bill Moyers concluded his PBS program, Bill Moyer’s Journal, this week, by quoting the familiar poem by Tennyson, “The Charge Of The Light Brigade,” and by comparing the British Empire’s pursuit of the useless and deadly Crimean War to the American Empire’s pursuit of a deadly Afghanistan War.

Some one had blunder'd

Some one had blundered

Moyers said he had just recently watched a forty year old movie, The Charge Of The Light Brigade, and he says it is a movie that Obama and his advisors should watch. Moyers says that for the British Empire, during the Crimean War, “the delusions and grandeur of empire dissolved into the blood and guts of brave but doomed warriors” and, he says, “You can only wish our president and his advisers would watch it in the White House theatre as they prepare the surge from which many now living will never return.

Moyers says, “My friend Parker Palmer speaks of stripping away of illusion to stand on the firm ground of reality. That’s something to keep in mind as America seems heading once again into a foreign adventure that’s more slippery slope than terra firma. This very week, President Obama let it be known that he has approved increasing American forces in Afghanistan immediately by nearly 50 percent — at a cost, by the way, of $775,000 per soldier every year according to one recent estimate.”

“Thinking of the troops who will pay the ultimate price for foreign expeditions like this, I came the other day, quite by chance, on the DVD of one of those classic movies that all policymakers, generals and pundits should see before they point young people toward hell and shout, “Charge.” Those of you who hearken back to when our English teachers required us to memorize poetry, will recognize the title of the film immediately. “The Charge of the Light Brigade” was Alfred Lord Tennyson’s epic account of the slaughter of an elite British cavalry riding straight into Russian cannon during the Crimean War.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.”

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3 Responses to Bill Moyers Compares Surge Of Additional Troops To Afghanistan To Doomed Surge Of The Light Brigade

  1. Tom says:

    Well, Moyers ought to keep his uppity mouth shut. My guess is he helped Obama become President, and did his best to help President Johnson while we were in another quagmire, Vietnam.

    Perhaps Moyers should go to the White House and read poetry to his president….maybe he can forestall the next disastrous investment of money and troops.

  2. Rick says:

    Gosh, isn’t Afghanistan where the Taliban ruled and fostered Al Queda and where they trained terrorists? I guess Bill Moyers wants America attacked again.

  3. Stan Hirtle says:

    Another chilling line from Kipling

    When wounded you lie on Afghanistan’s plains
    And the women come out to carve up the remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    And go to your God like a soldier.

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