Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Shakespeare Turns A Spotlight On Bush And Iraq

By Arianna Huffington

June 02, 2004

As our anger, anguish and anxiety about Iraq continue to mount, I find myself looking for clarity and understanding not in the media’s daily play-by-play, which confuses more than it illuminates (Did we win in Fallujah or get our butts kicked?), but rather in Shakespeare’s “Henry V.” I’ve found it contains far more truth about our present situation than anything coming out of the White House or the Pentagon.

The impetus for this rearward search for insight was an invitation to take part in a debate sponsored by The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., about the wisdom of King Henry V’s decision to lead an English army into France in 1415.

The parallels between Shakespeare’s wartime king and our current president, George II, are many and delicious — from the pair’s hard-partying younger days (Prince Hal was a 15th-century feckless frat boy-prankster) to the challenge of following in a powerful father’s footsteps right up to the critical matter of whether their wartime adventures made them courageous commanders or failed leaders.

The central question, then as now, was whether the invasion of another country was a war of choice or a war of necessity. If the answer is a war of choice — and it is for both Henry and W — then the inevitable conclusion is that they were both immoral wars. For there can be no moral war of choice.

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