How Not to Fight a War

Henry VI, Part I, I.i: messengers bring news to the English nobles of the calamitous loss of numerous territories of France, recently won by the now deceased Henry V.

Duke of Exeter:
How were they lost? what treachery was us’d?

No treachery, but want of men and money.
Amongst the soldiers this is muttered–
That here you maintain several factions:
And whilst a field should be dispatch’d and fought,
You are disputing of your generals;
One would have lingering wars, with little cost;
Another would fly swift, but wanteth wings;
A third thinks, without expense at all,
By guileful fair words peace may be obtain’d.
Awake, awake, English nobility!
Let not sloth dim your honours new-begot.
Cropp’d are the flower-de-luces in your arms;
Of England’s coat one half is cut away.


2 Responses to How Not to Fight a War

  1. Dr.D says:

    Are you suggesting that we are a nation divided, Stephen? Can’t you see that the new paradigm is simply total preemptive surrender? This is “hope’n change”, and boy, oh, boy, will things ever change! We are about to be totally over run by the world.

    • stephenhopewell says:

      Dr.D, the quote doesn’t apply perfectly to any single situation. On one level, it reminds one of our conduct in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, though not, sadly, in terms of the money being spent. On another level, it illustrates the fact that being “divided” is a consequence of various parties not being fully serious about the struggle, each in their own way.

      Fortunately, though we aren’t serious about defending ourselves, neither are we truly committed to surrendering.

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