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The 6th of June, 1944
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, June 06, 2006

As incredible an event as it was an invasion, the dawning of that grey day changed the world. And it was an event carried that day by mostly 19 and 20 year old men for whom the beaches of Normandy were their first, and for many their last, taste of combat.
The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead, or on the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.
Those words were from President Ronald Reagan's 40th anniversary tribute to the 'boys of Point du Hoc', the US Army Rangers who scaled the cliffs of Normandy and took that critical piece of real estate in order to eliminate German positions threatening the success of the invasion.

But in a larger sense, his words still resonate today. And we should remember them as we remember those who hit Omaha, Sword, Juno, Gold and Utah beaches. We should consider them in the context of Iraq.

What will be said of the effort in Iraq in 62 years? How will it and those who fought there be remembered? At a minimum, when we commit men and women to combat, like those honored by President Reagan, they deserve our full and unqualified support. I hope that the 62nd anniversary of the conclusion of Operation Iraqi Freedom will be held in a peaceful Baghdad with everyone thanking that past generation for having the courage to do what was right and finish the job. It is the least they deserve.

UPDATE (Dale): Just to remember, this was what they were thinking that morning:
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.


SIGNED: Dwight D. Eisenhower
It's been a while since we, as a country, were all so united around such morally clear rhetoric.
 
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If the bottom line is NO NUCLEAR BOMB for IRAN everything you say makes sense.
But the official US policy is no nuclear processing in Iran not even R&D, and the unofficial unstated policy is regime change! No nuclear weapons is the European read line too and we have to move closer to that. Now you have made list of demands from Iran but you have failed to mention what Iranian demands the US and its allies should be meet?
Keep in mind we don’t trust them and they don’t trust us either, so everything agreed has to be checked and double-checked and to be very clear so it won’t be any room for fudge.
From what I understand Iran in addition to its NPT right to develop nuclear fuel they want:
1)Normal diplomatic relations with the US, lifting the US embargo and unfreezing their assets.
2)WTO membership
3)Security warrantees, that they won’t be attacked by us or our proxies (Iraqis, Saudis, Pakistanis, Israelis etc.) They still remember that we have encouraged Saddam to attack them.
In my estimation this administration after have branded them "the axis of evil" can’t make a reversal and bargain, we have to wait for the next US administration (and Iranian governmement) for a comprehensive peace treaty.
 
Written By: vs
URL: http://
There’s a saying I contemplate often. It’s from Judge Learned Hand, from about sixty years ago:
Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.
It applies here as well. If, as a society, we have lost the confidence that liberty is right and good, then we have also lost the will to defend it, wherever it requires defending.

Those who can only concentrate on how "evil" America is do not realize that they have, in fact, lost liberty in their hearts. They think it means security - no worries about healthcare or a job or a house. They think it means the implementation of their utopian vision. It does not mean that.

It means being given the opportunity to shape a life unfettered by those who would use force upon us to compel us to serve them, whether those be tyrants or bureaucrats. It means the freedom to live where we want, work as we wish, keep the money we earn, and trade with others in good faith, with no interference from those who, with the best of intentions or with the passion to rule, are sure they know better than we do what is good for us.

This is what those men fought for 62 years ago. This is what many of them died for. This is what our young men are dying for today in the Middle East.

It should be clear to any thinking being that, for all its faults, the United States of America has brought more freedom, joy, and prosperity to the world than any nation in the history of mankind. It deserves defending. It deserves the benefit of the doubt, especially when its opponents are vicious dictators or religious fanatics that wish to slaughter unbelievers or dissembling remnants of an elite nobility.

I have studied WWII in gruesome detail because the idea that such evil could be loose in the world is mystifying to me. I can tell you of horrendous mistakes by our leaders. Hundreds or thousands of men who died because of poor judgement or random chance. Countries that were ravaged simply because they happened to be where a battle had to be fought. Innumerable civilians who died in places like Dresden and Hiroshima.

But, at that time, our people understood the cost of liberty. They understood that their choice was to fight now, or fight alone in the future against the most awesome war machines that had ever been created. They understood that our leaders are human, and therefore they make mistakes.

Now, I read the incessant carping in every major news publication - how our leaders are inept, and every mistake they make, no matter how minor, is trumpeted as proof of that. The successes are either outright ignored or minimized as of no consequence.

We will, I believe, prevail in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, eventually. I believe some parts of that area are headed for a period of peace and prosperity they’ve not seen in a thousand years. That does not mean perfection - it just means that they stop killing themselves and others as a routine part of their lives. And maybe, if we are lucky, they will grow to understand liberty, enough to fight for it.

What I worry about is the next time our lives and liberty are threatened, twenty years or fifty years from now. Because it’s clear that we have far too many citizens who no longer understand liberty. If they understood it, they would understand, as Thomas Jefferson did, that it must be vigorously defended. But they prefer the comforting belief that war is obsolete, and that all we have to do is talk to our enemies long enough and they will magically become friends. They prefer to complain about lack of healthcare, and dwell on perceived slights about race or religion or sexual orientation.

The number becomes larger each year, as schools shy away from teaching the grim reality of war and the Enlightenment foundation of our society that the teachers themselves no longer understand. So far, we have used technology to bridge the gap, making do with a smaller and smaller military. I stand in awe of the competence, bravery, and spirit of the young men and women that fight for us now. They are so few. They protect so much. And they do it, mostly, with grace and elan.

In a society in which the pursuit of Utopia has displaced the pursuit of liberty, will we have such men and women fifty years hence? I hope so, but I fear not.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
One small point McQ, they weren’t by-and-large 19 and 20 y.o’s. The average of the combat veteran in WWII was 26. FDR vowed no 18.yo.’s would be sent overseas to fight under his Administration. It was something of a hot potato that this decision was reversed in Late 1944 in response to the desperate shortage of 11-B’s (yes, I know 11-B is modern terminology) the ETO, which also led to the introduction of Blacks into non-Coloured units as 11-B’s as well (then considered a point of pride for Blacks, or Negroes or Coloureds depending on your desired terms in whatever era you desire). So they weren’t callow youths, they were by-and-large men who had been rooted in civilian life, however briefly.

It is later US Armies that went to war with 18 and 19 y.o’s... the Army of draftees in Korea, though not the National Guard units mobilized, and most of all Vietnam.

BTW, how DID the first posting in this section relate exactly to your point?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
62 years on. The drawing of unwanted parallels. If we’re gonna stretch out the parallels for this minor war to a great conflict, then so be it.


If Bush had led America into France...

You’ve taken the beaches, scaled the cliffs and advanced to Paris, all for the loss of 500 men...and now are attempting to establish a democracy in France. There are some pesky remenants of the old Vichy regime (dead enders) attempting to resist the occupation and they enjoy some support from their co-totalitarian Nazi German and Facist Austrian regimes, but the USA has started to impose sanctions on those regimes and feel sure that they can made to see reason. Also there is troubling concern with your ally the USSR which (as well as spreading communist totalitarianism and sponsoring red brigade terrorism) is possibly supporting co-totalitarian communist death squads, but the USA has stated time and again that the USSR is a trusted ally.

So far there is so much positive news that has come out of France, which is under-reported in the MSP (mainstream papers). There have been elections where the Trotski-ite branch of the local communist party has placed its leader at the head of coalition with the Stalinist communists, but is facing some opposition from the national socialist union for France and the Basques who are taking an opportunity to set up a semi-autonomist captal in Biaritz (Spanish troops are massing at the border). In other positive news death tolls amoung American GIs has fallen dramatically and the tit for tat communist/facist revenge killings are expected to dealt with by the police forces of the Democratic Peoples Republic of France.

All that is required now is faith that liberty will be fostered in France and from there spread to the neighbouring countries.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
I appreciate both McQ and Dale reminding us of the Allied leaders and soldiers in WW2, who spoke and fought — albeit sometimes imperfectly — for what was right, who weren’t squeamish about utterly destroying those who chose to be their enemies, and who didn’t flinch from using language like ’Crusade’ in describing their efforts because they believed in the justness of their fight.

I also appreciate Unaha-closp reminding us of how enemy propagandists like Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally behaved, loudly and repeatedly broadcasting that the American leaders were lying, that the efforts of the troops were doomed, and that they should just give up and go home.

Certain parallels between then and now are, indeed, striking.
 
Written By: Shad
URL: http://
Shad,

Yes, that would be the broadcast where Tokyo Rose berated the Americans for declaring complete victory after they had captured Iwo Jima and setting up the Iwo Jiamian democracy.

In the first part of the Iraq conflict it was referred to as a beachhead for democracy. This is an accurate description, like the landings at Normandy were beachheads. And like the Normandy landings it is not good enough to settle for just having a beachhead - even after they had liberated all of France it was not good enough. The men of WW2 utterly destroyed the lesser evil of nazism and confronted the more powerful communists by fighting them. Bush on the otherhand made the beach head then invited the religious fanatics to the south to the Whitehouse, waved a wet bus ticket at the Syrians and might soon give the Iranians billions of dollars in civilian nuclear technology - this is not utter destruction and ultimately not a good parallel.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
What will be said of the effort in Iraq in 62 years? How will it and those who fought there be remembered
If the press has it’s way..........Abu Ghraib
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I had no idea that generals like Eisenhower used to use so many exclamation points!

Don’t you think it would strike one today as perhaps too jingoistic?
 
Written By: equitus
URL: http://
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.
Hell, if a general said that today, he’d be hauled in for manditory sensitivity training.
Don’t you think it would strike one today as perhaps too jingoistic?
No.
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
It means being given the opportunity to shape a life unfettered by those who would use force upon us to compel us to serve them, whether those be tyrants or bureaucrats. It means the freedom to live where we want, work as we wish, keep the money we earn, and trade with others in good faith, with no interference from those who, with the best of intentions or with the passion to rule, are sure they know better than we do what is good for us.

This is what those men fought for 62 years ago. This is what many of them died for. This is what our young men are dying for today in the Middle East.
Nice try but the wars are not fought to defend your particular brand of liberty alone. The men of WWII fought to defend their families and communities from annihilation or domination. They weren’t just defending their right to sell a pig at the local farmer’s market ! It strikes me that your version of liberty is all about freedom for capital, not freedom for people..
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://
The men of WWII fought to defend their families and communities from annihilation or domination.
What is domination, but loss of liberty? Which means the loss of the ability to run your own life as you see fit.
It strikes me that your version of liberty is all about freedom for capital, not freedom for people.
The classic leftist mistake. Economic freedom and political freedom are inextricably bound. If you are truly interested in the details on that, consult any of the classic economists, from John Locke to Milton Friedman.

Though I suspect you are not the least bit interested in anything that challenges leftist orthodoxy. Even though leftist systems have never in the history of mankind ever made a society wealthy, and have made many societies poor. Even though capitalist systems have led to prosperity throughout the world, and allowed billions of people to live longer, happier lives.

But, hey! Those leftists societies have free healthcare! It sucks, but it’s free! That seems to be what folks like you mean by freedom.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://

 
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