Saturday, June 5, 2010

D-Day - June 6, 1944 - Then and Now

By Alan Caruba

There is a cruel calculus of war. It is the number of casualties required to win. Beyond that, it is the consequences of losing.

Sixty-six years ago, on June 6, 1944, the greatest armada of ships and men laid siege to the beaches of Normandy, France, in an invasion that would put an end to the Nazi conquest of Europe.

The invasion was divided into sectors involving U.S., Canadian, and British troops, including airborne. Conservative estimates are that the U.S. alone lost 4,696. The U.K. lost 1,043. The Canadians lost 1,204. The total is 8,443 and, in general, it is believed to have been closer to 9,000.

As the battles raged on, pushing into Germany, some American troops under the Supreme Allied Command of Dwight Eisenhower came upon the Nazi concentration camps. Eisenhower ordered all possible photos to be taken and that Germans from the surrounding villages be required to see the camps and even be made to bury the dead.

In words to this effect, Eisenhower said, “Get it all on record now, get the films, get the witnesses, because somewhere down the road of history, some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.”

Having previously attacked al Qaeda in Afghanistan, beginning in 2003 American and allied forces engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom, invading Iraq. Between then and now, the total American losses have been just over 4,400 while the British have lost 179 and others 139 for a total of 4,720.

In seven years of combat to create a democratic government there, the losses have been half of what was lost in the D-Day invasion.

As Eisenhower predicted, in Iran and throughout the Middle East and everywhere else that Jews are hated, the Nazi Holocaust, the deliberate killing of six million Jews, is denied.

In the past week, the doyen of the White House press corps, Helen Thomas, demanded the Israelis “go home, to Germany, to Poland.” She could have added that the Israelis return to the Arab nations they had to flee following the founding of Israel in 1948 or the Russian émigrés who fled persecution in the former Soviet Union. There are six million Jews who call Israel their home.

The Israelis are home. After an exile of 2,000 years, they returned to their home and restored their nation.

On September 11, 2001, the attack on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. took approximately 3,000 American lives.

In late May, John Brennan, the Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, gave a speech in which he described the people who flew commercial airliners into those buildings and who have not stopped plotting to kill more Americans as victims of “political, economic and social forces” who should not be described in “religious terms.”

He repeated the Obama administration’s assertion that the enemy is not “terrorism”, dismissing it as a “tactic” because, he said, terrorism is “a state of mind.” Then he added that the word “jihad” should not be applied to 9/11 and the subsequent attacks such as the Fort Hood murders.

Brennan described jihad is “a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community” adding “there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women, and children.” Brennan denied the jihad that justified those murders.

Jihad has never really meant anything other than the total conquest of the world to impose Islam.

D-Day was the beginning of an epic struggle to restore and protect Western civilization against the barbarism of Nazism and every day that has passed prior to and since the establishment of Israel in 1948 has been part of this struggle, the legacy of that struggle.

Since the end of World War Two, Americans have sacrificed their lives in places like Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, joining that struggle wherever freedom is challenged, wherever the barbarism of enslavement has asserted itself.

Does anyone think that the Israelis, on the frontlines of Western civilization in a barbaric region of the world, will not ultimately have to defend themselves against Iran?

That they are not now defending themselves against Turkey that has allied itself with the Palestinians who have no legitimate claim to Israel or Jerusalem, a city holy to Judaism and Christianity? Against a people who would dare to build a mosque within a short walk from ground zero in New York?

Does anyone think we should not have landed on the beaches of Normandy in 1944?

Does anyone think that freedom is not worth fighting for and even dying for?

© Alan Caruba, 2010


juvat said...

I'm becoming increasingly convinced that the current President of the United States feels that way.

Necromancer said...

I hate to tell you this Mr. Caruba but these people didn't grow up learning these things. John Brennan is only 56 or so and didn't even graduate from HS until at least 1970.That was during the height of the Viet Nam war and the only thing he might have some knowledge of. Even my knowledge is a little shaky even though I was born in 1943 but almost all my HS teachers and of course my father and uncles and friends of the family understood what happened and where involved in WW11. Sadly all these people are passing us by.
But I read a lot and always have.If the HBO special on "The Pacific" is on again I'll be sure to watch it again. I'll probably even buy the DVD's.
By the way I did spend some time in the USMC 40 plus years ago.

Alan Caruba said...

I was born in 1937 and WWII is imprinted on my memory. My Mother and I would take the train to Long Branch, NJ to visit her parents. The train was always full of young soldiers going to and from Fort Dix.

Years later I would spend a few days in Dix on my way to Fort Benning, GA were I served.

You are right though...a whole generation who experienced the war is passing from the scene.

IrishCicero said...

Thank you.

Desertrat said...

Sand and beaches is a generational thing in my family. My father went ashore on D-Day. Just occupation duty in Korea for me, but I played on the beach at Inchon. My son had the dubious pleasure of Saudi Arabian sand in Desert Storm.

Folks in this country have had it soft and easy, pretty much since 1945, particularly since the early 1950s. When military deaths are spread out over years and years at the lesser rates since WW II and Korea, there's less actual impact on society as a whole.

So, in the vernacular, "The blood runs thinner." Soft living leads to wimpiness and "We need to understand..."

But they don't truly understand...


Karilyn said...

Thank you. My family has also served in the Army, Marines, and National Guard - my father is a CSM (retired) who was an awesome leader to the men he worked with (he just kinda sucked as a father). My son has served in the Army, a nephew in the Marines, another nephew in the Army; cousins galore in the various branches of service, not to mention the ex's service.

I have four sons, who, I pray, will not have to serve under the current administration, which I consider to be purely evil.

History will repeat itself if we don't take better care, thank you for this posting, and God bless.

Annirich said...

We have an entire 20-something generation of "everyone-get-a-trophy". No one wins; no one loses; no goals set; no achievement; no striving. And as the 20-something gal in my office said, "the rich ought to be taxed a lot". "Why" I asked her. And she said "so I don't have to pay any"! "But if you have an idea, smart, worked really hard you could be rich too. Then would you want to give your money to the guy who doesn't work at all"? Her answer....well I know I'll never be rich". Says it all. No desire, drive, goals and would rather rely on others.

Robert said...

This afternoon I watched my dvd of "The War" by Ken Burns as a way to remember the sacrifices made for my benefit. I thought of a Marine named Bill whom my mother was going to marry. He was KIA on Tarawa. I honor him....I thought of my great, great grandfather, a junior officer with the 17th Virginia Infantry in the Civil War. I honor him.....I thought of my father, M/Sgt. 101st Airborne. I honor him. And I thought of a quote by Winston Churchill.
"If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may be even a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves".

Bald PC Guy said...

Please do not forget the 147 Canadians that have fallen in Afganistan