June 6, 1944

imagesOn this day 70 years ago the greatest invasion force in the history of the world, led by the United States of America, set out to liberate Europe from barbarism.

My father, and my wife’s father, though they did not hit the Normandy beaches on D-Day, did sacrifice years of their lives and took part in the overall enterprise. I salute them, and all those like them who (unlike me) made such sacrifices, including the ultimate one. But if I had been one of those men jumping from landing craft at Normandy, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have lasted two minutes. In fact, many never even made it as far as the beach.

Bumper stickers saying, “War Is Not The Answer,” or “War Never Solves Anything” are puerile. War isn’t always the answer, and doesn’t solve everything – but sometimes it is, and does. Diplomacy could not have rescued Europe from the Nazis; nor freed America’s slaves (nor will it free Syria from Assad). images-1Sometimes the reality of the human condition requires us to face up to hard choices, and not wish them away with shallow pieties. It isn’t noble to renounce violence and leave the world at the mercy of those who don’t.

In his March 28 West Point speech, President Obama (otherwise so fond of “false choice” rhetoric) drew a false choice between war and no war. images-3Nobody is suggesting we rampage into, say, Syria, or Ukraine, with boots on the ground and guns blazing. Yet plenty could have been done*, short of “blundering into war,” to prevent or at least moderate the indisputable crumbling of international order and security that has occurred on Obama’s watch. His assertion of undiminished American global puissance was ludicrous empty swagger. The world knows that actions speak louder than words.

Obama also said terrorism is our biggest threat. images-5How foolish. The threats that can really harm America include that mentioned crumbling, of the paradigm that has until lately kept peace among big powers; flagging support for economic openness and trade; rising authoritarianism; climate change; and humanity’s age-old nemeses of disease, ignorance, hunger, and intolerance. Meantime, at home, America’s political paralysis and failure to tackle fiscal imbalances presage economic ruin.

Terrorism? images-4Its main threat is provoking yet more over-reaction, and distracting us from those other far more dangerous challenges.

We rose to the challenge on D-Day. Would we do it again today?

* We still have not answered Ukraine’s plea for military aid to suppress Russian-instigated thuggery; nor fulfilled Obama’s previous promise of aid to Syria’s rebels. His 3/28 speech re-promised it. Three years ago it might actually have made a difference and advanced our interests.

 

 

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4 Responses to “June 6, 1944”

  1. Bumba Says:

    The situation in Syria was a no-win for the U.S. Good thing (wise?)Obama didn’t do anything.

  2. rationaloptimist Says:

    Not so, when it started years ago. It became a no-win due to American inaction.

  3. Pedro Dunn Says:

    Bring back the draft, offer only the most limited exemptions, then let’s consider military interventions. D-Day was not only more doable from a manpower point of view with conscriptiopn, but also more ethical as the nation was involved, and all families took a chance at paying the ultimate price for war. Today, we allow a tiny percent of the nation to make this choice, do a poor job taking care of their needs, and wander about with yellow ribbons (made in China) that proclaim we “support the troops.” A draft also keeps politicians focused on war winning strategies, just ask FDR and Truman, who were very aware of a democracies tolerance level for long wars.

  4. rationaloptimist Says:

    I oppose involuntary servitude.

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