Friday, June 6, 2014
On D-Day: Finding Ways To Avoid These Conflicts
D-Day was one of several important junctures that Adolph Hitler was personally responsible for losing by tossing out his significant advantages. He prefered the advice of his astrologer to that of his competent generals, not all of whom were Nazis, and some of whom actually opposed him (they tried to kill him a couple of months after D-Day).
There was, of course, heroism and sacrifice at Normandy and up and down the coast of France, where British units also fought bravely and the French Resistence was elementary in planning the invasion. It was a team effort to fight off a despot.
That said, war rarely results in victory for anybody. It is a loss when we pick up guns. There is devastation, ruined economies and death when the guns go back into storage--however temporarily. The sad truth is that the United States had 20 years in its history when it was not involved in a war of some kind. Many--most--of those wars were optional, not the result of a direct threat to our security, as World War II was. Many conflicts--large and small--were encouraged by war profiteers, whose personal greed resulted in many thousands of dead American young people. Our own national preoccupation with military adventure leads us easily into conflict when simple negotiation and understanding of the issues could help avoid violence.
Celebrations of war through medals, monuments, songs and concerts, absurdly unrealistic/bloodless John Wayne movies, and national days of remembrance, I think, encourage future wars. It would be to our advantage to spend as much time, effort and money learning how to be the best world citizens we can be, how to negotiate with potential enemies, how to respect the cultures of the world, and learning to understand the world's problems than putting all that energy into developing war machines.
So, to the veterans: I'm sorry you guys had to fight and I respect your courage and commitment. I hope we can avoid that sacrifice for coming generations.