By the Editors
On June 6, 1944, seventy years ago today, allied forces attacked the Germans at Normandy in France in an immense cross-channel invasion. Omaha Beach was an especially nasty kill zone for American troops, as re-created in Steven Spielberg’s film, “Saving Private Ryan.” After that long and deadly first day, an allied beachhead in France was firmly established. Less than one year later, and after much hard fighting, Nazi Germany surrendered.
In World War II, terror came from the German Wehrmacht in the shape of Panzers, Stukas, and fanatical troops inspired by extreme nationalism and virulent racism. It was truly a war of terror; today’s so-called war on terror pales by comparison.
One of us is a World War II veteran; the other, a veteran of more recent vintage. We believe World War II was a necessary war, one that was truly fought to preserve liberty. Troops of all countries paid an enormous price to stop the war machines of fascist Germany and Italy and that of Imperial Japan.
As one of us, an Army Air Corps veteran, read an article on D-Day in The Independent newspaper in Britain, we thought about the ways politicians in the U.S., most of whom have never served in the armed forces, exploit anniversaries like this one to rationalize the perpetual state of war the U.S. finds itself in today. To this World War II veteran, such exploitation constitutes a desecration of the sacrifices we and our allies made on D-Day and the subsequent defeat of the murderous threat posed by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan to the peoples of the world.
On this D-Day anniversary, let us remember the troops who sacrificed in World War II for our liberties. But let us not desecrate their sacrifice by linking it in any way to the misguided wars of choice that America continues to wage today. And let us as well be aware that today’s wars are not advancing democracy overseas, but rather they are degrading its underpinnings here in the United States.