T Nation

If D-Day Happened Today

by William A. Mayer

Tragic French Offensive Stalled on Beaches (Normandy, France - June 6, 1944) - Pandemonium, shock and sheer terror predominate today’s events in Europe.

In an as yet unfolding apparent fiasco, Supreme Allied Commander, Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower’s troops got a rude awakening this morning at Omaha Beach here in Normandy.

Due to insufficient planning and lack of a workable entrance strategy, soldiers of the 1st and 29th Infantry as well as Army Rangers are now bogged down and sustaining heavy casualties inflicted on them by dug-in insurgent positions located 170 feet above them on cliffs overlooking the beaches which now resemble blood soaked killing fields at the time of this mid-morning filing.

Bodies, parts of bodies, and blood are the order of the day here, the screams of the dying and the stillness of the dead mingle in testament to this terrible event.

Morale can only be described as extremely poor–in some companies all the officers have been either killed or incapacitated, leaving only poorly trained privates to fend for themselves.

Things appear to be going so poorly that Lt. General Omar Bradley has been rumored to be considering breaking off the attack entirely. As we go to press embattled U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s
spokesman has not made himself available for comment at all, fueling fires that something has gone disastrously awry.

The government at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is in a distinct lock-down mode and the Vice President’s location is presently and officially undisclosed.

Whether the second in command should have gone into hiding during such a crisis will have to be answered at some future time, but many agree it does not send a good signal.

Miles behind the beaches and adding to the chaos, U.S. Naval gunships have inflicted many friendly fire casualties, as huge high explosive projectiles rain death and destruction on unsuspecting Allied positions.
The lack of training of Naval gunners has been called into question numerous times before and today’s demonstration seems to underlie those concerns.

At Utah Beach the situation is also grim, elements of the 82nd and 101st Airborne seemed to be in disarray as they missed their primary drop zones behind the area believed to comprise the militant’s front lines. Errant paratroopers have been hung up in trees, breaking arms and legs, rendering themselves easy targets for those defending this territory.

On the beach front itself the landing area was missed, catapulting U.S. forces nearly 2,000 yards South of the intended coordinates, thus placing them that much farther away from the German insurgents and unable to direct covering fire or materially add to the operation.

Casualties at day’s end are nothing short of horrific; at least 8,000 and possibly as many as 9,000 were wounded in the haphazardly coordinated attack, which seems to have no unifying purpose or intent. Of this number at least 3,000 have been estimated as having been killed, making June 6th by far, the worst single day of the war which has dragged on now–with no exit strategy in sight–as the American economy still struggles to recover from Herbert Hoover’s depression and its 25% unemployment.

Military spending has skyrocketed the national debt into uncharted regions, lending another cause for concern. When and if the current hostilities finally end it may take generations for the huge debt to be repaid.

On the planning end of things, experts wonder privately if enough troops were committed to the initial offensive and whether at least another 100,000 troops should have been added to the force structure before such an audacious undertaking. Communication problems also have made their presence felt making that an area for further investigation by the appropriate governmental committees.

On the home front, questions and concern have been voiced. A telephone poll has shown dwindling support for the wheel-chair bound Commander In Chief, which might indicate a further erosion of support for his now three year-old global war.

Of course, the President’s precarious health has always been a question. He has just recently recovered from pneumonia and speculation persists whether or not he has sufficient stamina to properly sustain the war effort. This remains a topic of furious discussion among those questioning his competency.

Today’s costly and chaotic landing compounds the President’s already large credibility problem.

More darkly, this phase of the war, commencing less than six months before the next general election, gives some the impression that Roosevelt may be using this offensive simply as a means to secure re-election in the fall.

Underlining the less than effective Allied attack, German casualties–most of them innocent and hapless conscripts–seem not to be as severe as would be imagined. A German minister who requested anonymity stated categorically that “the aggressors were being driven back into the sea amidst heavy casualties, the German people seek no wider war.”

“The news couldn’t be better,” Adolph Hitler said when he was first informed of the D-Day assault earlier this afternoon.

“As long as they were in Britain we couldn’t get at them. Now we have them where we can destroy them.”

German minister Goebbels had been told of the Allied airborne landings at 0400 hours.

“Thank God, at last,” he said. “This is the final round.”

This is an incredible article and I heard about it on a talk radio program. The liberals and doomsayers were at it back then also!..and WE PERSERVERED AND THE WORLD IS BETTER FOR IT! small minded…negative people are saying the same things today…Lympy…Elk…lucid…YOU ARE NOTHING NEW!!! We’ve seen your ilk before…AND gone on to do greater things!..so keep up your wimpy…raisin sack positions! Us military types will do the job no matter! and farsighted good people with clanging balls of steel will support us!

I cannot help believing that we are disturbed by editorials and reacting to “public opinion” rather than to military logic.-Dwight D. Eisenhower

“There is a cowardly imbecile at the head of the government . . . Disgust with our government is universal”

Another popular review of Bush?

No, Civil War-era newspapers on Abraham Lincoln!

Thanks Scott and Goldberg for shedding some historical light on these anti-Bush chumps of today…

I’m sure Dwight D. if alive today would be thrilled with the current administration’s handling of Iraq… intelligence gathering, planning, execution, et al.

Don’t insult Dwight D.'s legacy by comparing him to the current regime. Bush and Co. have screwed up big time… this there can be very little debate on. This is not WWII, despite remonstrations to the contrary.

eeewwwww kenmen! Your soooo smart…thanks for pointing out that this it NOT WW2!

Kenmen,

-Violent autocratic regime toppled in 3 days.
-Arab state currently has legitimate opportunity at forming liberal democracy.
-25 million people liberated from a genocidal tyrant with around 140,000 troops and a total casualty rate of about 800
-No material damage to oil fields
-No mass refugee crisis
-Elections scheduled as soon as 2005

There are problems to be sure, but if you think there’s ‘no debate about that’ - think again.

Moreover, review post-war headlines in American papers discussing the issues of occupation in Germany and Japan. Eisenhower, more specifically Truman, faced similar challenges in the rebuilding of those autocratic nations.

There are great many lessons to be learned from the War in Iraq, but I think the number one thing is that people don’t read their history.

PtrDR:

Ya… tell that to Bush

Goldberg,

Great Post! (hey you are having a good day man)

kenmen,

If you think that every detail regarding any war can be planned to the point where there are never any surprises…you are not thinking clearly!

I want all of you anti-Bush spewing liberals to think of just one thing: Since 9-11 there has not been one single terrorist attack on our shores! Do all of you “haters” think that this is an accident?

President Bush brought the war to them,and the battlefield is Iraq. No it’s not pretty, but it is a whole lot better than seeing buildings blowing up with civilians in them!

That is a great article Goldberg!

ZEB:

I think you’re making some analogies or “connections” there between Iraq and Al-Queda that have yet to be substantiated.

Thunderbolt… You made many good points there and I am FOR the toppling of Saddam Hussein. I supported and still support going into Iraq. However, I believe the effort was poorly conceived and planned by non-military planners (Rumi & Co.). True military planners never would have gone about this the way Rumi insisted on. In that way, parallels exist with Vietnam… with the politicians calling the shots militarily. Although I voted for Bush four years ago, I think his leadership is severely suspect and that we can and should do better as a nation.

Every situation and time in history is unique although parallels to other times exist. Some Bush supporters believe and of course Bush extolls that the current effort in Iraq was required for this country’s very survival… ala this country’s Civil War or our fight against evil during WWII. However, this has not been shown to be true by anyone’s measure. We were duped. Intelligence information endorsed by our CIA has been PROVEN incorrect.

Bush supporters: Like him while you can… come this November he will be gone.

Kenmen posts

Every situation and time in history is unique although parallels to other times exist. Some Bush supporters believe and of course Bush extolls that the current effort in Iraq was required for this country’s very survival… ala this country’s Civil War or our fight against evil during WWII. However, this has not been shown to be true by anyone’s measure. We were duped. Intelligence information endorsed by our CIA has been PROVEN incorrect.

What a breath of fresh air to hear someone who voted for Bush say this! It is a resounding affirmation that there is hope afterall!

PtrDr
How come you with your big clanging balls of steel are not over in Iraq? Are does our military think you are better used as a hot air propaganda puppet on the internet?

‘We were duped. Intelligence information endorsed by our CIA has been PROVEN incorrect.’

This is pure nonsense. Intelligence is always imperfect. Duped by whom? Bush? Bill Clinton, who believed the same? Jacques Chirac, who stated he believed Saddam still had weapons? The UN, which in Resolution 1441 actually stated that Saddam still posed a threat to international security because it had not complied with disarmament?

Intelligence being wrong (and this in tenuous, unless you consider a gallon of sarin to be nothing special) is not the same as being dishonest and duping a nation. Congress, the same Congress that authorized Bush to use force in Iraq, had the same information and came to the same conclusions.

As for postwar planning, it has been full of mistakes, but it had largely been a measured success.

The current generation seems to think a utopia shold have sprouted out of the ground as soon as Saddam was removed, and if it didn’t, the whole exercise was wasted. Rebuilding Iraq - and dealing with the fever swamp of millenia old tribal rivalries as well as a people who don’t know how to govern themselves - is not an exercise in instant gratification. It takes discipline, patience, perseverance, and effort - something in short supply these days.

And don’t forget, WWII could have been prevented if Britain and France had enforced the Versailles Treaty that Hitler defied with his various invasions. Hitler continued to flout the international agreement, and Britain and France, though obligated to enforce the treaty, continued to keep giving Hitler a pass, despite Churchill railing from the backbenches of Parliament that Hitler should be confronted.

What developed was the great war against evil you suggest. I agree, and we should learn from this historic event not to appease dictators when they don’t live up their international commitments, lest we have another such great war against evil.

The whole point if the War in Iraq is to prevent another D-Day from having to occur to save Western civlization. Surely we can learn from our fallen brethren at Normandy the costs of indecision and appeasement.

kenmen,

I never once made any “connections” between Iraq and Al-Queda! Nor do I care if there were any connections. My point is that the venue has been moved from our country to Iraq. And that is a good thing!

I do know that terrorists are flowing into Iraq in an attempt to disrupt the potential for peace. I also know that these same terrorists have a great hatered for President Bush (sort of like Lumpy, Roy Batty and some others).

It is not to much of a stretch to think that if it were not for Iraq these same terrorists would be attempting to cause viloence in our country. Hence, the war has been kept off of our shores because of President Bush!

Elk…because I am a medical officer and because the Air Force only needs x number of medics there right now…el dorko…thats why. Any military person or former military person should know this. Get a clue…

The military recommended that we go into Iraq with much greater troop strength. Generals who made these suggestions were humiliated by Rumsfeld and asked to step down.

The military also made elaborate plans for the post-invasion period in Iraq, which the suit-and-tie civilians in the Pentagon (Rumsfeld and his bunch) deliberately decided to ignore.

This is because going into Iraq with huge numbers would not go over as well with the public. In order to keep the war from becoming immediately unpopular, Rumsfeld decided to do it “on the cheap”.

I don’t know why you guys who mare pro-war think the military should have their expertise ignored, to suit the public relations needs of civilians in the government.

Lumpy,

You clearly have never been in the military. It is just one part of the bureaucracy that makes up the U.S. government. It is always fighting for a bigger budget, just like every other piece of the bureaucracy. No multi-starred general is going to say, “You know what, I really don’t need this many people to get the job done. I could knock it out with half the budget.” There has to be someone to look at the big picture. That is what Rumi and co. did. They said, “We think you can do this with 140,000 troops. You don’t really need 1,000,000.” They were right. The job was done. We’ve only lost 800 troops. Excellent work.

thunder… The Versaille Treaty CAUSED WWII… the treaty was a pathetic joke that guaranteed Germany’s ruin and created an environment ripe for a megalomaniac like Adolph Hitler to gain power… Hence, post-WWII we helped Germany rebuild and get back on its feet.

doogie… the job is done in Iraq? Not likely.

There are people here for whom the ends justify the means. They don’t care whether or not an attack was justified by any reasonable criteria. They are happy with the results and would gleefully invade any country in the desire to spread democracy and keep terrorists busy off of their own shores.

Their mistake is thinking that other’s, who would choose different paths, are weak or pacifistic. This is silly and misguided thinking. Lacking the ability to understand that more than one viewpoint can be correct simultaneously they lash out with childish attacks and fight viciously to belittle those that think differently.

Kinda sounds like grade school doesn’t it?