Sunday was the 66th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944. It went by mostly ignored by all of us, no flags, and no mention, even from the pulpits.
Also, on Sunday, I finished Richard Maybury's book, "World War II, the Rest of the Story," which I heartily recommend everyone, from 14 to 100, procure and read carefully.
No offense to the "Greatest Generation," but Maybury maintains that Normandy was unnecessary: Nazi Germany's goose was cooked on Sept. 11, 1941, long before Pearl Harbor, when the first snow fell in Russia and the German army had yet to reach Moscow. Winter has always been Russia's secret ally. (Funny how that date keeps popping up in history.)
Maybury raises the question as to why America should have intervened on behalf of either of the two worst gangster governments in world history. Most of us had relatives who fought and/or died in WWII.Virtually all of us alive today have been raised on the myth that Germany, unless defeated by us, would have conquered the world. But the facts, especially the economic ones, set out in detail by Maybury, indicate otherwise.
Germany simply did not have the natural resources or the industrial capacity to seriously endanger England with invasion, much less North America. Its navy was primarily limited to submarines, and they did not have the Higgins boat, which we used so extensively in the Normandy landings and in the South Pacific. Even its military transport was primarily by horse.
Maybury argues FDR deliberately encouraged Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, saw to it that Pearl was virtually defenseless, and left Kimmel and Short holding the bag, in order to get us into the war.
The factual information with which Maybury supports his contention are virtually indisputable, and, to say the least, most disturbing. What, pray tell, was Roosevelt's motivation? Power? Hated of America and her values, combined with an unbridled enthusiasm for "Uncle Joe's" brand of socialism, to whom he unconditionally surrendered Eastern Europe? Who knows?
Maybury also has less than kind words for FDR's successor, Harry Truman, who probably unnecessarily dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to "scare" the Russians, and as a consequence got us into a Cold War for the next four-plus decades, with plenty of "hot spots" in between.
Thus we fought in Korea (we're still there), Vietnam, Iraq (twice), and Afghanistan, to name a few, and have supported any tin horn dictator who claimed to be "pro-American." We are the Global Cop, with troops in at least 100 countries. In the process the "military-industrial (and paid off politicians?) complex," eagerly supported by both parties, has become embedded in American culture and economic life.
It would seem to this old codger that at some point we need to adopt, by Constitutional amendment if necessary, a national policy of fiercely armed neutrality, as George Washington enunciated in his farewell address. Say something like the Swiss had for several centuries up until 2002 or so: Friendship toward all, but alliances with none.
As some of you know, there was a time when I was a "hawk," even supporting the Vietnam insanity and the "domino theory." But clearly I was wrong. Then I began to think that although we pulled Europe's, and the rest of the world's, "chestnuts out of the fire" at least twice during the 20th century, maybe the next time Europe, Asia and the rest of the world needed to be told to solve their own problems.
I still tend to think that way, but I am coming to recognize that for the most part our interventions to save the world just made things worse. By the way, I am anything but a "pacifist."
I do not impugn the sacrifices of our fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines, or those of our military forces who were fortunate enough to come home, unscathed or even lame. We tend to do what government tells us to do, or go to jail. Nor do I wish to denigrate the accomplishments of the "Greatest Generation."
But Maybury's book will leave you in the uncomfortable position of not trusting any president, to say nothing of other national political leaders, ever again.
Basically I suspect that we the people have been conned for at least seven decades.
Mario de Solenni is a Crescent City attorney.