June 07, 2006

The Longest Day


"Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief. It was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead, or on the next. It was the deep knowledge -- and pray God we have not lost it -- that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

We in America have learned bitter lessons from two world wars. It is better to be here ready to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent. But we try always to be prepared for peace, prepared to deter aggression, prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms, and yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation."

Ronald Reagan
June 6, 1984

7 comments:

Kent said...

What is remarkable about D-Day (besides the willingness of brave military men to storm Utah and Omaha beaches) is the creativity and ingenuity applied to the task of inventing specialized boats that allowed our troops to reach the beach with equipment and constructing 'islands' and 'bridges' just off the coast specifically to house more equipment.

Remarkable too is the disinformation/propaganda campaign executed by the American military to confuse the Germans.

The Americans played a recording -- a RECORDING! -- of ship noises offshore to convince the Nazis there was an armada of cruisers and destroyers just a quarter mile away.

They created balloons that could be blown up to look like jeeps and planes, so that German air patrols thought military assets were being placed in certain areas.

The creativity and ingenuity of man can sometimes be awe-inspiring.

Jaz said...

Kent, Thanx for the comment.

The story of D-day is a fascinating account of Allied military tactics and strategy not to mention superhuman bravery. The account by Cornelius Ryan is a must read for all Americans in my view. There was a tremendous campaign of disinformation that was launched which was aided tremendously by the joint American and British efforts to crack the enigma code at Bletchley Park. (Alan Turing anyone?)

I chose to present these passages that Reagan delivered on the 40th anniversary of D-Day because they are poignant yes, but moreover these words are very much relevant to our current struggles.

In a way, it is more conservative to be a fan of isolationism; leaving the various countries to their own devices. However, in this speech, Reagan eloquently highlights the fact that the truly enlightened course of action is to intervene in foreign affairs when necessary.

The Drunken Samurai said...

Ronald Reagan? Congratulations. You eraned yourself a link.

Jaz said...

I'll return the favor.

young_activist said...

Quit trying to compare Iraq and WWII. The only thing that they had in common was body bags and debt.

Jaz said...

Yeah you're right activist, advancing the western values of freedom and democracy have nothing do with any of this.

young_activist said...

If we look at the results of Iraq it becomes quite clear.

First, the President made two promises before we went in we would be treated as liberators, we would find WMD, and we would restore Iraqi infrastructure to higher than prewar levels. He also made two assertions about Iraq, It was harboring terrorists and it had WMD None of those promises came true and none of those accusation turned out to be true either but, the extreme right wing is still following the president blindly on the issue.
Greeted as liberators? Nope, 45% of Iraqis believe it is okay to kill Americans, most Iraqis, including shites, say life was better under Saddam and that they want him back, a majority of Iraqis believe that their nation is fighting a Civil War, and most Iraqis say they would be better off if the U.S puilled out, ironically a majority of Americans think the U.S would be better if they pulled out too. Finding WMD? Even at the time the weapons ionspectors advised the president that there where no WMD, he choose to ignore them and listen to an Iraqi defector who wanted to punish Saddam. Restoring infrastructure? All mesaures are at below prewar levels, elctricity, water, sewage, roads, hospitals, schools, etc.. In the beginning the U.S distributed CASH! to the Iraqi ministries to pay for operations. $8 Billion just disappeared. We are also wasting money giving corportate handouts. Haliburton, who the Vice President used to head, was asked to name their price ofr private, secret, non competitive bidding. NO OTHER CORPORATIONS WHERE ALLOWED TO BID! DO you know how Halibuirton is payed, they are reimbursed for all of their expenses, and then payed a percentage of that figure as teir profit. The more Haliburton spends the more it makes. The company has told its employees in Iraq to not worry about cost because it doesn't matter. In fact, armored vehicles where burnt and replaced, if they ecpierienced a flat tire or minor mechanical problems! I wonder why we didn't have enough armored vehicles.

Harboring terrorists, no, Bush struck out again. Bin Ladn offered to the Saudi royal family to us al-quedia to "fight Saddam Hussein using faith" a the Batth part refused Bin Laden's repeated request for aid. This was easily avaible knowledge before the war which leads me to conclude that either Bush was willfully ignorant in looking for reasons to invade Iraq or that he didn't do as much as a Google search on his claims.