Friday, June 6, 2014

The fog of war rolls in

Day of days at Omaha Beach
As the case of Bowe Bergdahl gets kicked around like a political soccer ball in a country that doesn't particularly care for soccer, one thing needs to be remembered.

This is what war wreaks.

If you don't want deserters, don't have war. If you don't want prisoners of war, don't fight a war.

If you don't want prisoner exchanges, don't take prisoners.

On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, we should take a moment to remember the horror as well as the glory of World War II.

If we don't, we do a disservice to those who fought that day.

An estimated 20,000 French civilians died during the Normandy invasion, mainly due to Allied bombing. That's what total war does. Of course, that was drop in the bucket compared to the 45 million civilians who were killed throughout the world during the war, which is three times the number of combat deaths.

In World War II, there were an estimated 50,000 Americans of the "greatest generation" who deserted in Europe alone. Clearly, one who has never faced combat should never judge those who have.

Here's a list of massacres carried out during the war.

But, these are just numbers. They don't convey the personal horrors that soldiers and civilians witnessed.

Take a trip to a concentration camp next time you go to Europe.

Stories that disturb me include the American soldier who mistakenly shot at French citizens waving at the American liberators in one small French town. He killed a mother holding the hand of her young daughter in the doorway of their home. This soldier's wife said he never got over it. How could he.

In that vein, it's encouraging to note that the fear of killing rather than being killed accounted for much of the combat stress experienced by the American G.I. during World War II

In Normandy today, President Obama commemorated the fallen. The usual commenters on Fox News and Wall Street Journal websites slammed him for everything from Benghazi to Bergdahl.

Well, for all the Obama haters out there, check out this story from The Daily Beast about what the D-Day veteran said to President Obama.

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