Thoughts for and about D-Day

Our Saturday column, -posted a bit early- this week, will attempt to commemorate D-Day, which reminds us of the time, back in 1962, when the movie “The Longest Day” was released and one of our coworkers (at Rodgers Motor Lines) was very enthusiastic about the movie on the second day of its run because she had seen it on its very first day of its run at the Comerford Theater in Scranton.  She told lus how good the actors’ performances were, but, she solemnly intoned:  “I’m not going to tell you how it ends.”

That, in turn, reminds us of the fact that since we have just started reading Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison’s fifteen volume “United States Navel Operations in World War II,” and we hope that no one uses the comments section below to post a spoiler and tell us how things turned out because this is going to take us a considerable amount of reading time and we don’t want anyone ruining a surprise ending, if there is going to be one.

Than, in turn, reminds us that on page 10 of Volume 1, Admiral Morrison reports:  “At the Nuremberg trials it was brought out that (commander of the submarines Commodore Karl) Doenitz had even issued orders to his U-boats to machine-gun survivors of torpedoed vessels, so that they could not ship over again.  It is to the credit of his officers that many of them could not stomach a practice so contrary to humanity and the ancient customs of the sea, and disregarded Doenitz’s barbarous command more often than not.”

It’s a good thing those rebellious German sailors weren’t in Bush military because those disobedient rebels, for their insolence and recalcitrance, could have been threaten, with a transfer to a very unpalatable assignment.  In their case a worse assignment could have been fighting at Stalingrad.  A lot of the good Germans were sent to that Russian city to fight there, but you get the point.

The fact that folks tend to assume that German officers and enlisted men could picked and choosen the orders they deemed acceptable, reminds us of some recent testimony before Congress which indicates to us that Bush may be in the process of learning:  “Paybacks are Hell.”

Before Generalisimo Bush ordered the (Smart) Bombing of Baghdad and the Invasion to take a look around Iraq for any loose WMD’s, the Commander-in-chief (apparently) used some heavy-handed selling techniques to convince the most skeptical of his subordinates that they’d best remember the old military adage:  “When I say jump; you jump and ask ‘How high?’ on the way up, do you read me, soldier?”

Well, time has passed (and a few dozen Iraqi civilians may have very inadvertently been accidentally blown to smithereens – at least they aren’t using napalm) and things have changed.  Bush 43 is no longer the man in charge and the one or two military men that he may have pissed-off with his badgering and bullying are still fighting that same ole war. 

Here’s where it gets hairy for the deposed dictator (scratch that term and insert the words “former President”) because now when those fellows are asked to testify before congress’ Truth in War Crimes Trials investigating committee, they are free to “tell it like it is” and not have to fear any reprisals from the Bush family (well at least not until Jeb gets elected.)

The Republicans seem to take a high school sophomore’s delight in trying to get Americans to subconsciously associate their name calling of President Obama as both a Democrat and Socialist with the fact that Hitler’s party was the National Socialist Democratic party. 

What the Republican’s don’t seem to realize is that if they continue fighting the efforts to punish George W. Bush for his war crimes, what they will get is four years of resentful members of the military releasing a constant stream (like the Chinese water torture – not to be confused with waterboarding?) of tiny, incriminating, details about the run-up to the invasion of Iraq and that continuing series of tantalizing tidbits of information will do more harm to the Republicans than any school boy level of name calling.  The slow release of descriptions of Bush’s performance can not help but be compared to that of the defendants at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials because the parallels are many and obvious to all but the most Banzai samurai fanatical Republicans in El Rushbo’s audience.

Which brings us back to World War II and the question:  Did Poppy Bush commit an offense that required a courts-martial trial when he bailed out of his plane and left the ballturret gunner to die when the plane crash landed at sea?

What is your security clearance level?  Are you authorized to read about the WWII reenactment that will be held in association with the <a href =http://www.secretcityfestival.com/>Secret City Festival</a>?

That of course, brings us back to the basic World War II question:  Did Roosevelt know that the Japanese were going to bomb Pearl Harbor? 

To find the answer to that we’d have to get a look at the Queen Mary’s log book.  Is a ship’s log a public document?  If, as rumor has it, the Queen Mary was in Pearl Harbor on Saturday December 6, 1941, and if, as it has been alleged, it sailed out of Pearl Harbor on the night of Saturday, December 6, 1941, then it would seem to be enough circumstantial evidence to indicate to a reasonable man (and perhaps also a skeptical columnist) that somebody knew that the feathers were about to hit the fan.

Columnist?  If anyone asks:  “Are you now, or have you ever been a member of a group that has attended a Columnists’ Party?,” we would, if testifying under oath, have to admit that we are in the process of learning the particulars about attending the <a href = http://www.columnists.com/>Columnist’s Convention</a> which will be held in Ventura (Didn’t the Grateful Dead play a fee concert in Ventura every year?) from 25 to 28 later this month.

Recently we have been availing ourselves of the opportunity to browse through some magazines published in the 1938 to 1943 time frame (as part of some fact finding regarding reincarnation, perhaps?).  Over and above the idea that if anyone was alive back then, buying a 1940 Ford DeLuxe coupe would have been such a coup (like that play on words?), we see that a constant stream of pin-up photos such as those that accompanied the article, titled “Fair Girlie,” pages 50 – 55, in the July 29, 1940 issue, about Betty Kuzmeek (it seemed to be spelled that way in the article but in the photo captions, it was spelled Kuzmeck) who was a star attraction at the World Fair exhibition called “20,000 Legs Under the Sea.” 

The July 29, 1940 issue of LIFE magazine also included a survey in an article called “A Picture of the U. S. mind summer of 1949, on page 20.  The Roper firm had asked people “If Germany and Italy should win the war, which of these two things come closer to what you think the U. S. should do?”  An astonishing 88% answered:  “Arm to the teeth at any expense to be prepared for trouble.” 

A while back, we wrote a column headlined “Life without LIFE” and suggested that they start posting the best pictures of the day on their magazine’s website.  We’ve noticed that now they are doing that.  Great job, guys!  Don’t stop there.  LIFE always attracted some astonishing photos from their readers.  They ran them in the letters department, the “Speaking of Pictures” weekly feature, and the Parting Shot.  Come on, LIFE, you’re only halfway there.  Can’t Nikon or Kodak or somebody like that help underwrite the cost of assigning one or two compute literate-photo savvy people to take this project all the way?  Solicit and post readers’ photos, damn it! ! !  You want to build the traffic going to your site?  What photographer wouldn’t want to have one of the pictures he (or she) took associated with the LIFE brand name?  I’ll bet readers’ photos will double your number of daily hits. 

On D-Day for 2009. it might be cynical to ask if George W. Bush sent troops into Iraq for the same lofty goals and ideals that were held by the troops who landed on Normandy beach.  Now, we  will direct folks’ attention to page 15 of the Pocket Star Books paperback edition of Stephen Hunter’s “The 47th Samurai,” where they will find this passage asking about the death of Japanese troops on Iwo Jima:  “These fine men, they contribute so much, they die on a crest of black sand on an island of sulfur that held no meaning at all that could be divined.  For the emperor?  How many of his men knew that the godlike, all-knowing, all-demanding, emperor was a recent invention and that for three hundred years had been the puppet-joke of Edo, while in Kyoto stronger subtler men ruled and only tolerated an emperor as a useful fiction, a figure around which to build distracting (and therefore helpful) ceremonies?”  Does that sound like a possible description of Georg W. Bush?

The disk jockey seems overwhelmed by this column so he has selected more than one song to play us out this week.  He will be spinning these platters:

The <a href = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cavmIu5Auk>Association’s Cherish</a>
Della Reese’s “<a href = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdbepiZDvX8>And that reminds me</a> . . .”
Frank Sinatra’s song “<a href = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIiUqfxFttM>That’s LIFE</a>”
Marlene Deitrich’s “<a href = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO0lUXnAs-U>Lili Marlene</a>”

The number one Pop song in Great Britain, on  D-Day, 1944,  was “Berlin Or Bust —  by Sam Browne and the Six Swingers.”  Then let’s all have a minute of silent tribute to those who died on the beaches of Normandy 65 years ago.

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