Ancient History and Cold War Thinking

If you read these sorts of blogs you are aware that Ukraine is having some civil instability at the moment.  Russia has put troops into the Crimea – an Ukraine province that is heavily ethnic Russian.  The rationale that the Russians have used to justify this are a 1994 agreement that allows the government to request Russian intervention for civil disturbances such as a coup d’etat, and the need to protect the large population of ethnic Russians in Crimea.

Back in 2008, Sarah Palin pondered aloud that then-Senator Obama would have no idea how to handle a Russian invasion of the Ukraine.  In 2012, Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney argued that Russia was still our largest geopolitical foe and would remain so for the foreseeable future for which he was ridiculed as being stuck in Cold War thinking.  Funny, yes?

What’s not funny is that Russian troops now have full control of the Crimea and have set a deadline of tonight for the Ukraine forces surrounded on the Ukrainian military bases in the Crimea to withdraw or surrender.

We have a Secretary of State that thinks this is 19th century military strategy, a President that hesitated when that 3AM phone call came (AGAIN mind you… Remember Benghazi), and a citizenry that has not looked Russian aggression in the eye since 1989 when the Berlin Wall was toppled.

How the hell is this different from the Sudetenland again?

And they want to draw down the military to the smallest size since the end of World War 2… the war that came soon after Adolf Hitler and the German War Machine occupied the Sudetenland of Czechslovakia in order to protect ethnic Germans.

History folks… it is repeating.

This must be stopped now.  NATO needs to grow some balls or we will be facing a revitalized Red Bear or worse.

I have no confidence that President Obama will have the mental or character fortitude to stare down Vladimir Putin and end this aggression here and now.  Angela Merkel, Steven Harper, and David Cameron will need to take the lead… because after all, this is an European issue…. not a global one…. at least, not yet.

 

 

 

 

Jackboots on the Clifftops

69 years ago today, two million Americans, British, free French, and Canadian men stormed the beaches of occupied France in a rural province called Normandy.  The German war machine stood poised ready to throw the invasion force back into the sea and to defend fortress Europe from the Allied forces.normandy1

Today, that same jackboot of tyranny has found a willing caretaker in the alphabet agencies of the United States government.

EPA

IRS

NSA

DHS

FBI

That same jackboot of tyranny has usurped the freedoms and liberties that those free men bled and died for on the sandy beaches of western France.

Media members being wiretapped.

Religion under assault within the US military.

Content of prayers being demanded by the IRS.

The federal government smuggling guns across a foreign border to create the narrative that American gun owners and gun stores are to blame for another country’s violence.

Every phone call, email, text message, instant message, tweet, or other form of electronic communication or internet posting by every American citizen is scoured and stored by the federal government without warrant or cause.

We have been taught and indoctrinated from a young age, and even moreso our children now, that the government is just looking out for you and wants the best for you.

That is the great lie.  What is best for you in their eyes is to shut up, get in line, and live your life in the prison that our society and country will become if these usurpations and abuses are tolerated or forgiven.

Unfortunately you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all of our problems. Some of these same voices do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.

President Barack Obama

Whether involved or just a hapless stooge, I don’t know, and it ultimately does not matter as the machine of tyranny – the approaching jackboot of slavery will advance with or without him unless we, the People, in concert and backed by the righteous hand of God – the Creator and source of our very life, liberty, and only true source of happiness – stand up and say no, that is enough.  The dangerous fire of government that our first President warned about has come to the doorstep like a raging wildfire.  It is powerful.  It is fearsome.  It will consume and destroy everything it wishes until it is cut off from fuel and air.

We have permitted ever more intrusions into a daily lives in the forms of extralegal bureaucratic rules, guidelines, and dictats that carry the force of law because the bureaucracy says they do.

We have permitted ever more chains of tyranny on our backs.

  • The right of free speech is threatened
  • The right of free expression of religion has all but been removed except when practiced in sanctioned “worship” houses
  • The right to keep and bear arms is under constant assault by politicians wishing to secure their power.
  • Our right to privacy is no more in light of extrajudicial wiretaps, data mining, unmanned drone aircraft, warrantless searches and seizures for the cause of public safety, and the seizure of genetic material (blood) of a person arrested but not yet even charged with a crime.
  • We watched as the citizens of one of the most well-known and largest cities in the country stood by helpless as a state of martial law was put in place “for their protection” and the concept of shelter-in-place began to be used all over the country for ridiculous reasons rather than for the serious threats that such a concept was ever conceived.

There are just a few examples of the chains being laid upon us.

At what point will the American people say ENOUGH!!!!??? Is there no spirit of defiance and ruggedness that beats within the hearts of the people today?  Have we been so inculcated and changed deep down that we no longer have the mettle of those men on those landing craft 69 years ago today?  Are we no longer ready and willing to charge through the surf, up the beach and past the waiting defenses into the very heart of the enemy of humanity, of liberty, of freedom?

Are we able to admit that we are not alive today to enjoy our freedoms and liberties, but to protect and preserve them for our children, our grandchildren, and the generations yet to come?

I am.  Whether you come with me or not is up to you, but like on that day nearly seven decades ago, we are at the waterline and the mortars and machine guns are zeroing in on us and you can’t stay here.  What’ll it be soldier?  Press forward or retreat into the sea?

normandy2

 

 

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

We’re here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For 4 long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history. dday3

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machineguns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After 2 days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.dday8

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.dday1

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your “lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.”

I think I know what you may be thinking right now — thinking “we were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day.” Well, everyone was. Do you remember the story of Bill Millin of the 51st Highlanders? Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a bridge, waiting desperately for help. Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming. Well, they weren’t. They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements and ignoring the smack of the bullets into the ground around him.

Lord Lovat was with him — Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when he got to the bridge, “Sorry I’m a few minutes late,” as if he’d been delayed by a traffic jam, when in truth he’d just come from the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men had just taken.

There was the impossible valor of the Poles who threw themselves between the enemy and the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold, and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who had already seen the horrors of war on this coast. They knew what awaited them there, but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.dday4

All of these men were part of a rollcall of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore: the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Poland’s 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England’s armored divisions, the forces of Free France, the Coast Guard’s “Matchbox Fleet” and you, the American Rangers.

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.dday5

The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They fought — or felt in their hearts, though they couldn’t know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

Something else helped the men of D-day: their rockhard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we’re about to do. Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”

These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.

When the war was over, there were lives to be rebuilt and governments to be returned to the people. There were nations to be reborn. Above all, there was a new peace to be assured. These were huge and daunting tasks. But the Allies summoned strength from the faith, belief, loyalty, and love of those who fell here. They rebuilt a new Europe together.

There was first a great reconciliation among those who had been enemies, all of whom had suffered so greatly. The United States did its part, creating the Marshall plan to help rebuild our allies and our former enemies. The Marshall plan led to the Atlantic alliance — a great alliance that serves to this day as our shield for freedom, for prosperity, and for peace.dday6

In spite of our great efforts and successes, not all that followed the end of the war was happy or planned. Some liberated countries were lost. The great sadness of this loss echoes down to our own time in the streets of Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin. Soviet troops that came to the center of this continent did not leave when peace came. They’re still there, uninvited, unwanted, unyielding, almost 40 years after the war. Because of this, allied forces still stand on this continent. Today, as 40 years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose — to protect and defend democracy. The only territories we hold are memorials like this one and graveyards where our heroes rest.

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. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more than a reconciliation with the Soviet Union, so, together, we can lessen the risks of war, now and forever.

It’s fitting to remember here the great losses also suffered by the Russian people during World War II: 20 million perished, a terrible price that testifies to all the world the necessity of ending war. I tell you from my heart that we in the United States do not want war. We want to wipe from the face of the Earth the terrible weapons that man now has in his hands. And I tell you, we are ready to seize that beachhead. We look for some sign from the Soviet Union that they are willing to move forward, that they share our desire and love for peace, and that they will give up the ways of conquest. There must be a changing there that will allow us to turn our hope into action.dday6

We will pray forever that some day that changing will come. But for now, particularly today, it is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it.

We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We’re bound by reality. The strength of America’s allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe’s democracies. We were with you then; we are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”

Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value [valor], and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

Thank you very much, and God bless you all.

President Ronald Reagan – June 6, 1984

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