We awoke at 2 a.m. on June 7, 1944, the day after D-Day. After a hearty breakfast at our base in Britain, we secured our equipment and walked a mile to our British Horsa gliders. The first glider, towed by a cargo plane, took off at 4:35 a.m. for Normandy, a little over two hours away. It was still dark.Henry Chu at The Los Angeles Times brings us more accounts:
The gliders, which carried up to 25 men, were a critical part of the invasion: Silent and fast, they were used to insert advance troops behind enemy lines. Hundreds of them flew into France during those first few days.
I remember looking out the canopy and seeing the moon break through the clouds. I was sitting next to the pilot, and I could see thousands of invasion ships in the English Channel.
"All those lads going up the beaches — I'll never forget the courage of those lads," Marshall said. "There was a hell of a lot of heroism that will never be known. Every beachhead gave their all.More on this and the day's other top stories below the fold.
"I wouldn't have missed it," he said. "To go through that experience and to come through the other side, it's a thing that you can look back on and think, 'I've come through it all.'"
From The Boston Herald:
Americans had to cooperate with allies — and each other. Only a threat of resignation by the supreme commander, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, forced the American and British bomber commands to attack transportation targets to hinder German reinforcement when the invasion should roll ashore. On a stormy June 5 it took a next-day forecast of acceptable weather, a forecast the Germans lacked data to make, for the invasion fleet to sail.The Hartford Courant:
Courage, skill, sacrifice, resolution, cooperation and audacity are always in short supply. Their sources are obscure. But this is clear: Wherever and whenever found, they must be nourished.
On June 6, Sgt. Smith's company of Rangers landed at Omaha Beach, where he survived the barrage of artillery and machine-gun fire from enemy troops on the bluffs above. He managed to climb to the top of the cliffs and began to attack a German strong point, but was felled by machine gun fire.The Cleveland Plain Dealer:
A simple white cross — one among many — marks the grave of Staff Sgt. Frederick D. Smith in Normandy.
His story, too, is but one among many. And at its heart, that is what D-Day was all about: individual acts of fearlessness and valor that, together, were a key to ending World War II in Europe.
Unlike during World War II, when America was largely protected by two vast oceans, war planning these days has to focus on long-range attack vulnerabilities, including from nuclear weapons, terrorism and cyberwarfare means.Switching topics, The New York Times editorial board pens a blistering critique of those who are attacking the strategy of bringing an American prisoner of war home:
But the Marines, currently lobbying for a next-generation amphibious combat vehicle, can point to current events, such as China's claims to disputed islands and other parts of the South China and East China seas, as underscoring the need for the United States to retain the capability of putting fighting forces ashore as effectively and speedily as possible.
Yet D-Day's legacy is not in vehicles but in bravery, determination, daring and leadership on the part of Eisenhower and Britain's Winston Churchill and the many American, British, Canadian, French, Australian and other allied troops who fought and died that day. Without them, the war would have been prolonged, and Anne Frank would not have had that moment of hope and courage recorded in her diary on June 6, 1944.
Four months ago, Senator John McCain said he would support the exchange of five hard-core Taliban leaders for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. “I would support,” he told CNN. “Obviously I’d have to know the details, but I would support ways of bringing him home and if exchange was one of them I think that would be something I think we should seriously consider.”Eugene Robinson provides his take:
But the instant the Obama administration actually made that trade, Mr. McCain, as he has so often in the past, switched positions for maximum political advantage. “I would not have made this deal,” he said a few days ago. Suddenly the prisoner exchange is “troubling” and “poses a great threat” to service members. Hearings must be held, he said, and sharp questions asked.
This hypocrisy now pervades the Republican Party and the conservative movement, and has even infected several fearful Democrats. When they could use Sergeant Bergdahl’s captivity as a cudgel against the administration, they eagerly did so, loudly and in great numbers. And the moment they could use his release to make President Obama look weak on terrorism or simply incompetent, they reversed direction without a moment’s hesitation to jump aboard the new bandwagon.
The high-volume “debate” about Bergdahl’s homecoming sounds like the raving heard around the water coolers of Crazytown. Here, in descending order of importance, are the issues the Bergdahl affair presents — and a rational way to think about them. [...] 1. “We leave no soldier behind on the battlefield.” This is the commitment we make to the men and women who serve in the U.S. armed forces. The promise was made to Bergdahl, and the nation was honor-bound to respect it.David Brooks:
of course, President Obama had to take all measures necessary to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Of course, he had to do all he could do to not forsake an American citizen.On the topic of climate change, Paul Krugman, of course, is a must-read:
It doesn’t matter if Bergdahl had deserted his post or not. It doesn’t matter if he is a confused young man who said insulting and shameful things about his country and his Army. The debt we owe to fellow Americans is not based on individual merit. It is based on citizenship, and loyalty to the national community we all share.
Soldiers don’t risk their lives only for those Americans who deserve it; they do it for the nation as a whole.
Maybe it’s me, but the predictable right-wing cries of outrage over the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules on carbon seem oddly muted and unfocused. I mean, these are the people who managed to create national outrage over nonexistent death panels. Now the Obama administration is doing something that really will impose at least some pain on some people. Where are the eye-catching fake horror stories?Ben Adler at Grist:
For what it’s worth, however, the attacks on the new rules mainly involve the three C’s: conspiracy, cost and China. That is, right-wingers claim that there isn’t any global warming, that it’s all a hoax promulgated by thousands of scientists around the world; that taking action to limit greenhouse gas emissions would devastate the economy; and that, anyway, U.S. policy can’t accomplish anything because China will just go on spewing stuff into the atmosphere.
I don’t want to say much about the conspiracy theorizing, except to point out that any attempt to make sense of current American politics must take into account this particular indicator of the Republican Party’s descent into madness. There is, however, a lot to say about both the cost and China issues.
Environmentalists have an advantage over their conservative opponents: The public agrees with them. Several recent polls have found public support running roughly 2-to-1 in favor of regulating CO2 from power plants, even if it means higher electricity prices.
National numbers can fail to capture the politics of coal-heavy swing states. Conservative groups and the coal lobby are targeting their pitches in states that produce coal or rely heavily on it for power, and saying it will not just raise electricity prices but lead to job losses.
But the League of Conservation Voters released a poll Thursday suggesting that there’s strong support for the rules even in these states.