Why They Fought

I’m sure, that as this day progresses, you’re going to be inundated with the military history of what happened fifty-nine years ago today, of the great sacrifices made by the soldiers against a great and terrible enemy. And well you should, because few of us alive today can imagine the horror of that day for the soldiers wading on to that beach under heavy fire, and for their families, who hoped and prayed that their sons and brothers would survive. America has achieved such total military domination of the world, that it’s hard to imagine news of hundreds, of thousands, of American deaths in an entire war, let alone a single battle. But rather than focus on the many reasons the allies defeated the Axis powers, allow me to focus instead on the reasons the Axis lost, and what that means for the future of our country. Because, in a very different sense, we will soon be facing our own D-Day. A different kind of battle, to be sure, but a battle as important to the future of humankind as was fought on the beaches of Normandy.

As the allies were invading, the German military high command understood the enormity of what was going on, and were desperate to throw the allies off the beaches. They knew that if they could do this, the allies may not get another chance to invade for years, and if that happened, the Reich may have survived long enough for them to develop the wepons that might turn the tide for them: Jet aircraft, which they had actually begun using at the end of the war, but in far too few numbers to make a difference. Missiles that would be capable of wreaking havoc on London and in time, perhaps even America. Nuclear bombs which could have been carried by the missiles. The Nazis had the potential to make all of this a reality, and while I doubt they could have truly achived their goal of global domination, it would have cost us ten times more in blood to have defeated them. And they might have succeeded in driving the invasion back, had they sent in the divisions of Panzer tanks that sat waiting for just such a purpose. But they never materialized. Why? Because, due to paranoia and ideology, the only person with the authority to release the Panzers was Adolph Hitler, and he was asleep. No one dared to wake him with the news because they feared what he might do to that messenger. And that is why the Axis, eventually, lost. It wasn’t the first time that ideology cost the Axis a victory: it cost them at Stalingrad also, and in many other smaller battles. I don’t mean to imply that I wish they had won those battles, or the war, of course.

As I wrote in my Pax Liberalis column, the problem with governments run by ideology is that they are run by ideology. The Nazis were unwilling to go against that, and thus could not do the things they needed to do to survive. In fact, every such government that demands the kind of total loyalty that ideology demands has ultimately failed: the Nazis, Imperial Japan, the Confederacy, all of them were victims of the belief that ideology alone would see them through. And even though they are almost completely dominant now, sooner or later the ideology of the current administration is going to take them down. Because anything that has to be built on as many lies as theirs is is bound to fall sooner or later.

But it isn’t going to happen by itself. Those of us who stand in opposition to the Bush administration’s domestic policies and worldview need to ally against them, to pit our forces against the political-industrial complex they’ve worked so hard to create. We need to understand that our own ideological impulses will not be what wins this battle, that there are very real things we need to do in order to accomplish that goal. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, money is a key element. So many on the left turn their heads when we say that dreaded five-letter word. It’s evil to even speak of it. Yet it’s essential to our cause. Look at it this way: the recent anti-war protests were the largest we’ve seen in this country for about thirty years, some of them eclipsed some of the anti-war marches during the VietNam war itself: one of the protests in Washington DC drew more people than were present to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. give his great “I Have A Dream” speech. What did they accomplish? Absolutely nothng. Why? Because most of the two hundred and fifty-odd million Americans who didn’t attend these meetings heard from television that only a few thousand participated. As far as they were concerned, the protests were held by the few remaining hippies organized by groups with ties to Communists. And anyone who thinks that the grassroots movements are going to accomplish the same things they accomplished in the sixties are just fooling themselves.

The reason the powers behind the Bush administration place so much emphasis on media control is because they know that, given an even playing field, they’ll lose every time. It’s time the left understood that and began fighting back in the same manner. There are hundreds of us out here who are readt, willing, and able to fight, but we’re hampered by poverty and disorganization. If those of you with the money were more willing to invest some of it in our causes, we could live to fight, not just another day, but in the months and years ahead. In our fight to defeat one ideology, we mustn’t be blinded by our own. This isn’t a demand, nor is it a threat, it’s reality. And if we want to survive as a nation we’d better start facing up to it now, if it’s not already too late.

Consider the soldiers who fought on that cloudy day almost sixty years ago. Did they fight and die so that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the people who support them could make a quick buck at our expense? Did they fight and die so that the following generations would become indentured slaves to a well-connected elite that, as Teddy Roosevelt put it, twist the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will? We that remain must make their sacrifices meaningful. We must continue the struggle they were a part of, so that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall remain.

Joseph Vecchio, a veteran of both the US military and of the internet, is a freelance writer. His daily blog, “Pax Liberalis,” can be seen at http://joevecchio.blogspot.com. He contributed above perspective to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Georgia, USA.