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If Ike were President? When he toured Normandy with Walter Cronkite.

When I look back over our nation's missteps all over the globe, from Vietnam to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, & Gaza I'm reminded that from 1953 to 1961 our Commander and Chief was one of the most experienced military and diplomatic strategists alive on the planet, battle-tested and hardened by the harsh realities of WWII.


Do I think Nixon, or his successors from Bush to Clinton to Obama to Biden had or have any idea of what they're doing in comparison? Of course, they don't. They didn't heed Ike's warning to beware of the Military Industrial Complex. The last military operation our nation "won" occurred under Eisenhower's watchful eye.


The current crop of leaders don't understand the consequences or implications of their actions like Ike did. Nor are there Walter Cronkites working for non-partisan news departments.


BTW, conspicuously absent from above is Trump. For all his failings, I don't believe he possesses the naivety or predisposition to be swayed by military-economic interests like his peers. That's not to say he's honest, just more honest in this dangerous space.


Ike Returns to Normandy

In the 1964 anniversary film, Eisenhower recounts the D-Day invasion for CBS’s Walter Cronkite.

By Bob Greene, WSJ

June 5, 2024 2:08 pm ET



Two men, one noticeably older, are walking on a beach. They know they are being filmed, but because the camera is at a distance no one else in the vicinity seems aware.


As they walk a nun appears.


“Look,” the older man says to the younger. “Here comes a little nun, with a whole little . . .” The nun and a parade of children walk by, neither pausing nor taking note of the men.


“How do you do, sister?” the older man says. “How do you do?”


The nun and children keep walking.


The older man, Dwight D. Eisenhower, says to the younger man: “If the GIs of 20 years ago could have seen that, that would have been something, wouldn’t it?”


The younger man is Walter Cronkite. They are in Normandy, France, to film a 20th-anniversary commemoration of D-Day that will be broadcast on 22 networks in 19 countries. Cronkite is the top journalist at CBS News, but when the program airs he won’t receive top billing. The credits will proclaim that the reporters are “General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, with Walter Cronkite.” Eisenhower, as it is being broadcast, is more than three years removed from his second term as president.


The program is being filmed because, as the narrator puts it, “20 years ago, in this, our own time, the largest invasion in history assaulted Hitler’s European fortress.” On that day, “a battle was joined between the world of freedom and the world of tyranny.” The film, shot in black-and-white, is a remarkable artifact, seldom seen since that June 1964 broadcast.


Viewers hear a recording of Eisenhower’s message to D-Day troops: “Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force: You are about to embark on the great crusade toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”


Eisenhower now recalls how, at Southwick House on the coast of England, he decided the weather was sufficient to authorize the invasion. During those stormy days, it was a matter of making “the best of a bad bargain.”


Having made the call, “about 6 in the evening I went over to a field from which the American airborne started out. Now, I couldn’t go to all these fields, because there were many of them. But I did go into the 101st Division, and it was a very fine experience.” These were paratroopers.


“They were getting ready,” Eisenhower recalls. “And all camouflaged, their faces blackened and all this, and there they saw me. Of course they recognized me, and said, ‘Now, quit worrying, General. We’ll take care of this thing for you.’ ” A correspondent is said to have reported that when Eisenhower turned away from the paratroopers there was a tear in his eye.


Twenty years later, Eisenhower says: “You know there are going to be losses along the line. They’re going to be bad, because we knew there were mobile troops, German troops, in that area, with all sorts of antiaircraft stuff. . . . I would think if a man didn’t show a bit of emotion it would show that he probably was a little bit inhuman, and goodness knows those fellows meant a lot to me.”


As he drives a Jeep along the shore, Eisenhower spots others in the area: “You see these people out sailing in their pleasure boats, and you see them all along here. And the people have been swimming . . . taking advantage of the nice weather and the lovely beach.”


“It is almost unreal to look at it today,” he says. “There’s no smoke and fire and all the rest of it. It’s a wonderful thing. To remember this was what the fellows were fighting for, and sacrificing for. That these people could do this.”


At the American cemetery nearby, the two men walk among the white crosses. Eisenhower says that on D-Day his son was graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. On that day, he says, the men buried beneath the crosses came here “to storm these beaches, for one purpose only: not to gain anything for ourselves, not to fulfill any ambitions that America had for conquest, but just to preserve freedom.”


His son, Eisenhower says, has had a good and full life. “But these young boys, so many of them, over whose graves we have been treading, looking at, wondering and contemplating about their sacrifices—they were cut off in their prime.


“They have families that grieve for them. But they never knew the great experience of going through life like my son can enjoy.” Eyes on the crosses, Eisenhower says: “I devoutly hope that we will never again have to see such scenes as these.”


Mr. Greene’s books include “Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War.”

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