On this date 72 years ago General Dwight D. Eisenhower sent five military divisions by sea and three divisions by air against an area of mainland Europe held by 58 German divisions. Success, needless to say, was far from certain. While planning for success, Eisenhower also had the prudence to prepare for failure–in the form of a 65-word statement accepting full and personal responsibility in the event that the invasion had not succeed:
Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air, and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.
Fortunately, Eisenhower never needed to read those words.
The contrast between Eisenhower, who would of course go on to be President, and the Obama administration is remarkable. Eisenhower planed for success, but nevertheless prepared for possible failure, and the assumption of personal responsibility for that failure–typically, the American people for being too stupid to understand his vision. In Obama we have a president who plans only for success, who makes no plans for failure, who consistently fails with a regularity otherwise found only in fine timepieces, and who invariably finds some factor other than himself to blame for that failure.
Many thanks to the men, both those who have passed and the few who remain alive, who made the Normandy invasion both possible and successful.