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Forum Post: paul street on obama and d-day

Posted 2 months ago on June 22, 2014, 6:32 p.m. EST by flip (6866)
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“If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany and that way let them kill as many as possible.”

So said US Senator (D-MO) and future US Vice President and President Harry Truman on the floor of the US Senate on June 23, 1941.

Just shy of three years later, after millions of Russians had already perished under German onslaught, the US and England, finally launched their assault on Nazi-occupied Europe from across the English Channel – the famous D-Day invasion whose 70th anniversary the West celebrated with great fanfare two weeks at the Normandy American Cemetery on the west coast of France.

Kill List Obama: “The World Had Never Seen Anything Like It”

US President Barack Obama condemns untold numbers to death and disfigurement without trial through targeted drone attacks ordered off his personal Kill List and from the safe and secure confines of the White House. With raised nostrils and puffed-up chest, he really got his nationally narcissistic mojo working during the commemoration at Omaha Beach. Obama boasted about how “America …gave so much for the survival of liberty at its moment of maximum peril.” He saluted how “freedom’s victory was made possible by [those]…who wore America’s uniform” and “an army of women, including my grandmother, who helped build a mighty arsenal of democracy.”

Obama lavished praise on the US troops, calling them “men who were willing to lay down their lives for people they’d never met, and ideals they couldn’t live without….These men,” Obama declared, “waged war so that we might know peace. They sacrificed so that we might be free.”

“What more powerful manifestation of America’s commitment to human freedom,” Obama intoned, “then the sight of wave after wave of young men boarding those boats `to liberate people they’d never met….[I]n the annals of history,” Obama droned on, “the world had never seen anything like it. When the war was won, we claimed no spoils of victory — we helped Europe rebuild. We claimed no land other than the earth where we bury those who gave their lives under our flag, and where we station those who still serve under it. But America’s claim — our commitment — to liberty; to equality; to freedom; to the inherent dignity of every human being — that claim is written in blood on these beaches, and it will endure for eternity.”

Then Obama heaped acclaim on the United States’ “9/11 Generation of service members” who have endured “combat’ (occupation) tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and “proved once again that the United States is and will remain the greatest force for freedom the world has ever known.”

How’s that for national humility? As usual with Obama’s loftier global orations, I was chilled by the president’s Orwellian capacity for the outwardly eloquent distortion of past and current history in accord with the doctrinal requirements of empire.

US Support of European Fascism as a Bulwark Against Socialism

The people of Russia can be forgiven if they didn’t exactly go gaga for Obama and the rest of the speakers at the Normandy extravaganza two weeks ago. Beyond Obama’s recent, brazenly imperial actions in Eastern Europe (the latest phase of the US-led West’s ongoing provocation of Moscow), there’s the inconvenient historical fact that the US/Allied invasion of Nazi-controlled Europe came quite late in the United States’ purported struggle to rescue “liberty at its moment of maximum peril.” The Soviet Russians suffered by far and away the lion’s share of the virulently anti-Marxist Nazi regime’s murder toll (more than 20 million Soviet citizens died because of Hitler’s invasion of Russia).

Harry Truman was hardly the only top American, British, or Western “leader” who hoped that fascist Germany and the “socialist” Soviet Union would tear each other to shreds. Along with many ruling class comrades in England, France, Italy, Spain, and elsewhere, the US corporate and imperial establishment in the interwar years had supported the rise of virulently authoritarian and militarist anti-Left European fascism as a bulwark and bettering ram against socialism, anarchism, and workers’ parties and movement not just in “socialist” (actually state-capitalist and tyrannical) Russia but in Western and Central Europe as well.

It should hardly surprising, then that “in the first area of Europe liberated [from Nazi control] – southern Italy…the US….imposed a right-wing dictatorship headed by fascist war hero Field Marshall Badoglio and the King, Victor Emmanuel III, who was also a fascist collaborator.” As Noam Chomsky explained in his 1992 volume What Uncle Sam Really Wants, “US planners recognized that the ‘threat’ in Europe was…worker- and peasant-based antifascist resistance with its radical democratic ideals and the political power and appeal of the local communist parties,” who had heroically led the struggles against Italian and German fascism. Therefore, “As US forces advanced through Italy, they dispersed this antifascist resistance and restored the basic structure of the prewar Fascist regime.” A similar logic led the US to install a leading Nazi collaborator as the Governor General of French North Africa during the war and to ally with fascist and monarchical forces against workers and peasants in Greece after the war.

Contrary to what many US high school history teachers like to think, the US did not (belatedly) enter the fight with Hitler’s Third Reich out of concern for the terrible plight of Jews in Nazi-controlled Europe, or in order to challenge Hitler’s racist ideas, or out of some kind of special concern for the freedom of unknown people in defenseless countries. Saving European Jewry was never anything remotely like a high priority for the US wartime Franklin Roosevelt administration. The popular historian and WWII veteran Howard Zinn flew hundreds of death-defying missions over Nazi German. As he noted in his bestselling book A People’s History of the United States (originally published in 1980):

“It was not Hitler’s attacks on the Jews that brought the United States into World War II, any more than the enslavement of 4 million blacks brought Civil War in 1861. Italy’s attack on Ethiopia, Hitler’s invasion of Austria, his takeover of Czechoslovakia, his attack on Poland-none of those events caused the United States to enter the war, although Roosevelt did begin to give important aid to England. What brought the United States fully into the war was the Japanese attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. Surely it was not the humane concern for Japan’s bombing of civilians that led to Roosevelt’s outraged call for war-Japan’s attack on China in 1937, her bombing of civilians at Nan king, had not provoked the United States to war. It was the Japanese attack on a link in the American Pacific Empire that did it.”

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