published Monday, June 9th, 2014

Smith: Bedford Boys or Bowe Bergdahl

By Robin Smith

On Friday, the 70th anniversary of D-Day — specifically the landings at Normandy — was commemorated.

According to first-hand accounts recorded by the U.S. Army, forces were deployed onto the beaches of Normandy, France, in the largest seaborne invasion in history. Soldiers, (the average age was 24) loaded down with “about 100 pounds per man” would lead the Allied fight that would ultimately result in victory.

The strategic plan included a fiery air attack with more than 13,000 planes and a naval assault with more than 5,000 ships. All this preceded amphibious landings of infantry and armored divisions that totaled 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces.

Despite their superior vantage point, the Nazis were pushed back to Paris, breaking the grip of the Germans in France. The invasion would come to be called the “the beginning of the end of war in Europe.”

Between Roanoke and Lynchburg, Va., lies a community called Bedford. This rural town is home to the National D-Day Memorial. This location was not chosen by chance but out of respect.

In 1944, the population of Bedford, Va., was 3,200. On June 6, 1944, this small town lost more boys per capita than any other community in America – 19 during the invasion and four more during the remaining Normandy campaign.

These brave young men joined the more than 9,000 Allied soldiers who were killed or wounded on D-Day.

The speech given by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower spelled it out:

“Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force. You are about to embark upon a 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. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

“... I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

“Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

Understand, this speech today would be viewed as politically incorrect, infringing upon the contrived constitutional ban on religion in public affairs, and representing an overzealous, “cowboy” foreign policy.

So, what was the news story dominating the headlines last week in America? Five senior Taliban terrorists were released from Guantanamo Bay detention camp and swapped for an American “POW.”

A few facts:

• The American was no prisoner of war. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl abandoned his post. The evidence includes emails, return of his effects to the states and writings about being “ashamed” to be an American.

• As many as 16 men lost their lives searching for this “deserter.”

• Barack Obama remains determined to keep a campaign promise to close Gitmo, among other laughable foreign policy initiatives.

In 2014, leftist leaders rewrite history and pursue a mystical land of world peace by surrendering to terrorists and honoring the Bowe Bergdahls of pacifism. Instead, let’s salute and honor those who sacrifice daily reflecting the courage of the Bedford Boys.

Robin Smith served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party, 2007 to 2009. She is a partner at the SmithWaterhouse Strategies business development and strategic planning firm and serves on Tennessee’s Economic Council on Women.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.

Robin Smith wrote: "Understand, this speech today would be viewed as politically incorrect, infringing upon the contrived constitutional ban on religion in public affairs, and representing an overzealous, “cowboy” foreign policy."

Again you have demonstrated you have no historical understanding about what you write. But your pitching arm should be in shape from throwing more red-meat palaver to the hungry lap-dogs of neo-conservatism and the moral misfits of the Tea Party.

Perhaps if you took time to read history (not just the god, flag, and glory books of Ollie North, Glen Beck, and neo-cons), you might become knowledgeable, or at least less gullible.

But we both know that won't happen. Never let the truth interfere with talking points, poll numbers, and politics.

June 9, 2014 at 8:24 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Mrs. Smith, your lack of awareness of the difference between WW2 and almost every war we have fought since is appalling. Our enemy then was clear and unmistakable and his/their evil intentions were undeniable. It was truly a war that had to be fought and practically every American was united in their call to duty, to serve in whatever way possible, whether on the front lines and the trenches or at home working in the factories making the hardware and supplies needed by our troops. I seriously doubt that anyone today would consider then Gen. Eisenhower's speech politically incorrect. It was a great speech and it served its purpose well for that dire occasion.

You might like to think that one great pre-war speech could be a one-size-fits-all and be apropos for any other pre-war address to our nation and troops, but that is not the case. Our cause has not always been so noble or altruistic. I know that you hawkish conservatives like to think that America's "exceptionalism" merits the blessings of God on our every wartime excursion, but sadly our ventures into war these past 50 years have been based more on lies, deception, misrepresentation, and political and economic self-interest than for merely defense of freedom. If there is a God who takes sides in wars, I seriously doubt that he/she was giving us any sort of supernatural support in Vietnam, or today in Iraq and Afghanistan, as we amassed the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our hysterical fear of "evil" Communists or terroristic Muslims.

Eisenhower, as President, went on to give another great speech twenty years later, in his farewell address, in which he cautioned us against the grave dangers of the military-industrial complex. And that dark and odious entity is with us today, entrenched within our government, having amassed a power that is relentless and self-serving, and that has little or nothing to do with truth, justice, or the defense of freedom (unless it is the freedom for the defense contractors to make obscenely large amounts of money at the expense of dupes who are hoodwinked into being cannon fodder). I know that most Americans are familiar with his speech but it is worth rereading and pondering.

June 9, 2014 at 1:29 p.m.
timbo said...

rickaroo...Is there some kind of hand-out or fax everyday that you get so you can parrot the Obama line? She was making a comparison to a deserter and people who rushed ashore under machine-gun and artillery fire and died. I know little Burgdahl was "stressed" but I don't think his situation was comparable to people killed on D-day. How in the world you guys can defend a deserter is ridiculous. He would have been shot in WWII.

You said that the "enemy was clear and unmistakable in WWII." How could there be a more unmistakable enemy than the Taliban? Those people hate us. They enabled the hijackers on 911. The guys we swapped are terrorists, not enemy soldiers. It is bizarre you don't think so. I thought even your God, Obama, said that Afghanistan was the "good" war.

Have we made mistakes? Yea we have..but the cumulative effect of this country has been extremely positive in the world. I know that this might be news to a liberal but defeating communism was a good thing.

You just want to nit-pic and criticize for the sake of criticism. You give pseudo-intellectual a bad name.

June 9, 2014 at 4:01 p.m.
javelin363 said...

Gee Pam the old give me half of the story and lets condemn comes through again. I guess the U S Constitution ( innocent until proved guilty) does not apply any more. This just reminds me of the JonBenet Ramsey story. Everyone was just sure her mother was to blame and persecuted her the rest of her life, and the true murder was not discovered till after her death. Wouldn't it be nice if we waited till all the facts are in before we judge?

June 9, 2014 at 6:28 p.m.
Ki said...

Yet these people come from the same party, GOP, who actually mocked military persons serving in Iraq when they complained about faulty and unsafe, dangerous equipment. Recall rumsfeld threatening words to court martial any soldier serving in Iraq who went to the media and complained about dangerous and unsafe equipment they were being forced to rely on to protect them? Where was all that love and concern for military me and women when the bush was in Iraq office? The GOP even originally supported bringing bergdahl home whatever it took. Nixon swapped over 100 north Vietnamese when McCain was releasd. Reagan traded over 1500 missiles in a hostage swap. Last year Israel nathantyau traded over a thousand Palestinians in a prison swap for an Israeli soldier. Are these people attack in the president so I'll informed or are they banking on Americans being too ignorant and I'll informed to heck out the facts for themselves?

June 9, 2014 at 8:34 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Timbo, you might want to read my comment again. Maybe you'll notice, if you read with a little more attention to comprehension this time, that I didn't say diddly-squat about Bowe Bergdahl. That's because all the information about him is not in yet. It is still speculative at this point. I'm not going to make the mistake of spouting my opinion on something or someone until I can be relatively certain of the facts. Yet, even though I said nothing whatsoever about him you still manage to throw me into the mix with other liberals whom you accuse of "defending a deserter.” That's rich.

As for the Taliban, they're a despicable lot, for sure. They definitely have an agenda, but however heinous that agenda might be they had nothing to do with 9/11 and they did not officially declare war against the U.S. Of course we all know that they do indeed hate America and Western secularism in general and want to see America fall, but our fear of Muslim terrorists is as overblown as our fear of Communists at the height of the "Red Scare." We certainly need to be vigilant against possible terrorist attacks but putting boots on the ground in foreign countries is absurd. We will never root out terrorism with such crude, ill-conceived brute force. And in fact we only inspire more people in the lands we occupy to hate us even more. Our War on Terror is being waged way outside the bounds of reality and based only on our imagined fears of what MIGHT be if we don't go waging war in whatever Muslim country we fear most at the time.

And whatever the Taliban's ties to al-Qaeda, they are/were tenuous at best. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are totally separate organizations. Our war in Afghanistan began as a war against al-Qaeda but, having quickly captured or killed most of its members there and driven the rest out of the country (we should have brought the troops home at that point), that war has morphed into a war against the Taliban. And we will never eradicate the Taliban completely, in the same way we were never able to eradicate communists from Vietnam. Each is too much entrenched in their society. The only way we could claim total victory there is to blast the entire country to smithereens, which we have pretty much already done, having killed tens of thousands of innocent Afghanis, just to get at a handful (by comparison) of known enemies. It's almost the same scenario as Vietnam, where it was practically impossible to tell the enemy from the innocent citizens. And the "enemies" were enemies only because we were there in the first place, occupying their country, waging war against them, and killing innocent people in the crossfire. Who wouldn't fight back?? The war in Afghanistan, as was the war in Vietnam, is senseless and immoral. Period.

June 10, 2014 at 12:18 p.m.
timbo said...

The war in Afghanistan was a direct response to the attack on 911. Iraq was stupid, but Afghanistan had to be done to eliminate a threat. I also agree with you that this fear of terrorism is over blown and overstated. You have less chance of being struck by lightning than getting killed by terrorists. All the money and rights we are giving up aren't worth it.

I also think Vietnam was a big mistake. As far as being immoral, I don't think our intent was immoral, it was convenient to use to fight communism. It was too high a price to pay.

As far as Bergdahl goes, yea it is pretty definite that he walked off from his unit. That is at least AWOL. No one is jumping the gun there.

June 10, 2014 at 1:39 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Afghanistan, as a country, had NOTHING to do with 9/11. It was only because Osama bin-Laden and al-Qaeda, which had direct links to 9/11, were there that we sent our troops there in the first place. We decimated al-Qaeda early on and we should have immediately brought our troops home then, using covert forces to capture or kill bin-Laden. But instead we changed course and turned the fiasco into a futile war against the Taliban. And that is an unwinnable war because, as I said before, the Taliban is too heavily entrenched in Afghan culture. The only possible way to "win" there is to permanently occupy the country or to blow it to kingdom come, with no regard whatsoever for innocent life. If there are any ties between al-Qaeda and the Taliban today, it is only as a direct result of our occupying Afghanistan in the way that we have, with alliances forming between the two organizations as a shared antipathy towards our presence there.

June 10, 2014 at 1:51 p.m.
timbo said...

Good points...I agree with your assessment now. Your right, that country will have to decide its own fate. If people want freedom, they should fight for it. That is not our job. If they want the Taliban it is none of our business as long as they leave us alone.

June 10, 2014 at 2:11 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

I vote we move all the prisoners to Robin's house since she wants to keep them imprisoned so badly.

Afghanistan is going the same route as Syria and Iraq. The latter were created (carved up) as synthetic countries by the West, the former has resisted external control throughout its long history.

The only thing we have gained is many dead soldiers, an economy in shambles due to the trillions of dollars spent without a war tax, and a fractured national unity. Bush did a "good" job starting it, Obama a poor job stopping it, and the Congress a "great" job thwarting Obama stopping it.

June 11, 2014 at 11:49 a.m.
timbo said...

inquiringmind...what are you going to say when leaving those countries to themselves creates another 911?

June 12, 2014 at 3:56 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.