This weekend marked the 60th anniversary of the Allied Forces invading Normandy, commonly known as D-Day. The surviving veterans, as well as those who gave their lives in the invasion, rightly deserve to have their actions acknowledged since they supplied a great service to not only their country, but also the future of Europe.
Sadly, the ceremonies were overshadowed by members of the Bush administration comparing the war on terror with WWII and the fight against the Nazi regime. Such comparisons are far fetched at best, and further erode support for Bush’s policies.
“I think we can compare the fight against the Nazis and the fight against Communism with the fight that we are now all engaged in against terrorism. And Iraq is a part of that battlefield,” Secretary of State Colin Powell said on France Television 3.
D-Day itself was marked by grave losses. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, 5,000 were killed or injured at Omaha Beach, 17.5 percent of the troops involved. Other locations, including the Canadian invasion of Juno Beach and the British invasion of Gold and Sword Beach, had casualty rates with 7 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Surely the Bush administration is not comparing the war on terror or its involvement in Iraq based on such numbers?
One of the reasons for such high losses, aside from strategic disadvantages at the locations, was faulty or lacking important information. The lack of intelligence on D-Day should hardly be cause to compare it with the war on terror, a war in which information is arguable even more important as terrorists are striking at the United States itself, an eventuality that in WWII, with the notable exception of Pearl Harbor, never occurred.
The administration has previously tried to associate the war on terror with WWII. Most notable was the inclusion of the phrase “axis of evil” in the 2002 State of The Union address. The phrase suggestion a connection between Iran, North Korea and Iraq was inserted to associate the countries with the “axis powers” of WWII while there is no such connection between the regimes.
By the Bush administration comparing the war against guerilla forces of loosely knit terror networks with military actions against a well-organized militaristic Nazi regime, whose installations and armies are clearly marked as such, is rather far fetched.
By touting comparisons such as this, the administration will not only lose more support in Europe, where leaders are very informed and aware of their history, it also taints the memorial ceremonies of the soldiers who fought in WWII.