In an ABC News report on the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, a reporter talked to a veteran who was there for the first wave that hit the beach:
Q: Did you learn any lessons from that war?
A: Yeah, we don't need another one.
I think we go about these things the wrong way, these venerations of acts of war. War should be an act of desperation, the last possible alternative to a situation. In any event, it is a form of failure. If we go to war, it means things have gone terribly wrong, it means that we missed something that we shouldn't have missed, it means we've failed diplomatically. Remembrances of the days when we went to war, of the great battles and the great victories and the great defeats, should looked upon as a time of loss. When American forces stormed the beach at Normandy, it meant that somewhere in the previous ten to twenty years, we lost the chance, or destroyed the chance, to win through other means. Remembering D-Day shouldn't be a rally to war, or a time to remember great battles, or a time to celebrate victories. It should be a time to regret that it happened in the first place. It should be embarrassing and a time of regret, that we let things get that bad before we interfered, in some way or another. That we had to go to war, that we had to invade a beach and that men shot at other men and men were killed by other men, means that we failed.
It's not a time to celebrate, or to be proud of our victories.
As a post script to the previous post about Ronald Reagan, here's a quote from Mr. Reagan himself, from an interview with Mike Wallace in the 70's:
"The greatest leader isn't necessarily the one who does the greatest things, but the one who gets the people to do the greatest things."
Think about that with regard to the actions of Reagan himself as a leader, and Bill Clinton as a leader, and George W. Bush as a leader. With regard to anyone at all as a leader.