The American GI is leaving Iraq. Good News. A job well done – leaving an Iraq now where free people have the opportunity to remain free. And if it has to be done again, as some speculate – then the American GI will do it again. Something we and the civilized and free world can count on, because the American GI has done it before and will do it again.
While in a conversation at a VA hospital, an army veteran asked his VA doctor why he had decided to remain a VA doctor as his career. This doctor, one of the top graduates in his class from an outstanding medical school, was well- known over many years to be a dedicated VA doctor who went far beyond his responsibilities to help veterans. He could have earned at least triple the amount of his VA salary, if he had chosen to be in private practice.
The doctor said, “When I was a boy, my father told me the American soldier saved the world.” He went on to explain his family were Jewish, and if it were not for the American GI, he’d be a lampshade. For those who don’t understand, during World War II, some particularly despicable Nazis used the skin of murdered Jews as lampshades.
Yes, in World War II, the American GI did save the world. Not alone, of course. Men and women, young and old, military and civilian, from all over the free world, were all a part of the Allied forces that defeated the Axis forces of evil who would have subjugated the world.
But when America was attacked at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 by the Japanese, followed by Hitler’s declaration of war with America, those forces of evil were winning. Japan had already conquered a good part of China while Germany had conquered most of Europe, and was on the attack in the Soviet Union, and was intent on destroying Briton via air power. But as the saying goes – when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Hitler had little regard for the American GI. He said American boys hung out at ice cream parlours, were soft, would not fight. Not like the Hitler youth that became the German military during the late 1930s and beyond. The German soldier was educated, strong, disciplined – and German.
But the tough did indeed get going. Within six months, Jimmy Doolittle had led 16 bombers over Japan on a bombing raid, the Doolittle Raid, and the Japanese Imperial Navy had suffered an almost fatal defeat during the Battle of Midway. And in August of 1942, the Marines landed on Guadalcanal, the first step in forcing the Japanese out of the South Pacific.
And, on the early morning of June 6, 1944, American and British airborne jumped and landed by gliders in France, followed by Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy. In the east, Soviet armies were crushing German resistance, and within a year, Hitler had committed suicide and Germany had surrendered. Japan surrendered in 1946, and World War II came to an end, but not until tens of millions of people had died, because of delusional dreams of just a few evil, narcissistic men.
Yes, the American GI had been a major force in saving the world. One wonders how many of those millions of lives might have been saved if America had joined in earlier, for instance, in 1939 when war was declared between Germany and the Allies, France and Great Briton, after the Nazi invasion of Poland. Instead, France was overrun by the German military in 1940 and British troops were driven off the continent at Dunkirk, and it seemed only a matter of time before the German army would be in England. But President Franklin Roosevelt wanted a third term in 1940 and his promise was to keep American boys out of a foreign war. Politics was more important than military expediency. What else is new. Sometimes, preemptive action makes sense.
In 1950, the American GI was called upon to do a job again. The Korean War commenced when Communist North Korea invaded South Korea. Three years later and with almost 40,000 American lives lost, a truce stopped the fighting. Officially the war continues, and South Korea has become one of the most successful capitalist nations in the world while North Korea is an example of pure Marxist collectivism at its best, where the elitists, the bureaucracy and the military eat well and have the privileges, while the people are essentially enslaved.
The American GI unquestionably won the Vietnam military War. Much has been said to the contrary, but this is nonsense from people with an message. Americans were responsible, but not the fighting man. President Lyndon Johnson is the American who bears most of the responsibility of losing the war in Vietnam. The murder of a young John Kennedy by a disturbed assassin was an event that shocked the world. An incompetent Lyndon Johnson then went on to create, escalate, and lose a war.
Many say President Kennedy would not have got the country involved in Vietnam. Not true. He had decided Vietnam was the place where the United States would make a stand against the expansion of Communism. However, there can be little doubt he would have conducted our military situation in Vietnam in a more rational manner than what occurred under the bungling leadership of President Johnson.
But one thing did remain constant in Vietnam — the commitment of the American GI. And while America, as many of us can still remember it, continues to slide and tumble toward a timid collectivism or worse, that GI commitment remains true.
Welcome home, American GI. Thanks. God bless each and every one of you.