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Parody: FDR's Little Drama — and the American People

2:47 PM, Mar 22, 2011 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
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June 7, 1944

Parody: FDR's Little Drama — and the American People

President Franklin Roosevelt

Since when was the United States committed to regime change in Germany? My understanding is that Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States on December 12, 1941, and Franklin Roosevelt's job as commander in chief has been to defend the United States against attack from Adolf Hitler. To my knowledge, Der Fuhrer has not been seen anywhere near Atlantic City or the Chesapeake Bay during the past two-and-a-half years, and hasn't made a stab at Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. So full marks for FDR on fulfilling his constitutional responsibility.

But bombing our erstwhile ally France, killing thousands of innocent civilians, landing combat troops in Normandy, vowing to annihilate the German armed forces and overthrow Hitler? I don't see how that preserves and protects the farms and factories, the cities and towns and countryside, of the United States of America. On the other hand, I do see how saturation bombing of German cities, and shelling French civilians, will give birth to a generation of hatred for the Stars and Stripes in France and Germany and across Western Europe. Sure, Hitler is a nut; but the citizens of the Land of Poets and Thinkers have seemed pretty enamored of him during the past decade. Are we now in the business of overthrowing every foreign ruler we don't like? Is there some new constitutional amendment I don't know about?

So what if Roosevelt sees himself as Wyatt Earp and cleans up Dodge City? Subsidizing the reconstruction of Germany--not to mention the neutral states (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, the Netherlands) we'll devastate in our rampage toward Berlin--will cost taxpayers billions of dollars we haven't yet earned, and any occupation of a hostile Germany will require hundreds of thousands of troops and a commitment lasting years, maybe even decades. Ask any GI under fire at the moment if he thinks American troops should be stationed in Germany until, say, 1960. I think I know what the answer will be.

That is, of course, if that GI survives this ill-conceived maneuver. Just gaining a beachhead on the Normandy coast has already cost thousands in dead and wounded. And when the troops are given the order to break out, into dense hedgerow country laced with battle-hardened German fighters, they will be supplied with--what? Even if we are successful, it may be weeks before we capture a port such as Cherbourg. In the meantime, thousands of Americans will be pushed into a military meat-grinder from which they might well have to evacuate under fire and air assault.

So even if Roosevelt's little drama -- played with the lives of thousands of brave Americans while he watches from his wheelchair – proves successful, has he given any thought to Act Two? The French Resistance is riddled with communists and anarchists; do we have any idea who the good guys and bad guys in "liberated" France might be? Germany has gone from an authoritarian monarchy to a failed democracy to a fascist dictatorship; do we really expect ex-Nazis to follow our lead in governance? Is there any scheduled date for withdrawal of American troops, or strategy for the quick exit that failure might require?

Franklin Roosevelt, who has never worn a military uniform, was a cheerleader at Harvard, and seems very skilled at holding the coats while others fight. How the interests of the United States are served by embarking on an imperial adventure in Europe, at the cost of untold thousands of lives and national treasure, is a mystery to me. Maybe FDR can deliver one of his patented orations, and explain it all.

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