Saturday, June 06, 2009

Harper's D-Day Photo Op - Or How to Disrespect Our War Dead

All death in war is bad, especially civilian death. But it's just as bad when people try to imbue that carnage with exaggerated meaning or unfounded grandeur. And when it comes to that sort of thing, Stephen Harper is one of the worst.

Strolling through a Normandy graveyard on the anniversary of 65th anniversary of D-Day, Steve stood up on his hind legs and opined, "It is hard to believe that on such a peaceful and serene day that 65 years ago this very day this was probably the site of the biggest military engagement in world history."

There is a point where rank ignorance betrays a utter indifference and that's plain as day in Steve's ridiculous remark.

In terms of the 20th Century Hall of Carnage, D-Day was actually a pretty modest slaughter. In total, the Allies landed 156,000 troops, 21,400 of them on Juno beach. Our side suffered around 10,000 casualties, 2,500 killed in action. On Juno beach we had 340-killed, 574 wounded and 47 taken prisoner. (In the Dieppe disaster, by contrast, 1,027 were killed and 2,340 captured)

In the entire Battle of Normandy total casualties ran to about 425,000 which included 37,000 dead for the Allied side.

Bad as that awful loss was and is it was pretty modest compared to the Battle of Leningrad where the Sovs lost about a million soldiers killed in action or Stalingrad which claimed the lives of 1.1-million Russians and about 800,000 Germans or the the 653,000 Soviet dead at the Battle of Moscow or the 616,000 Soviet fatalities at the Battle of Kiev or the 486,000 at the 1st Battle of Smolensk or any of the other 40-worst battles of the 20th Century.

Steve, if you want to show respect for our war dead, real respect, then treat them with respect. Take just a few minutes to learn what really happened. There's bravery and heroism galore in the actual accounts. Don't try to make the significance of their sacrifice something that simply exists only in your mind. What you did, Steve, does not honour them. It simply shows this, for you, is another photo op - one for which you couldn't be bothered to learn what these brave men actually did - for their country and for freedom.
(photo - my Dad's regiment, the Queen's Own Rifles, landing on Juno)


lance said...

He said "engagement", not losses.

D-Day, the battle of Jun 6/7th comprised almost 300,000 on the Allied side alone.

The Mound of Sound said...

Gee Lance, wonder how big the "engagement" was at Leningrad or Stalingrad, Kursk or Moscow? Nice try, no cigar.

lance said...

I don't dispute the battle of Kursk or the campaigns of the cities were larger.

War > Campaign > Battle > Engagement.

Anonymous said...

WHAT are you trying to say MOS? Loss of life and limb through battle is just that...loss of life and limb. You read like a man whose "hatred" is showing. Isn't that why there was a IIWW...just for that very thing..."hate".

Fish said...

I have to agree with Lance on this one Mound.

Operation Overlord was a mammoth task, largely due to the fact that it was an amphibious assault. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of men that went ashore, there were also thousands of ships crossing the channel as transport, support, firing platforms, etc. Not to mention the many thousands of fighters, bombers, gliders and transport planes that flew over Normandy.

One of the problems that the Soviets had, was the lack of planes, "fortunately" for them, they had more men than the Germans had bullets! (Uncle Joe also had the nasty habit of executing any of his generals the moment they showed the slightest signs of competence)

As for Dieppe, the reason it was such a disaster is because itwas not a full scale invasion... it was just a raid. Sure we sustained some 3000 casualties, but we only sent over about 5000!

I hate to speak out in Harper's defence, but it was clearly a huge engagement in terms of man and machine power deployed, detailed planning, and importance.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, the man said engagement.

You are way off base.