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This week we mark the 63rd anniversary of the D-Day invasion that commenced the liberation of continental Europe. Earlier this week, the editors of the Washington Post provided a reminder of decisive leadership in the form of Dwight David Eisenhower. As the invasion drew near, Ike wrote a statement – what he would say if the invasion floundered and failed – and put it in his wallet. The statement was very simple. This is what it said:
“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold, and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”
These are the words and deeds of a true leader.
And on this anniversary of D-Day, the Senate entertains the nomination of Lieutenant General Doug Lute, to be “the full-time manager for the implementation and execution of our strategies for Iraq and Afghanistan.” The job was created, we learn, at the instigation of a number of figures in the White House, notably National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, who wanted someone else to be the fall-guy for the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush himself is missing from the scene altogether.
These are the words and deeds of the leaders we’ve got, to our great misfortune.
And this is proof that once the Republican Party knew how to identify and elevate great men. But that time seems to have passed.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Chances that a Republican man believes that “poor people have hard lives”:
A school in South Korea was planning to deploy a robot to protect students from unwanted seductions.
Nuremberg’s Neues Museum filed a criminal complaint against a 91-year-old woman who completed a crossword puzzle that was in fact a $116,000 piece of avant-garde Danish art.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”