by John S.D. Eisenhower
The 60th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy, on the day known in
common parlance as D-Day, was once again an occasion to pause and
contemplate its significance. . . .
To me, as the son of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the general who commanded that
invasion, it carries an added dimension. . . .
The most fundamental conviction that the period of Ike's command in Europe
and the Mediterranean imprinted on his mind was the cruelty, wastefulness
and stupidity of war. He saw at firsthand how war destroyed cities, killed
innocent people (in which I include most of the participating soldiers),
wiped out national economies and tore up the structure of civilizations. Its
wastefulness cut him to the bone, and its specter never left him. As a
result, as president he kept the military budget as small as was consistent
with the safety of the nation. He expressed his convictions eloquently in
April 1953, about three months after his inauguration as the 34th president
of the United States:
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired
signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not
fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. . . .
"The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more
than 30 cities.
"It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
"It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. . . .
"We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We
pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed 8,000
Not surprisingly, the war that included D-Day had made a pacifist of the man
who bore the responsibility, its supreme commander. . . .
General Smedley Darlington Butler, "'War
is Just a Racket'," 1933
Enver Masud, "The 2004 Election:
One Issue, One Candidate," The Wisdom Fund, August 8, 2003
Steve Clemons, "May
We Never Confuse Honest Dissent with Disloyal Subversion,"
Washington Note, May 23, 2008