General Eisenhower speaks with paratroopers prior to the invasion. (Photo via Library of Congress)
Seventy years ago this June 6, the Americans, British, and Canadians stormed the beaches of Normandy in the largest amphibious invasion of Europe since the Persian king Xerxes invaded Greece in 480 B.C.
About 160,000 troops landed on five Normandy beaches and linked up with airborne troops in a masterful display of planning and courage. Within a month, almost a million Allied troops had landed in France and were heading eastward toward the German border. Within eleven months the war with Germany was over.
Classicists should infuriate other humanists, in the way that the handsome scholar-athlete who volunteers to help dyslexic children and is a genuinely nice guy should infuriate the guy who just made it onto the football team and has a hard time keeping up his GPA, or the kid with the great GPA who can’t do a pull-up—but they don’t hate him, because he’s just so good. That, at least, is how this historian feels whenever he reads a classicist.
These feelings of bitter self-recrimination are a normal part of the intellectual life, according to most intellectuals, but especially strong within me because I have just finished Victor Davis Hanson’s The End of Sparta, first published in 2011 and issued in paperback this spring. It was an absolutely infuriating experience. Isn’t enough for Hanson to have conceived of a genuinely original theory for the development of classical Greece? Can’t he be satisfied with roiling the waters of military history with his arguments for a “western Continue reading ““The End of Sparta” — A Review”→
Sometimes societies just plod along, oblivious that the world is being reinvented right under their noses. In 2000, one never saw pedestrians bumping into themselves as they glued their noses to iPhones. Continue reading “Brave New World”→
Ostensibly, there are really only two issues about the inclusion of women in combat units: one, apparently the nation believes that it will react to the future combat deaths or capture of women in ground units the same way it does to the loss of male soldiers, even in numbers commensurate with male KIAs — that is, society has evolved beyond the traditional chivalric notion of deference to “women” (e.g., on a sinking ship the men of our modern culture no longer feel any need to step back and allow women first crack at the lifeboats); and two, assuming there is no gender exemption for meeting physical requirements (e.g., SEALs, Rangers, Green Berets, etc. insist that women meet the same physical requirements as their male counterparts), then there seems no reason why women should not be fully integrated into combat units. Continue reading “Women at the Front”→
Classical explanations of conventional wars run something like this: An aggressor state seeks political advantage through military force. It has a hunch that the threatened target will likely either make concessions to avoid losing a war, or, if war breaks out, the resulting political gains will be worth the military costs to achieve victory. Continue reading “T-Ball War in the Middle East”→
Western Warfare, as originated by the Greeks and systematized by the Romans, took various forms over the ensuing two millennia. European militaries put greater emphasis on decisive battles such as Gaugamela or Kursk. They focused on collective discipline, the importance of staying in rank, superior technology, and logistics. Continue reading “More Rubble, Less Trouble”→
In the past 40 years, the United States has intervened to go after autocrats in Afghanistan, Grenada, Haiti, Iraq, Libya, Panama, Somalia, and Serbia. We have attacked by air, by land, and by a combination of both. Continue reading “Taking Out Dictators”→
The 33-year farce of Western appeasement of Iran may be reaching its denouement. For the last few months, the pace of events have quickened as the West sanctions and threatens, and Iran blusters about closing the Strait of Hormuz, cutting off oil to Europe, and unleashing its terrorist proxies. Continue reading “The Final Countdown: Israel vs. Iran”→