76 years later: Is the D-Day invasion of Europe finally drawing toward a close?
By Sgt. Dan McKnight
On June 6, 1944, and the days following, hundreds of thousands of U.S. and Allied troops waded ashore in France as part of the D-Day invasion to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe.
Now, 76 years later, is that American-led invasion of Europe finally, hopefully, drawing toward an end?
Germany’s ruling class, who’ve far too long enjoyed the largesse of a national economy dependent on the infusion of billions of hard-working Americans’ tax dollars, were shocked and awed, shaken and alarmed, when the Wall Street Journal reported last week that President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to cap American troop presence in Germany at 25,000, requiring a withdrawal of nearly 10,000 U.S. service members.
Just as 76 years ago last weekend, hundreds of thousands came ashore at Normandy in waves, many veterans hope President Trump’s withdrawal of 10,000 troops from Germany is just the first wave of bringing our troops home in total, not just from Europe but from around the world.
Our government gives over $730 million of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars to NATO each year, compared to just $55 million from Germany.
Germany’s economy and population also profit from the presence of 34,674 U.S. military personnel stationed in that country, plus 19,000 additional civilian employees who support our uniformed services.
That’s been going on for three quarters of a century, with U.S. taxpayers footing the bill for rebuilding and maintaining Germany and its economy, at the price of our own infrastructure and economy often suffering here at home.
In the face of that glaring imbalance in who’s shouldering responsibility for Europe’s defense, many veterans take umbrage at the arrogance and sense of entitlement expressed by German leaders in response to last week’s announcement, upset that hardworking American steelworkers and farmers and plumbers might not continue to financially subsidize Germany’s economy and population in “the manner to which they’ve become accustomed.”
As Politico spun the announcement last week and the German response, only President Trump could be attacked for supposedly turning “a withdrawal of troops into an act of aggression.”
The German news magazine Der Spiegel called Trump's move "a provocation."
Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the German Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said the U.S. troop reduction would be “deplorable."
We’ve heard that word used before to describe Americans who supported President Trump’s 2016 campaign pledge to put America first, end our endless foreign wars, and bring our troops home from foreign bases and battlefields.
Reuters reports that German foreign policy spokesman Johann Wadephul characterized the announcement as “a ‘further wake-up call’ to Europeans to position themselves better in terms of security policy.”
Having served in Afghanistan, I’m not the only veteran who thinks it’s about time the Germans and other Europeans wake up and take greater responsibility for safeguarding the security of their own people.
But beyond the weeping and gnashing of teeth in the halls of German government, many veterans are hopeful that Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from that country is just part of
fulfilling his broader campaign pledge to bring our troops home from around the world.
Public opinions polls the past six months have found, for example, that over 70 percent of veterans, and a like number of all Americans, support total withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, where I served for eighteen months. That number grows to over 80 percent among those who voted for President Trump.
With an obvious need to secure our own borders, infrastructure, and medical supply chain here at home, and to protect U.S. troops from an expected coronavirus outbreak in Afghanistan, we just hope it doesn’t take 76 years to finally start bringing our troops home from the invasion of that country.
If you agree, please visit BringOurTroopsHome.US to learn how you can join Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans and others in taking action to end America’s involvement in other people’s endless civil wars, and bring our troops home.
Sgt. Dan McKnight served in the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, and the Idaho Army National Guard, with whom he was deployed to Afghanistan from 2005 to 2007. He is the founder and chairman of BringOurTroopsHome.US.