On Leadership

by Wayne Lutz

Like millions of others I spent much of my time on June 6th watching the stories of the 70 th anniversary of the landings in Normandy. June 6, 1944, a day that will remain the finest day in the history of America – the story of the tens of thousands of boys who gave their lives to save the world. A story of courage, valor, brotherhood.

One of the most dramatic visions that come out of this anniversary is the comparison of leadership in America – then and now. The story of Normandy is a story of true leadership. Men like Eisenhower, Churchill, F.D.R., Patton, Montgomery, Brooke, Marshall – key leaders in the destruction of the horror of Nazism and the freedom of the world. Men who led men to victory.

On the eve of Normandy, Eisenhower wrote this note, with instructions to give it to the press in the event that the invasion should “fail:”

"Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops.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 upon 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."

The fault is “mine alone.” Compare that to today's “leaders” who use weasel-words to divert, distract, and pass off “failure” to the shoulders of others.

On June 6, 1984, the 40 th anniversary of Normandy, President Reagan gave a speech on the wind-swept top of the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, a speech that to this day serves as an example of leadership, in the way in which he honored those who climbed those cliffs while bullets rained down on them. One soldier would be shot and fall; the next would take up the rope and continue to climb.

Today we have no such leaders. On entering the Oval Office one of Obama's first actions was to remove the bust of Churchill from the Oval Office. When that issue was first raised,

Obama's White House described the claim as “100 percent false.” The administration was caught in that lie and was forced to admit that they did return a bust of Sir Winston Churchill to British diplomats. The bust now resides in the residence of Sir Peter Westmacott, Britain's ambassador to the US.

Obama hates Churchill, one of the greatest men who ever lived, because of what he represents to Obama - the hated “imperialism.” Obama was raised on anti-imperialism, passed to him from his father and the ideas of communist professors and soul-mates. All the more reason to hate our historic allies while supporting American's enemies.

From Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister (2007 – 2010), Obama received a truly unique gift, a pen-holder made from the timbers of a Royal Navy anti-slavery vessel. He reciprocated with a handful of DVDs. He gave the Queen an iPod full of his own speeches. ( I'm sure she was deeply moved.) To compare Obama's leadership style with Churchill is an insult in and of itself.

Allen West recently wrote , “In the last presidential election, for the first time in nearly 77 years, the sitting president, vice president and candidates for office had no military service. I'm not suggesting that the president of the United States must have served in the military — but the most important duty of the president is Commander-in-Chief. Our country needs a leader who can understand the sacrifices and commitment of those brave men and women who stand on freedom's rampart, because he or she has been there. “

On one thing I disagree with Mr. West (who would make a great president, by the way. Check out ) – if I had my way, military service would be a requirement for a U.S. President. At least a President with no military experience should be expected to surround himself with those who do. But not only does the current administration have no military experience – they hold very different views on the way our country was formed. None of them “have been there.” They are the result of a generation of people who grew up not knowing the meaning of duty, honor, country.

Case in point: Compare the speech delivered by General Douglas MacArthur at West Point on 12 May 1962 to the speech given by Obama to the cadets of 2014. MacArthur's speech was received with a degree of honor bordering on awe. It has gone down in history as one of the greatest speeches ever given. (See American Rhetoric ) MacArthur was greeted with a true sense of brotherhood from the “old soldier” passed on to American youth.

Obama's speech was delivered to a new generation of soldiers raised on the same values as the generations that came before. It was a generation of young Americans that Obama did not understand. Not only did he not understand them , he had no desire to understand them . His speech was flat and uninspired and embarrassing. It was painfully obvious that he had no connection to his audience. He was out playing golf in his mind and his audience was dishonored. “Duty, Honor, Country” had morphed into “climate change.”

Our country is in desperate need of leaders – leaders who can inspire the American people they were elected to lead. Few things in life build leaders like military service does. America was sinking into mire in 1980. We turned that around beginning in 1981 and returned the country to greatness. We can do so again. Remember this in 2016.

© 2014 Tocqevillian Magazine