What Did You Do in the Great WWII?

This line comes from the introduction of the movie Patton. In an inspired piece of cinematic brilliance, George C Scott is shown standing before a gigantic America flag, giving one of the greatest solilliquies in film history.

In order to inspire his troops, General Patton asks a rhetorical question: “When you’re sitting many years from now with your grandson on your knee and he asks you ‘what did you do during the great WWII?’ you won’t have to answer: ‘well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana.'”

For the past two decades, commentators have been bloviating ad nauseam about “the greatest generation” and how we’re losing hundreds of these heroes daily. Liberals especially have been full-throated in their undying admiration for these sons of the Depression who went on to storm the beaches of Guadalcanal and Omaha; who fought massive wars on three gigantic theaters of operations, and who saved the world from the clutches of fascist neo-paganism.

You would think that with a Liberal president, ticker-tape parades would be held to mark the seventieth anniversary of VE Day. After all, this was a war presided over by the great FDR, the father of the modern nationalist American hyper-state.

No such luck. *Yawn!* It’s almost as if it was all a big nothing-burger. Tom Brokaw, the chief propagandist of the Greatest Generation is nowhere to be found.

On the other hand, the Russians put on a show to end all shows. All leaders of the allied nations were invited. After all, there were “allies” in that great conflict as well as an “axis.” You know, countries like the United States, Great Britain, and France (where, by all rights, they should be speaking German by now.) Our Establishment however chose not to attend. Probably the greatest diplomatic gaffe of the last fifty years. I guess it’s because Putin has been beastly to gays. Gotta have our priorities right after all.

And let’s not flatter ourselves. It ain’t because they’ve come to the realization that pace Churchill, this was “the Unnecessary War.” Churchill was an inveterate warrior –no doubt about that–but he was able to see the Big Picture and he only wanted to fight if his nation’s interests were at stake. No, our leaders are all too happy to engage in unnecessary (and fruitless) wars. It’s good for the stock market. That’s why they’ve ginned up wars on the Russian periphery. They’re more than willing to fight to the last Ukrainian.

No, I’m afraid they decided not to show because the post-Soviet world wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. Russia was supposed to be prostrate by now, begging the IMF for another bailout. Kind of like Greece only spread out over fourteen time zones. Its resources were to be exploited by the Harvard Boys. The problem is that the Harvard Boys had a good run of it during the Yeltsin years but Vlad the Bad took over and showed them the door. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

What value is R Hunter Biden (Joe’s son) going to bring to the Ukrainian oil company (of which he is a Director) if he can’t get the 101st Airborne Division to take over the Donbass area of the Ukraine? How is Nancy Pelosi going to be able to maintain her Northern California vineyards if Putin won’t allow Monsanto to sell genetically modified foods in Russia? (Her husband is CEO of Monsanto in case you didn’t know.)

That’s all for another day. In the meantime, take the time to watch the spectacular parade that took place in Moscow the other day. And pay special attention to the Chairman of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation as he leads the procession. For those who didn’t know (thanks to a media blackout), Gen Shoigu –a Buddhist–reverently made the sign of the Cross. By this simple act, he caused a torrent of emotion to erupt throughout Russia.

Sigh. Had he done so in America, he would have been cashiered in 24 hours. And probably forced to march for a mile in four-inch stiletto heels.

Somewhere, in a cemetery in Luxemburg, Georgie Patton is rolling in his grave.


  1. Esther Smith Holmes says

    You nailed it.

  2. Wow! Thanks for the story and details not told elsewhere.

  3. Francis Frost says


    Once again your ignorance is showing.

    To start with, Mr Brokaw’s low profile is due to the fact that he is undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma, an incurable hematological malignancy. The best hope for a durable remission for myeloma patient’s is an intense 4 year course of therapy: induction chemotherapy, followed by back to back tandem stem cell ’transplants’ (high dose chemotherapy for bone marrow ablation, followed by autologous stem cell rescues); followed by 3 years of maintenance chemotherapy. Such treatment is arduous even for a patient in excellent physical condition.

    The Putin extravaganza is little more than an attempt to distract the Russian public from the economic crisis in Russia. The average Russian family has seen its monthly income drop by 50% to $700. Putin’s counter sanctions against imported food have caused inflation especially for food. Friends who were recently in Moscow report that cheese, chicken and pork are largely gone from the shelves in supermarkets. Beef has never been routinely available in Russia. Newly built shopping malls stand empty as Russians hold onto the cash on hand. Unemployment is rising rapidly. The Russian government is likely to run out of the cash needed to pay pensions by the end of this year.

    For more read on:

    After the Swaggering Celebrations, a ‘Now What?’ Moment for Russia

    Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 12 Issue: 88May 11, 2015 04:31 PM Age: 2 days
    By: Pavel K. Baev

    (Source: RIA Novosti)
    The Victory Day parade on the Red Square in Moscow last Saturday (May 9) was a glorious and perfectly smooth affair, which duly filled the hearts of millions of Russians with habitual pride for the military might of the country. President Vladimir Putin basked in the role of Commander-in-Chief but was unusually soft in his address, mentioning only briefly the “attempts at building a unipolar world.” He expressed gratitude to the United Kingdom, France and the United States for their contribution to the victory over Nazi Germany and pointed to the historical meeting of the Soviet and US allied troops on the Elbe (Newsru.com, May 9). Nevertheless, the tense militaristic atmosphere of the celebration was quite different from ten years ago, when Putin warmly greeted the veterans while standing together with US President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura.

    This time, the guests of honor were China’s President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan. And as the military hardware continued to process past them, Putin eagerly pointed out the new S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missiles, which are due to be delivered to China according to a major arms export deal (Carnegie.ru, April 19). Xi’s visit to Moscow was not only ceremonial but also business-political, with the affirmation of a new level of strategic partnership by new investment projects (Kommersant, May 8). It is remarkable that none of these projects deals with energy, which used to be the key issue in high-level talks. Gazprom is desperate to increase its contracted export volumes by opening the “Eastern corridor” to China. But Beijing shows scant interest in such a costly proposition and agreed to sign only yet another “memorandum of understanding” (Vedomosti, May 8). Insightful Russian economist Sergei Aleksashenko argues that the Russian government implores Chinese partners to put new money into cooperation. But the new credit line of $1 billion that Sberbank was able to secure from China is, according to Aleksashenko, entirely insignificant and is not worth the humiliation of begging (Moscow Echo, May 8).

    Putin had clearly wanted more than Chinese credits for building a high-speed railway between Moscow and Kazan from the occasion and sought to turn it into a demonstration of new prospects opened by Russia’s turn to the East. The plan for boosting Moscow’s profile in the Asia-Pacific was undermined, however, by North Korea’s maverick leader Kim Jong-un, who not only failed to arrive on Putin’s calling but chose the day to stage a test of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (Rbc.ru, May 9).

    The too-close-for-comfort embrace with China (which is to be reciprocated by Putin’s visit to Beijing where celebrations of the victory over Japan will be staged in September) could not compensate for the absence of key Western leaders at the Moscow parade (Rbc.ru, May 10). It was not even possible for Putin to pretend that they showed disrespect for Russia’s heroic struggle because German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier traveled to the Volgograd memorial for a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, and prepared ground for Chancellor Angela Merkel to come to Moscow on Sunday for a quiet moment at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier—and for quiet talks with Putin (Kommersant, May 8). Germany has thus managed to take the moral high ground and to remind Russia, without undue fanfare, that Europe has achieved reconciliation and stands together against the threat of aggressive authoritarianism.

    Europe’s deep aversion to brandishing military force is foreign to Putin’s Russia, where the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II is turned into a promotion of state militarism, which is increasingly decorated with portraits of Joseph Stalin (Moscow Echo, May 8). The Red Square premiere of a new T-14 main battle tank and T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicle on the Armata platform was staged with such triumphalism that the deepening crisis of Russia’s economy appeared miraculously overcome (Ezhednevny Zhurnal, May 8). The aging military-industrial complex in fact constitutes a major part of this crisis, and the catastrophe with the space transport vehicle “Progress,” which burned up over the Pacific Ocean on the eve of festivities after failing to connect with the International Space Station, delivered a reminder of this degradation (Meduza, May 8). This year’s May 9 parade was grander than any staged in the Soviet Union, but it could provide Russia only an illusion of grandeur, while in reality the country continues to lag in the fast-moving world.

    This production of simulacra is perhaps a defining feature of Putin’s regime, which excels at satisfying public demand for asserting Russia’s “greatness” with high-volume propaganda and militaristic shows (Forbes.ru, May 8). In this self-glorification, the celebration of the great old victory blends together with the triumphalism over the “reunification” with Crimea and with gloating about the “victories” in eastern Ukraine (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, April 30). Putin was careful not to mention the Ukraine crisis even by one word; but Buk-M1 surface-to-air missile launchers that paraded in the Red Square (without being announced, as other weapons systems were) served as a reminder about the terrible reality of this far-from-frozen conflict (Novaya Gazeta, May 5). The “hybrid” character of the war in Ukraine makes it possible to wrap Russia’s military intervention into all sorts of denials, but its human costs keep mounting and the pattern of combining local clashes with international talks involves extremely high security risks (Polit.ru, May 7). The “neither here nor there” situation grants the parties to the conflict many opportunities and incentives for manipulating the ceasefire, but it also makes the pause in hostilities rather unnatural.

    The extraordinary pomp around the celebration of the V-Day made it possible for Putin to sustain the momentum of mobilization created by last year’s Crimean anschluss. Now that the fanfare and fireworks have fallen silent, this momentum may dissipate—and Putin, who has made himself into the central figure in militarized festivities, can ill afford such a slackening of “patriotic” fervor. The heavy emphasis on the decisive and glorious victory won by the “grandfathers” sits poorly with the evasive and ambivalent discourse on the on-going war with “brotherly” Ukraine. For the aggressively “patriotic” propaganda, it is hard to explain the point of demonstrating all the tanks and missiles, if there is no intention to use them for achieving another great victory for Russia. Reckoning with reality is not an option for Putin, but the stock of other useful “national projects” is quite exhausted.

    Entire article may be found at:


  4. Francis Frost says


    And one more thing….

    After WW II the U.S spent enormous sums of money to rebuild Europe and Japan. Former enemies became valued allies and successful democracies. The Truman plan saved Greece. The Soviets, on the other hand, enslaved all of eastern Europe. The communists, stole children. Perhaps, you have forgotten the Paidomazoma?

    Your readers might want to read the book “Eleni” by Nicholas Gage, which describes the murder of Mr. Gage’s mother who rescued the children of her village from the communist Paidomazoma.

    Even today, Mr Putin, and his neo-Soviet empire conspire to re-enslave his neighbors with covert invasions, occupations and ethnic cleansing.

    This is what you are celebrating?

    Sometimes, your ideas are simply incomprehensible.

    As the Ukrainians say: “Tuzhe weirdo”

    • George Michalopulos says

      The Soviets did indeed “enslave Eastern Europe.” We can thank FDR for that for not giving Patton the fuel he needed to overrun all of Germany. Entire German divisions were going out of their way to surrender to Patton because they knew that the Americans would not be brutal.

      But I got a newsflash for your Francis: the Soviet Union is on the ash-heap of history. The Russia that exists today is a mixed-economy, proudly Christian and open to all comers. Is it a tyranny? Not in comparison to what came before. Is it authoritarian? Yeah, so what? There is a robust press, religion is free, people speak without fear, the federal income tax is 13%, etc.

      Nor is the Russia of today hell-bent on conquering the world, much less Estonia. And a dirty little secret: Russia doesn’t want the Ukraine. It doesn’t need it; Russia has already achieved its objectives. It’s a bombed out, economic hellhole thanks to the Maidan junta. Nobody wants Ukraine at this point. And fortunately, John Kerry came to his senses after his come-to-Jesus meeting with Putin and warned Pereshenko to back off any further military action in the East.

  5. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    George, you’ve given us yet another tour de farce!
    2 out of every five Americans believe it is safe to eat genetically modified foods: 9 out of 19 scientists believe it.
    during WW!! we kept track of the Eastern Front in geogrphy class by using red string and pins to mark it on our maps in Geography class. We learned of such places as Dniepropetrovsk, Rostov, Belgorod, etc. We contributed to Bundles for Britain and Bundles for Russia. At election time we wore either FDR or “One World”Republican Wendell Willkie) butttons We kearned that police states obsessed about “papers” (IDs), dossiers and “HOMELANDS”.

    Yes, George C Scott realy chewed up the scenery in his purple-voiced part in the canonization of a general widely feared by many GIs as a chiken-s–t b–rd, exceeded in chicken-s—tednessonly by General ‘I’ll be r-i-i-ght back” Mac Arthur, who “faded away” like Sarah Bernhart or Ethyl Barrymore.

    The thrilling “integration” of the Sudetenland and Austria’s Anschluss, with its preparatory Plebiscite, did, indeed, provide the template for Israel’s “integration” of the West Bank and Putin’s “reunification” with (Tartar) Crimea.
    Putin’s pedophiliac history would have been revealed by an eye witness if the eye witness, Litvinenko, had not succumbed to plutonium poisoning.

    The Axis lost that war, and their ideology survived only (for a time) in the America First party and the like, until recently when Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney, etc. gave it a new lease on life….with an injection of bad testosterone from that imbecile, SentatorCotton.

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      I’m beginning to suspect that the retired OCA bishop in California is attempting satire on this blog.

      Surely he cannot be serious in his latest ad hominem rants against three U.S. Army heroes and, unlike himself, decorated combat veterans: General George Patton, General Douglas MacArthur, and Captain Tom Cotton (now U.S. Senator from Arkansas). What political philosopher Leo Strauss coined as the reductio ad Hitlerum is neither humorous nor an indication of wisdom. And yet the retired OCA bishop in California invokes the Third Reich in his gratuitous, cheap, and pathetic verbal assaults on (1) Israel concerning Palestine, (2) Putin concerning Crimea, and (3, 4, 5, 6) four Republican federal office-holders, including the most recent Vice-President of the United States and the bishop’s favorite political punching bag–Sen. Tom Cotton.

      As it happens, Sen. Cotton earned his A.B. degree from Harvard College before his military service and a J.D. degree from Harvard University Law School after his short but distinguished service, for which Captain Cotton received a Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge (C.I.B.), and the Ranger Tab. The mean-spirited epithet “imbecile” hardly describes such academic and military accomplishments.

      If, however, the retired OCA bishop in California thinks that such absurd Nazi comparisons have merit, then he truly requires our intercessory prayers.

      • Fr. Blues says

        Fr. Alexander, regarding Fitz’s comments, as we say in Texas “you can’t fix stupid; not even with duct tape”

  6. Francis Frost wrote: “Friends who were recently in Moscow report that cheese, chicken and pork are largely gone from the shelves in supermarkets. Beef has never been routinely available in Russia.” As a native of Moscow who keeps in touch with friends and relatives, I can assert that this is nothing but wishful thinking. Food became more expensive but it is certainly available.

  7. Michael James Kinsey says

    There shall be suffering, which is greatest suffering that shall eve be. This is Holy Scripture, not exactly quotelind, but is full context. The Russians know somewhat of what this may be like. We in the US, only lost soldiers and Merchant marines.Patton makes my stomach churn, glorifying warrior courage. GW Bush started the He-goat attack against the kings of Media/Persia. Saying, well,(smugly and contemptuously) it look like we finally got rid of the Vietnam syndrome. I think he ought to be hung, where they hung the Lincoln assignation conspiriters. Endless war only satisfys the love of death. Our leaders will prove worse than Lenin and Stalin when the bank runs start. These chimps cause all the suffering for everyone.

  8. Francis Frost says

    From Today’s New York times:

    MOSCOW — Members of Russia’s political opposition published a posthumous report by the politician Boris Y. Nemtsov on Tuesday that documented the deaths of 220 Russian soldiers in the fighting in southeastern Ukraine, even though the Kremlin denies being involved in the war there.

    The report, which goes into various clandestine aspects of the war in Ukraine, became particularly noteworthy after Mr. Nemtsov, an opponent of President Vladimir V. Putin, was assassinated in February.

    A committee completed the 64-page work, called “Putin. War: According to the Materials of Boris Nemtsov,” which draws on handwritten notes and documents found after the shooting of Mr. Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and opposition leader, outside the Kremlin walls.

    “The report gathered definitive evidence of the Kremlin’s military intervention in the conflict in Ukraine,” Ilya Yashin, a political ally of Mr. Nemtsov and an editor of the report, said at a presentation in Moscow.

    After the fatal shooting of Mr. Nemtsov in central Moscow, the police detained five ethnic Chechens as suspects. But the investigation stalled there, as is the case in almost every politically tinged killing in Russia, and quickly dropped out of the headlines.

    The core of Mr. Nemtsov’s work had been in ascertaining whether the families of Russian soldiers who apparently died in the fighting in Ukraine were being paid death benefits.

    The report claims that about 150 Russian soldiers died in eastern Ukraine in August and an additional 70 or so in January and February, as separatists assaulted the Ukrainian-held town of Debaltseve.

    … Mr. Nemtsov had been in touch with lawyers representing the families of 17 paratroopers from the city of Ivanovo who believed that their relatives had been killed in the battle of Debaltseve, but who had not received death benefits.

    The soldiers had been compelled to resign from the military before crossing the border, the report said, following a widely documented pattern of encouraging soldiers to fight in Ukraine as individual “volunteers.” However, the families of the dead paratroopers said the soldiers had been assured that not all ties would be severed with the Russian government: They were told that the Ministry of Defense would pay death or disability benefits commensurate with those due a soldier.

    In other cases, benefits were apparently paid as promised, the report found. Families received a death benefit of about two million rubles, or about $39,000 at the current exchange rate.

    Elsewhere, the report largely walked through widely published accounts of a Russian presence in Ukraine, sometimes using humor. It highlighted Mr. Putin’s shifting explanations for the appearance of Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms, the so-called Green Men, on the Crimean Peninsula.

    Mr. Putin called them “local self-defense forces” in March 2014. “Go to our stores, and you can buy any uniform,” he had said.

    By this year, with Russia’s military deployment in Crimea openly acknowledged, Mr. Putin had told a television interviewer that he ordered the Ministry of Defense “to deploy special forces of the main intelligence directorate, marines and paratroopers.”

    The Russian Ministry of Defense denies that Russian soldiers are deployed in the eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

    Mr. Yashin, Mr. Nemtsov’s political ally, took pains to point out that the report drew largely on public sources, other than the work on death benefits.

    “We cannot prove that Nemtsov was killed for preparing this report, and we cannot prove that he was not killed for this reason, as we are not investigators,” Mr. Yashin said. Nevertheless, he said, it was important to complete the pamphlet, so far as possible. “We knew this was dangerous work.”

  9. Christopher says