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Outside View: D-Day 2001

By RICH GALEN, Special to United Press International   |   Oct. 13, 2001 at 5:33 PM
ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 13 (UPI) -- This is what I think news coverage of the period leading up to D-Day might have been like if cable-all-news stations had existed in 1944. This is satire. None of this really happened.

GALEN: Good Morning. It is June 4, 1944. Welcome to The Mullings Cable Network's continuing coverage of: "Operation Overlord: What's Taking So Long?" I'm Rich Galen.

Let's go first to MCN's White House reporter, Greg Smith for the latest.

SMITH: Thank you, Rich. Hill Leaders have told MCN news that an invasion of Europe is, in their words, "very, very imminent." These sources, who have been privy to briefings by the Roosevelt War Cabinet, tell us that "the number of troops, the number of ships and the sheer size of war material shipments" clearly point to an invasion, possibly within the next 24 hours. Rich?

GALEN: Thank you, Greg. Now to the War Department and our reporter there, Jim Smith. Jim? What are your sources there saying about a possible attack point?

SMITH: Well, Rich, advisers to General Marshall are hinting at a strike at Pas de Calais, perhaps as early as tomorrow. However we believe this might well be disinformation and the real point of attack will be at Normandy. We have learned that Ranger and Airborne elements have been, in effect, rehearsing for the kind of terrain they are likely to encounter on the Normandy beaches and that Airborne units might be dropped in as early as tonight.

GALEN: So, Winston Churchill's famous phrase: "We shall fight on the beaches ..." now must be considered as a clearly coded message to the French Resistance.

For more on invasion plans, let's switch to London and our MCN reporter Eric Smith. Eric what are you hearing about where these troops may be going and when they might be going there?

SMITH: Rich, as you can see, the weather here is not good. Military meteorologists have advised SHAEF Command to stand down for at least the next 24 hours. If we can zoom in on this map behind me, you can clearly see the combination of time and tides is most favorable for only the next 48 hours for a landing in France.

Senior advisers to General Eisenhower are aware of, and very concerned with, the reports of growing impatience among many Americans with the amount of time it has taken to mount this invasion.

GALEN: Indeed, many here are asking why it has taken 2 1/2 years from the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 to June 1944 to reach this point. Eric, if they can't go within that window, what are Eisenhower's options?

SMITH: No good ones, Rich. Intelligence officers here in Britain are worried that if this operation has to be delayed for as long as two weeks, word will almost certainly leak to the German high command allowing them to move their defensive forces from their current location at Pas de Calais to behind the

Atlantic Wall above Normandy.

GALEN: That would be unfortunate. Let's turn now to our MCN military analyst retired Gen. Theodore "Teddy" Smith, the famous "Senior Senor of Santiago Bay." General, you helped design the invasion of Cuba in 1898 - just 43 years ago - during the Spanish-American war. What do you make of this?

SMITH: Well, Rich, I'll use this map to illustrate. Assuming our troops will try to cross these beaches here ... and ... here. And assault these cliffs... here, then they will have to be supported by a naval bombardment from ... here.

So, we expect the Hun is flying air reconnaissance and will bring to bear their air assets to disrupt any pre-invasion shelling as soon as Allied ships are detected in this area... here.

GALEN: What about tanks, General - the Panzer Divisions of General Rommel?

SMITH: Rommel is almost certainly moving his Panzer Divisions behind the Atlantic Wall ... here ... for use in a counter-attack if and when the Allied forces breach those lines.

GALEN: Now, to Christianne Smith on a satellite phone in the French countryside. Christianne, what can you tell us?

SMITH: Rich, there is a growing sense of apprehension here about 40 miles away from what we assume will be the point of attack on the beaches of Normandy either tomorrow or the next day. Mayor Jacque Capituler is with me. Mayor, tell our viewers how you feel about the coming invasion.

CAPITULER: We don't want to be liberated. We don't need to be liberated. The Germans have established a perfectly workable government, here. The Americans should go liberate someone else, somewhere else.

GALEN: The thorny issue of civilian casualties and collateral damage brought onto our living room screens from right there in France. Thank you Christianne. To ... where? Ok, to Edward Smith with the forces of General George Patton in Britain. Edward.

SMITH: Rich, I am here in Kent, England opposite the Pas de Calais just cross the English Channel which, if the weather were better, you could see behind me. MCN can now confirm that the activity here in Kent, which has been named "Operation Fortitude" is, for want of a better phrase -- a complete fake.

GALEN: Fake? Explain, please, for our viewers.

SMITH: MCN can now report that Patton has constructed, literally, a phony army here. The tanks are cardboard. The planes are rubber. The radio traffic is faked. Reports of troop movements are completely fabricated. This operation, clearly, is designed to fool the Germans in Europe and Americans back home into falsely believing that the attack - which we now think will come tomorrow if the weather lets up - will be aimed at Pas de Calais instead of Normandy.

GALEN: Excellent reporting, Edward. Joining me, now, in the studio is MCN's Senior Ethics Adviser Emma Smith. Emma? What does it mean to the American way of life when their very own government engages in this kind of deliberately false and misleading information?

SMITH: The academic community has been warning for years that the American government would too easily sacrifice the truth on the altar of some alleged short-term military so-called advantage. If the people can't trust the word of their government, many of us are asking, then what we are fighting for in the first place?

GALEN: Thank you, Emma Smith. And good luck with your exciting new book: "The Soviet Experience; Success, Solidarity, and Stalin."

We have received a few e-mails from viewers expressing discomfort with Gen. Theodore Smith's use of a word to describe our German adversaries which, in some minds, is derogatory. MCN apologizes for the use of the "H" word on our air.

So, there you have it. The Allied Expeditionary Forces will, in fact, invade Europe not at Pas de Calais as the American public had been lead to believe, but at Normandy. And, that attack will take place either tomorrow or the next day, depending upon the weather.

This is Rich Galen, MCN News.

Now back to Imus.

--

Rich Galen is a frequent guest on cable news programs and is the founder and writer of Mullings.com, a e-mail news column from which this commentary is adapted.

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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