Voices, Passive and Active
Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops.
Originally he wrote the trops have been withdrawn, as if by some distant, anonymous agency instead of by an identifiable man making all-but impossible decisions. Having ventured this bold revision, and secure now in his painful acceptance of full personal accountability, he is able to proceed unevasively with My decision:
My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available.
Then, after the conventional "credit," distributed equally to "the troops, the air, and the navy," Eisenhower's noble acceptance of total personal responsibility:
If any blame or fault attaches to this attempt, it is mine alone.
As Mailer says, you use the word shit so you can use the word noble, and you refuse to ignore the stupidity and barbarism and ignobility and poltroonery and filth of the real war so that it is mine alone can flash out, a bright signal in a dark time.
-- final paragraphs of Paul Fussell's Wartime (1989).