Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Some things I don't get

Reading through a couple of on-line Canadian newspapers this morning I came across three anti-war columns, and one that simply fails to recognize that this country is at war, not just in Afghanistan (which is where we are concentrating our limited military resources), but globally. I actually believe that a majority of Canadians do not understand that significant and single point, or they don't want to acknowledge it. I will deal with the latter one first.

1. Gee, we're not really at war

The Toronto Star published a story about the single survivor of the Easter Sunday bomb blast that took out an armoured vehicle in Kandahar and snuffed out the lives of 6 Canadian soldiers. It was a nice human interest story until I got to the part where they reported on the soldier's mother talking to him by telephone. The mother's name and city of residency appeared in the story. Where she lives is not a big community, and I suspect it would not be difficult to trace the lady to her home.

Why would this matter?

Her son is fighting Muslims in a Muslim state.

The latest estimates of the number of Muslims in Canada, as of 2006, is 783,700. This by the way, is a growth of 35% in the five years since the 2001 census. An Environics Research Group public opinion poll, taken and published in February of this year, on Muslim satisfaction with Canadian residency, indicated that about 14% of our Muslim population identifies with the aims and goals of Islamic extremists -- you know -- the guys we are fighting in Afghanistan.

Fourteen percent of 783,700 means that over 100,000 of our Muslim residence probably seriously object to our army being in Afghanistan. Since we don't police the Muslim leaders in the mosques (religious freedom) we don't know what "inspirational" messages some easily-influenced young Muslims may be receiving.

A word to the 'should be' wise: Don't publish personal information about the families of soldiers serving overseas who are still active in the war zone.

2. Hey, there's a big remembrance ceremony at Vimy Ridge; time to crank up the "all war is evil" rhetoric and rain on the parade; we wouldn't be fulfilling our Canadian duty or living up to our heritage unless we diminish a proud or a poignant moment in our history.

Can we ever have enough people in this country like Michael D. Wallace, a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, who wrote in the Toronto Star the following:

The Harper government and its amen chorus in the media seem intent on perpetuating the mythology of the Battle of Vimy Ridge (more properly, the battle for Arras) as the "birth of the Canadian nation."
The presence of the Queen and the last-minute concession allowing opposition members to attend the ceremonies may remove the partisan sting, but rest assured Prime Minister Stephen Harper will use the occasion to resurrect the myth that our country was born on the points of Canadian bayonets at Vimy.
And, sure as God made little green apples, there will be a segue somewhere in the speech linking Vimy to the "heroism" of our forces in Afghanistan, implying that opposition to "the mission" somehow betrays the patriotism of our national creation myth.

In fact, Prime Minister Harper did not link Vimy Ridge to Afghanistan. That honour fell to the Queen. There is nothing sinister, inappropriate or wrong with pointing out that the present generation of Canadian soldiers has been called upon to support our allies in fighting in foreign lands.

Wallace is simply an anti-war ranter -- go to this link and read the rest of it to see what I mean. There is nothing wrong with an anti-war viewpoint as long as you understand that your viewpoint will always be safe and protected because others are prepared to take the risk and make the sacrifice to preserve your right to voice your opinions. You ought not to be so churlish and piss on their special day.

One final word. Historians can always go back and desconstruct a war with the benefit of hindsight. And while it is true that WW1 was not a conflict in which Canadian freedom was directly threatened, it was a war in which we felt morally obligated to support our allies. Sometimes that is the only and sufficient reason you go to war.

If you want to see what a difference a war can make to the image of a country, follow this link and read Ezra Levant's column.

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