Friday, November 12, 2010

Lest We Forgot

Just in time for rememberance day, prime minister Harper announced that Canadian troops would stay in Afghanistan (in a "non-combat" role - wink, wink - there is no non-combat role in Afghanistan) until at least 2014. In effect, that means forever. Then he added the customary phrase of the day that we remember those Canadian who died to preserve our freedom.

Actually, the first people of this land who died trying to save their freedom were the native peoples who fell to French invaders. Then both the French and the natives lost to British invaders.

But 1776 and 1815, the people then living in Canada won two in a row - beating Americans who invaded to take our freedom.

The next war we fought (skipping lightly over the crushing of the western native peoples and Metis) was against the Boer farmers in South Africa. But I don't think they were threatening to invade us or take away our freedom. Similarly, it's hardly likely the Germans had the will or capacity to invade us in 1914. We were fighting a British war. That's why the Americans stayed out of it for so long. We were ini only because we didn't have the freedom to stay out. Britain declared war for us.

Even in the Second World War, it was way beyond the ability of Germans, Italians or Japanese to invade us and take away our freedom. That's why it took a Pearl Harbour to draw the Americans into the war.

Historically, then, the only countries that have ever invaded us, or even threatened to, were Britain and the US. Strangely, I didn't hear a word of appreciation of people this country who died in those invasions.

Oh, we did get one bonus out of it all. After World War One, we got the right to decide for ourselves, through people and parliament, who and when and where and if we would go to war. Harper has taken us back to the bad old colonial days of ignoring parliament and people.

He has decided to extend the war. Did he ask you first?

On a closely related subject, he promised ALL support for Israel in case of some conflict. That's a promise to got to war for Israel. Well,okay. But isn't that the sort of thing parliament is supposed to decide? And isn't that right one of the things we supposedly remember and are grateful for on November 11?

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