Every November 11th we honour the war dead by remembering their courage, their suffering, and the risking of their lives for something of greater value. Some might say sacrifice but that word is often used erroneously.
Why would a young man want to carry a rifle, be shipped overseas to face great hardship and possible death? Why did 65,000 Canadians and 1,200 Newfoundlanders die fighting in WWI? Why did over 40,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders die fighting in WWII?
Today we like to say they fought and died for our freedom. If that is so then I would have to say that they died in vain. Canada before the first two great wars and even the Korean War was in many respects a much freer country than the Canada of today.
Many of us define Canada today in terms a 20 year old Canadian of 1917 or a Canadian of 1939 would not understand and if they did understand it I think they probably would be shocked. Today you’ll hear the CBC sycophants say Canada is a country defined by its multiculturalism, its social programs, it universal health care, official bilingualism, even perhaps such trivial things like the CBC.
We have to remember that before the Second World War none of our current social programs existed.
Unemployment Insurance was introduced in 1940, Old Age Security – 1952, Canada Pension Plan – 1966, OHIP – 1972, Childcare Benefit – 2007. It stands to reason that none of these existed before the First World War. In fact, before the First World War we didn’t even have an income tax (or the CBC). So that begs the question; why did these soldiers fight if it wasn’t for what many Canadians now define as Canadian?
If it was for freedom then it was for the right to live in a country where the government did NOT take over half of what you earn. If it was for freedom then it was for the right to be able to speak out against religious and ideological beliefs that threaten world peace (something that will put you before a Kangaroo Court called a Human Rights Tribunal today). If they fought for freedom it was for the right to choose any doctor you wish without waiting in a queue (something only our pets can take for granted today). If they died for freedom then it was the freedom to work and to save for your retirement without having to rely on government handouts in your old age. If they fought for freedom then it was for the right to live in a safe community where criminals were dealt with quickly and appropriately. If our veterans fought for freedom then they lost the war.
That is, if they fought for freedom.
Before the two world wars Canada’s foreign policies were decided by England. It seemed only natural at the time that when England chose to go to war that Canada only followed like a dutiful child. Most of the veterans fought because of a sense of patriotism. Not necessarily the best thing to fight for since the other side had millions of patriots too.
We should remember also that there was great opposition to the war from the French speaking Canadians. And don’t forget the fact that we had to conscript 125,000 Canadians to fight overseas, 25,000 of these being sent to the front. So when we remember the dead of the Great War we must never forget we sent thousands to die who did not want to fight for England.
We must also remember that Canadians entered the 2nd World War unaware of the atrocities that Hitler was about to perform on millions of Jews. In fact, Canada had its own anti-Semites in government. And don’t forget our Japanese internment camps. And of course we must remember that we still needed to enslave over 12,000 conscripted to fight.
I would like to think that the tens of thousands who died in Europe for Canada did so, not as a sacrifice, but because they knew they might lose their lives for something of greater value; a free and peaceful country. I would like to think that. The fact is we really don’t know why so many died since we obviously haven’t learned much of a lesson from the wars and seem to continue down the path away from the freedom we think they fought for.
If we consider why Canadians are fighting in Afghanistan I think we have to look at things very much differently. We have a highly educated volunteer Armed Forces. The way it should be. For the most part today’s soldiers are career professionals and are fighting not out of blind patriotism but out of a clear understanding of which country is right and which country is wrong. Afghanistan was, when we first invaded, explicitly aiding in the training of terrorists and harboring Osama bin Laden. That country under the Taliban had no right to exist and we were quite right to overthrow them. It was definitely in our best interests to do so. What Canada is still doing there is a topic for another day.
Not many know of a link between the two World Wars and the H1N1 virus.
In WWI over 15 million died from the war. While at the same time between 50 and 100 million died around the world from the Spanish Flu which was an H1N1 strain of influenza A. In fact 1 million of Germany’s soldiers had come down with the flu and had to retreat back to Germany effectively ending the war. Hindenburg, not wanting to admit that his soldiers were unfit for soldiering blamed his loss on the Jews, socialist and Bolsheviks. He created what was called at the time the “Stab in the Back Legend” claiming that the unpatriotic sabotage of the Jews led to the loss of the war. This legend was widely believed in Germany and picked up by Adolph Hitler. The rest, as they say, is history.
(Originally broadcast on Just Right November 12th 2009 (Show #128). To download the show visit http://www.justrightmedia.org)