What Did They Really Fight For?
November 1st, 2020 | JH
I was in Grenfell, Saskatchewan recently and stopped by a small park with a war memorial in the centre of it. It always astounds me when I see a cenotaph displaying the names of the men who died in combat during wartime. World War I usually has the most names listed, followed in lessening order by World War 2 and then Korea. Name after name after name of men listed on the plaque from a town of no more than a thousand people… probably less at that time.
Small town plaques like this exist in communities across Canada. 61,000 men died in World War I at a time when Canada was horribly underpopulated with only eight million people. The survivors who returned were shell-shocked and under appreciated at the time. Canada lost a generation of leaders and patriots. That conflict saw Canada as nothing more than a pawn in an old geo-political game of territorial pissing. It had nothing to do with us at all. Dutifully holding up our British Empire bona fides was not at all worth the sacrifice of losing 61,000 young men to that contest.
We lost so much talent and manpower and leadership and youthful vitality that the country became hollowed out and stagnant as a result. We never really recovered.
Today we wear poppies and read the Flanders Fields poem and maybe attend a ceremony, or bear witness to a moment of silence. I’ve always felt the notion of all this was to honour the men who died in the service of their country, but as I’ve gotten older, I don’t believe this anymore. Our participation in World War I was a pointless and disgraceful waste. It was a moral blight and a pathetic display of subservient cowardice by our elected leaders at the time. They should be retroactively tried as traitors to the Canadian people. Not only did they needlessly send naïve young men to their deaths, but they set Canada on a course of national mediocrity and listlessness.
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When I mention that I don’t think we should have participated in World War I, people usually assume I’m some sort of anti-war hippy. Either that or they pull out the old line about brave Canadian soldiers fighting for our freedom. I used to do the same.
It’s only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve been able to ask obvious questions like, “Why do you think Kaiser Wilhelm II threatened the freedom of Canada?” People don’t have an answer because they haven’t thought about it very deeply. Or they pivot to World War II and talk about Hitler trying to take over the world. This unsolicited history lesson is of a calibre derived from a Captain America comic-book or an Indiana Jones movie.
It's impossible to rewrite history with what if scenarios, but it is highly likely that World War I & II would have turned out exactly the same, with or without Canadian participation. Our involvement allowed Canada to temporarily punch above its weight and toil under the delusion that it would have a seat at the big table of world power. As the decades passed, that delusion became unceremoniously revealed as Canadians retreated into an infantile progressivism inside an anti-American and thoroughly unserious nationalism.
Today we have an ailing air force with CF-18s older than disco and Snowbird crashes are fairly routine. We have a navy that can’t sail filled with sinking submarines and unbuilt ships. We have War on Terror veterans who are “asking for more than we can give”. We have a military brass more concerned with woke politics than national defense. We have a continually decreasing national defense budget that has left some people open to the Costa Rica approach of shuttering the military altogether.
Modern day progressive Canada is approaching Weimar levels of degenerate decline. Imagine a World War I veteran knowing that their sacrifice led Canada to today’s modernity consisting of: safe injection sites, crony capitalism, mass abortion and the replacement level immigration to correct it, homosexual parades, catch and release policing, unsustainable debt, human rights tribunals and their kangaroo courts, cancel culture, mask wearing enforcements, critical race theory, trans-gender story time, legalized marijuana, ubiquitous porn, confiscatory taxation, a Constitution with no property rights, #ShutDownCanada protests, John A. MacDonald statue removal, RCMP incompetence, federal government corruption, race-based judiciary, carbon tax, Covid-19 hysteria, climate alarm and a vacuous Prime Minister elected on a famous last name, masked and kneeling before a woke mob in order to display his shame over his systemically racist nation...a nation that voted for all of the above.
Did those guys fighting for Canada really think they were fighting for what we’ve become?
"We have a military brass more concerned with woke politics than national defense."
“Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the "war to end wars." This was the "war to make the world safe for democracy." No one told them that dollars and cents were the real reason. No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with United State patents. They were just told it was to be a "glorious adventure".
Thus, having stuffed patriotism down their throats, it was decided to make them help pay for the war, too. So, we gave them the large salary of $30 a month!
All that they had to do for this munificent sum was to leave their dear ones behind, give up their jobs, lie in swampy trenches, eat canned willy (when they could get it) and kill and kill and kill...and be killed”
― Smedley D. Butler, War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier
This Remembrance Day, take a moment to remember that young men in this country, from coast-to-coast, were sent to fight and die for geopolitical interests that were not our own. Remember not only their sacrifices and misplaced altruism, but also the loss that Canada has been permanently afflicted with since the end of the World Wars.
Think about an alternative Canada that could have existed had we looked after our own interests and developed our own country. Imagine if we had accepted the boat load of Jews sailing on the MS St. Louis and used some of our military build up money to instead provide them with refuge. Imagine if our war effort was channeled into business and industry, selling supplies and goods to the British and Americans instead of squandering blood and resources on somebody else’s fight. Imagine a Canada that took all those young men who were sent off to die, and instead put their vigor and vitality to work… maybe opening up the north and developing the resources that are stuck in the ground to this day.
The men who died, could’ve launched some new industries that could have flourished during the 1950s when building great things was possible. Maybe the Avro Arrow could have been produced on a mass scale. Maybe Canada could have been at the forefront of computer innovation or pharmaceutical research. All that manpower and energy and planning and money could have planted seeds that today would be rewarding us with opportunity and purpose.
Flashforward to now, imagine a modern Canada with an extra million people… descendants of some of our bravest men, leading the way forward in a richer, saner, more ambitious nation. A nation that didn’t answer the call of foreign bloodshed, but instead put the talents and skills and elbow grease of a generation to work in the interests of a brighter future right here at home.
Wearing a poppy is a tribute to the death of what could have been a great nation. View those little red flowers not with honour, but with shame. Shame that we allowed ourselves to get played by the great powers and the unchained egos of manipulative leaders. Shame at our own naivete and earnest virtue. Shame at participating in the self-loathing and desecration and the horror of war.
This Remembrance Day, let us remember to never again allow ourselves to be exploited and disgraced under the pretense of another useless war.
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