Incoming!

We decided last week that we would appreciate all comments/feedback, right?

OK, we discussed it. OK, I wrote about it and you might have read it.

In that vein, here’s some incoming feedback . . .

feedback :
the transmission of evaluative or corrective information
about an action, event, or process
to the original or controlling source
also : the information so transmitted
– Merriam Webster

. . . for Canada and Canadians to appreciate.

On the other hand, to be as fair to the man [PM Trudeau] as possible, Canadian defence procurement is one issue where he would have trouble making it worse.  Inviting him to try would be asking for trouble.  But Canada’s record here is so bad over so many decades that it would be unfair to say we lack influence in the world because Trudeau hasn’t bought us fighter planes, combat or supply ships or even pistols.

Yes, we lack influence in the world because we do not have these things.  And no, he has not bought them.  But nor did his predecessors.  And nobody cared.  In “Who Killed the Canadian Military?” Jack Granatstein said it was every Prime Minister since Louis St. Laurent.  And none, because ultimately it was us, the citizens, who did not object as fewer and fewer troops got older and older gear, and who indeed would have howled had anyone tried to take money out of our social programs to fund some silly thing like defence.

As so often, it gets worse, and we all get to shoulder the blame. Because the problem isn’t just unwillingness to spend and inability to procure. Behind it lies the conviction that we don’t really need armed forces because we’re so special. One Prime Minister after another has declared that we possess a unique and mighty influence in the world because we’re so Canadian.

The specifics vary. Perhaps we’re a moral superpower. Perhaps we’re an energy superpower. Perhaps we’re the bridge between East and West. Perhaps the world needs more Canada. Perhaps the world cares a lot about Canada. Perhaps the world could find Canada on a map.

– John Robson, “Canada has no world influence and it’s our own fault”, Loonie Politics

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6 Responses to Incoming!

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    Maybe we (Canadians, as a whole) just don’t want to admit that in any military role, we can only play a supporting role. We are not Joe Louis or Mohammed Ali; we’re the guy in the corner with the water bucket. And maybe we don’t want to admit that fill the same role the same politically. And economically. So we pretend we don’t need the military — cutting of our nose to spite our face, in the old saying.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Maybe. I wonder whether we could have more impact if we picked a problem or three at home to focus on for five years (more or less the duration of our WWII effort) and a country or three abroad to support for a generation. Instead it seems to me that we disperse and dilute our collective efforts on a hundred things, achieving little in all of them. Maybe we need a vision/mission statement.

  2. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – as a retired lieutenant-colonel, there are so many things I could say, but I think the problem can be boiled down to just saying, “Paying lip service is so much cheaper than actually doing something!”

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – 🙁 A good summary. Cheaper and easier. I read somewhere that being right was easy; doing right was hard, the real world being a complex and uncooperative place. So it’s more comfortable (for all of us) to opine than to act.

  3. Whatever the rationalizations for warfare have been, surely they have been rendered irrelevant by the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The superpowers have the means of annihilating humankind. What is the point of Canada’s posturing with an “improved” military to “support” other militarists? The Catholic authority, the Pope, has finally gotten around to declaring warfare immoral, a rather belated response to the pacifist stance of Jesus. To do nothing militarily is not necessarily an ostrich response but a sane and responsible position for a relatively small country to maintain in a polarized, militaristic world.

    My view of militarism has been sharpened by two experiences: visiting the Battlefield of Colloden in Scotland that memorializes the slaughter of most of that nation’s manhood above the age of 12 and viewing a website of the US military that showed a map with attached demographics for every nation upon earth that deemed all male populations from 18 to 70 (or thereabout) as potential military assets — counted and tallied. To think of every single male on the planet as a potential wielder of weapons or target, to my way of thinking, is an affront to the Creator. Everything I am as a woman, wife, bearer of children, creative artist and writer, behavioral scientist, and believer in the teachings of Jesus is opposed to that mentality. Like Jesus, I would rather lay down my life than to participate in any way in the killing. And you don’t have to be a Christian to see the sense of that stance; Gandhi demonstrated the value of non-violence and many have followed his way. In fact, only that kind of willingness to sacrifice without causing harm is the way to finding creative solutions in any sphere of life. Perhaps more Canadians realize that than might be imagined.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – I respect your position and share it to some extent. I sure don’t think that we should view all adult males as potential fighters or targets. I do think there is a legitimate role for the military that doesn’t approach what we generally think of as militaristic – in the sense of glorifying or seeking conflict. As for non-violence, there are folks who think that Gandhi’s pacifist methods worked (and relatively quickly) because of his opponents: British train engineers, for example, would not run over people lying on the tracks. Others might have. But whether we choose to be ready to defend ourselves with force or choose not to, I think we should choose. To have an armed forces and chronically underfund isn’t a principled position or even a useful compromise between two world views. It strikes me as defence theatre.

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