To the editor:
War is a lie.
Why do we mourn the dead at Vimy Ridge? To strengthen our resolve to never let such slaughter happen again? Or to reassure ourselves that war was unavoidable, our cause was just, their sacrifice produced freedom and that we must be ready to fight the next war with a 20 billion plus military budget and shiny new ships and fighter jets?
One letter home from a soldier at the front line in WWI read: “They’ll never be able to make us do this again.” How is it possible then that since the ‘war to end all wars’ we have had almost continual warfare, with increasing slaughter of civilians, and the creation of millions of trauma victims and refugees?
Part of the answer is the millions of tax dollars (we should know how many millions but that figure is not public) are spent by the Department of National Defence on public relations and recruitment. Through their close ties to media the DND sponsors an incredible number of events, commemorations, ship visits, visits to schools, car shows, job fairs, Snowbird air shows, sports events, advertisements on Xbox video games and announcements at Stanley Cup playoffs, all designed to generate sympathy for the military.
After all that’s happened in Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, etc. it’s appalling to hear our Prime Minister and media immediately cheering for an illegal air strike in Syria. When the lies are exposed faulty intelligence can be blamed and more sacrifice will be in order.
Or we could take all that money (trillions worldwide) and put it into a massive program for renewable energy, clean water, education, and housing, and sustainable agriculture in rich countries and poor countries alike. We could do all the good things that military spending prevents us from doing. One choice has been tried for a hundred years and we see the results. The other choice has never been seriously tried. It requires a different mind set but provides hope for the future. Which shall it be?
Mark Haley, Kelowna Peace Group