Canada’s military… is Sweden next???

We have fairly suddenly become a nation of Hawks. War is good and it is necessary. Wave the flag mightily. Buy the best of the best for the troops.

Support the troops, dammit!

Our identity as brokers of peace and the keepers of peace is perhaps forever gone.

Behold the new Canadian militarism. It’s everywhere.

Hardly a week goes by without the government gushing about our troops, or bowing to a DND wish. It has become politically incorrect, practically unpatriotic, to question the military. Our government’s Afghanistan propaganda makes it sound like it was mission accomplished. And everyone is expected to be gung-ho on the war in Libya.

The government is moving ahead on the purchase of the zillion-dollar F-35 super jets which yet another study has just criticized, saying they’re unsuitable unless we’re trying to build a Pentagon-styled war machine. We now take a harder line in the Middle East than virtually any other country. We’re seldom heard on the disarmament front. We’ve lost our traditional honest broker standing at the United Nations.

The first thing on the itinerary of Prince William when he arrived was a visit to the tomb of the unknown soldier. Our smallish foreign aid output is increasingly tied to military adventures – war projects as opposed to long-term development. The military is for the first time starting to take part in our citizenship ceremonies. Our foreign policy is now, arguably for the first time, to the right of the United States.

For a country that has long prided itself on a reputation as a peacemaker, it’s a remarkable turn. Hawks of the western world? Who would have thunk it?

For some time now, the Harper government has appealed to Canadians’ sense of loyalty and patriotism in order to advance its own policies. Keep ’em waving the flag, they say, and we can pretty much say or do whatever we want.

Lawrence Martin – in always excellent way – discusses how the military has been elevated to some type of super-institution in and of itself. Says Martin:

In the broader context, Harper’s glorification of the armed services appears to fit his goal of stirring a new Canadian patriotism. Canada Day was an example as crowds of unprecedented size, displaying hero worship for non-heroes, turned out to cheer on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. As Harper beamed, Prince William spoke in superlatives about the work of the Canadian forces in Afghanistan.

Appeal to the base instincts and the insane purchase of those lemon fighter jets will be overlooked. We have to protect the troops! Are you against the troops having the best equipment? They say. Or like the bumper stickers say (and it ain’t a good policy unless it can be described on a bumper sticker)

If you’re not behind the troops, feel free to stand in front of them…

The Harperites love these bumper stickers. And dyed-in-wool conservatives love the military and Harper is at their lead.

Understand that despite the fact I am a pacifist, I acknowledge the need for the military in some circumstances in today’s world. And indeed, many of those who serve in the military deserve the respect of Canadians – especially those who perished in that ridiculous quagmire called Afghanistan. But I am very much against the glorification of the military. For example, having a military presence at citizenship ceremonies is in my mind completely ludicrous! The subtle support of our troops that has been the tradition of we Canucks has been something I have always been proud of.

Not so subtle anymore.

Of course, this begs the question: what will Harper do to keep the military front and centre in people’s minds now that the combat mission is over? Let’s see… those damned Swedes have been a bit cheeky lately… c’mon, my military friends… whaddya think???

 

 

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One Comment to “Canada’s military… is Sweden next???”

  1. thwap says:

    I find harper’s hypocritical militarism absolutely nauseating.

    (I say it’s hypocritical, because just like the chicken-hawks in the USA, harper can’t wait to send the CF on any damn-fool mission, but he’s chillingly unwilling to pay for any long-term medical care they need should they become injured or maimed as a result of his gutless swaggering.)

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