"We Love Peace Just Don't Make Us Fight For It"
Margaret Wente discusses Canadian attitudes towards the military in The Globe & Mail, Dec. 4:
Romeo Dallaire is a national hero and a riveting speaker. I saw him in action recently, and he left the audience in tears. With raw passion, he described the awful butchery in Rwanda and how powerless he was to stop it. Every day for months, he begged and pleaded with the UN for reinforcements. With even a few thousand troops, he believes, he could have saved hundreds of thousands of people. But help never came. Instead of sending more troops, the United Nations decided to withdraw them. The United States was utterly indifferent, too. And so, as the world looked the other way, Rwanda became the greatest killing field since Cambodia.
The audience of journalists and business people gave the general a standing ovation. Which is highly ironic, since few of them, I suspect, would lift a finger to make Canada a nation that could help him out....
My military friends (okay, friend) sometimes blame the media for the public's general indifference to the decline of the armed forces. Journalists can't tell a Sea King from an AK-47. None of them were ever in the forces, and none of their friends were either. But in fact, we're pretty much a mirror of our generation of Canadians. We've spent our entire lives aggressively rejecting everything the military represents hierarchy, conflict, stoicism, subordination of self to state. Patriotism makes us squirm. Guns make us shudder. Anyone in uniform makes us automatically suspicious. Our kids learn more about non-violence in school than they learn about the Second World War....
I would like us to be able to live up to our cherished image of ourselves as the world's good guys. The trouble is that being good guys requires something more than lip service and good intentions. Just ask Romeo Dallaire.
Were it not for Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush had Carter been re-elected, had Mondale and Dukakis and Gore been elected she could be talking about the USA.
Lane Core Jr. CIW P Sat. 12/06/03 08:50:46 AM
Categorized as International.