Re: Ernie Slump’s May 25 letter: “Take a good look at Canada’s military history, more white Anglo-Saxon men than any other race in Canada fought, bled and died for the rights and freedoms you and your generation enjoy and take for granted today.”
Yes, let’s do that Mr. Slump. In the past you have referred to the four wars of the 20th century Canada fought. Those would be the Boer War, the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War. Those wars have absolutely nothing to do with Canada’s political evolution or rights and freedoms.
The Boer War saw the British empire and its satraps (for our purposes, Canada) wage a despicable war against Boers (Dutch in origin) i.e. white (and black) Africans. Two independent states were subjugated and enslaved (just like Canada earlier) within the (Anglo) British empire. The Boer War witnessed the spectacle of the 20th century’s first concentration camps, where Boer women and those too young (infants and children), those too old and those too infirm to fight against the (British) empire troops, were detained. As the same sources of water were used for bathing, cleaning, cooking, drinking and as latrines, and as there was inadequate housing and food, many died from cholera, dysentery, typhus, exposure and malnutrition-related maladies.
The First World War saw thousands upon thousands of soldiers being mowed down by machine guns, blown apart by artillery, eradicated like bugs or vermin by poison gas or left to drown or die horribly from infected wounds while left out in a sea of mud somewhere in no-man’s-land. All that and a war where wealthy officers felt greater loyalty to the officers of their enemies than to the enlisted men who served under them.
The Korean War, led by the U.S., saw B-29s (the bomber that dropped atomic bombs on Japan) drop napalm on cities and hamlets in both North and South Korea. Where both sides accepted troop surrender, often bound their hands, then gunned them down in cold blood. Where both sides tortured, abused and tried “brainwashing” techniques on PoWs. The result? The war is not officially over between the two states, as although there is a ceasefire (armistice), there is no formal treaty that ends the war. The two Koreas’ border is the most heavily fortified, violent and deadly in the world.
The Second World War had nothing to do with fighting for the rights and freedoms of Canadians. C’mon, Nazi Germany couldn’t even pull off a cross-Channel invasion of Britain. Do you seriously believe they would have been able to cross the Atlantic and successfully invade Canada and the U.S.A? Do you seriously believe Imperial-fascist Japan would be able to successfully invade and occupy the U.S.A. — with Canada thrown in?
I can’t tell you what veterans of the Second World War fought for. Their reasons are probably as varied as the number of veterans who participated.
But I can tell you what they fought against: What spews out of that mouth of yours (and soils the pages of our local newspapers), Mr. Slump.
Let me put this to you the way they would in the military: Close your mouth, open your eyes and ears, read and listen to what more intelligent people than yourself have to say. Heaven forbid, you might just learn something (worthwhile, that is).
Paul Demetrick, Canadian Army Reserve (Retired)