You can support troops without supporting war

Wars of the 20th century were not fought in defence of democratic principles

It is interesting that we should be discussing the Boer War. For it is in the Boer War that lies the seed of why we have fought all wars since.

Why would the British empire and its satraps poke its nose where it didn’t belong? In a word: greed. The Cape of Africa is rich in gold, diamonds and other valuable minerals. Why let the Dutch (Boers) have it when the British empire could have it by taking it by force? Ever heard of Cecil Rhodes and the Jameson Raid?

An author writes in the June 22 letters section: “Britain did not invade southern Africa, the troops there were at the invitation of the Chief of Becuanaland to the Queen to make it a protectorate…” Wrong. Bechuanaland had been annexed by the British empire way back in 1885. How the British and other colonial powers operated was through divide and conquer, then divide and rule. They take over a territory, elevate an ethnic or religious minority into positions of power. This breeds resentment among the ethnic or religious majority. Thus the little puppets the colonial powers propped up became dependent upon them and increased the length the colonial powers stayed. The Boer War was not fought in defence of democratic principles.

This is why so much of the world today is still so screwed up: Creating conflict by pitting ethnic and religious groups against each other so the oil, mining and arms industries of the Western countries can earn a profit. This is what happened in the former U.S.S.R., Yugoslavia, Rwanda in 1994, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and is happening in Nigeria, Syria and (potentially) Iran today (as it did in 1953 — look it up.)

Look at the Treaty of Versailles. Witness the fact that the Allies continued the naval blockade of Germany after the Nov. 11, 1918 Armistice until the June 28, 1919 signing of the Versailles Treaty, where an estimated quarter of a million Germans died from malnutrition and related illnesses. Observe how under League of Nations “mandates”, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France and Belgium quickly converted German and Ottoman colonies in Africa, the Mideast and the Pacific into colonies of their own. The First World War was not fought in defence of democratic principles.

As Mr. Slump points out, Canada’s rights and freedoms have their origin in Magna Carta and English common law. Both of which existed centuries and decades before the Second World War. Any rights and freedoms that Canadians lost during the Second World War were not taken away by the Nazi German government but by the Canadian government. Same goes for France, Luxemburg, Belgium and Holland. All we did was liberate them from Nazi occupation, period. Just like Canada, they had rights and freedoms and democratic governments to begin with.

When the Nazi occupying forces were gone, these countries simply restored their pre-existing rights, freedoms and democratic governments. The Second World War was not fought in defence of democratic principles.

The author concludes: “It is unfortunate that a person claiming military service makes unfounded remarks that denigrate the Canadian Forces’ reputation.”

Nothing of the sort. The author provides no references for his erroneous and unsubstantiated claims (like his wild assumption that Iran has nuclear armed missiles in an earlier letter, for example.) Although he may not like what I wrote, he fails to produce any referenced facts that contradict my claims.

I do not denigrate the Canadian Forces’ reputation. What I do denigrate is war and the governments that send and keep our soldiers in such unnecessary and criminal wars.

Supporting war and supporting the troops are not the same. Do not confuse them.

“Western forces alone can never defeat the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan… We’re not going to win this war just by staying… Quite frankly, we are not going to ever defeat the insurgency.” — Stephen Harper, CNN interview March 1, 2009. (Notice the date. What year is it now? Where are the Canadian troops?)

“Let us tell those who fought in that war that we will never again ask young men to fight and possibly die in a war our government is afraid to let them win.” — Ronald Reagan.

Paul Demetrick

 

Penticton