Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Rememberance Day (Veteran's Day for you folks on the US side of the border) has taken on a different meaning for me recently. My father is a World War II veteran who was wounded in action and spent the final 11 months of the war in a prisoner of war camp. I believe he would like to forget that segment of his life, and I don't blame him. Most of the world is thankful that Hitler was shut down, but that doesn't obliterate the horrible suffering that he inflicted.

Today my thoughts are about the current conflict, both in Afghanistan and Iraq because I am both Canadian and American. I have mixed feelings because war cannot be simplified into the "good guys" and "bad guys," or even into right or wrong. War is a much more complex evil than that.

The foremost feeling is empathy for the folks that are in harm's way fighting. A firefighter who attended a course I taught was killed by a roadside bomb a few years ago. The brother of one of my captains leaves for Afghanistan in a few weeks. I listened to a Canadian soldier talk on the radio about the need to win this war and bring peace to that country. These folks sincerely want to eradicate the lunatics that thrive by destroying their own people. An oft forgotten fact is that the lunatics want to destroy us as well, which is why the war started in the first place. Let's remember our people over there. That's the good.

On the heels of that is empathy for the civilians that suffer the insanity of war. Kids and moms and dads and grandparents . . . innocent folks that just want to live a peaceful life, and who have as much interest in Jihad as going to the moon. They are unwillingly caught up in unthinkable circumstances. That's the bad.

The next feeling is frustration. The "bad guys" want freedom from Western occupation and influence, and freedom is a wonderful thing to want . . . but their idea of freedom is the unihibited ability to oppress anyone within reach, beginning with their own people. Even those supposedly on "our side" don't seem to get the concept of human rights, and maybe they never will. If the average Afghan or Iraqi citizen could be convinced that self-government and liberty are both possible and beneficial, rather than an invasion of corrupt westernized ideology, they would shut the "bad guys" down. But that message doesn't seem to get through. That's the frustrating paradox.

On the bright side, I think the jihadists read my October 28 blog entry. At least some of them did. Check out this article. It's a long read, but surprising to see that not all of them condone the murder of women and children. I would say something boastful about having such wide reaching and influencial opinions, but they've been working on this code for a couple years . . . so I probably can't claim a connection. And it's too early to brag anyway. When they stop intentionally bombing markets full of women and children, maybe I'll start to believe.

On the lighter side, I added a couple more cartoons to my other blog. You can check them out here. Relax, I don't entertain any fantasies of quitting my job to become the next Charles Schultz.

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