This was posted on social media by a friend of mine who knows far too well ~ he lost a son, a fine, brave Canadian soldier, in battle, in Afghanistan, just a few years ago ~ that we, all Canadians, need to think before we send our sons and daughters into harm’s way again.
We need to study ~ to think about to learn about to understand ~ strategy and economics and history and, above all war.
Too many Canadians, following in a long, long Western tradition (it worried Thucydides almost 2,500 years ago) want to think about nice things, about “sunny ways,” if I may be overly partisan. Too many Canadians want to think only about peace and prosperity … and why not? who doesn’t? They, peace and prosperity, are, after all, amongst those things I suggest our national objectives should include. But in order to have peace and prosperity, in order to keep peace and prosperity we must be prepared to fight and die.
But when old men, like me, ask middle aged men, like my friend out in Winnipeg, to send young men, like his son, or mine, who is also a member of the Canadian Forces, to fight and die for us then we have to know that we are doing the right thing and that we have done things right, too. That’s why I am banging on about strategy and defence policy. That’s why I am so concerned about national leadership. That’s why I am worried that our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and our Global Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and our new Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan are the wrong people to lead Canada in these dangerous times. I don’t believe that they have studied, thought about enough strategy or history or economics or ~ and this includes Minister Sajjan ~ war. I thing that they are too much concerned with a wish for “sunny ways” and too little aware of the costs of getting them. I think most of the Liberal Party is still dominated by people who are institutionally anti-war, anti-military, even I daresay anti-Western, in fact.
The great Chinese strategist Sun Tzu said, also about 2,500 years ago:
“There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.”
We might, others have, loosely interpret this as meaning:
The true objective of war is peace.
But neither peace nor prosperity come with securing them and defending them, over and over again. There is no reasonable hope that we can, as our fathers and grandfathers hoped in 1945, “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” We have tried, again and again, for millennia, and we failed, again and again. We don’t fail because we don’t try hard enough; we fail because we are human. What we need not fail at doing is to ensure that our sons and daughters who will have to fight for our peace and prosperity and democracy and rights can do so with adequate preparations thanks to serving in a well organized, well managed military force.
I want us all to think about that; that’s why I write this blog.
I want our government to do something about that; and for that reason I think we need to elect, in 2019, a Conservative government.