War Remains a Permanent Feature of Human Existence

Remembrance Day 2022

War Remains a Permanent Feature of Human Existence

As published in the Hill Times: November 16, 2022

In addition to protecting Canada’s land and maritime areas the Canadian Forces (CF) are active around the world. This includes NATO operations, marine patrols and the provision of military training.

The fact that Canada is not officially at war does not lessen the danger to CF personnel, especially UN peacekeepers in active conflict zones and contested areas.

Since 1948, “Approximately 130 Canadian Armed Forces members have died during peace support operations and many more have suffered physical and psychological wounds that can last a lifetime.” Of course, this number does not include the toll of Canada’s 12 years in Afghanistan: 158 military fatalities, seven civilian deaths and over 2000 CF members wounded in body and soul.

Every November, Canadians honor those who have served in the military; especially the dead and wounded. Unfortunately, war remains a permanent feature of human existence mainly serving the interests of those wielding economic power.

Poppies remind me that wars are fought by working people who are often discarded when their courage is spent. While every combat veteran is a hero, the same cannot be said for leaders who send them to war and those who profit from military strife.

Under the warrior’s code, soldiers have little choice regarding even the most dubious missions. Rather than protest or refuse orders, the majority accept the risk of injury, death and the ugliness of killing. In the horror of battle; soldiers willingly die for their peers, as do their enemies.

If our war dead could speak, I doubt if they would reference nobility and honor from their eternal perspective.