4 more Canadians killed in A/Stan: PM Harper speaks of “heroism”
Does Prime Minister Harper hope to grow intolerance for any questioning of Canada’s role in the Afghanistan war, by repeatedly espousing death as heroism?
Are the Canadian media too compliant in reporting phrases such as, “the deaths of four young soldiers…reminds us once again of the sacrifices these people make, …to give us what we have today.”
This latter comment in a speech the P.M. made to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters in Mississauga, Ontario.
That Capt. Roy Laudenorio, battle group padre for 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment (Petawawa, ON) states, “the soil of this land will, hopefully, remember heroes who gave up their lives for a future not yet fully born,” is understandable, perhaps admirable. He’s there, he serves, he sees the flower of our youth, die.
To die in battle for one’s country is a trope so deeply embedded in our collective psyche, particularly in the long arm of the “Western Canon” – I sing of the arms and the man – that to question death as heroism seems still, long after Sartre and Vietnam, after Berrigan, and Baez, a heresy.
Since the meeting with President Obama earlier this year, have our elected leaders been fomenting a drive to silence opposition to the war in Afghanistan by linking acceptance of the “Mission” to patriotism, in a kind of Bush II Redux, just as the United States’ public sphere, now more than ever, questions such linkages?
Today’s moving NATO tribute/spectacle – thousands of troops lined the Kandahar Airfield to bid farewell to our newly dead – perhaps can be juxtaposed by this: the 1964 movie, The Americanization of Emily. The film heaps scorn on the premise that dying in war equals not only heroism, but that death justifies the sacrifice, and that we only exist in a free and stable society because of war.
James Garner, Julie Andrews, and Melvn Douglas (all patriots in WWII) star in a script by Paddy Chayefsky – his satire includes heart-breaking scenes depicting a sweet, good, middle-class British family, who for generations, have given their men-folk to God, Country and the Military and are sick of it.