Blame politicians, not veterans for endless war

by | Nov 13, 2015 | Opinion

Serge Halytsky
Senior Reporter

During the first two weeks of November we remember our soldiers’ sacrifice in different conflicts starting from the First World War until now.

We reflect on the past conflicts, and honour those who died. We also honour those alive who put their lives on the line for their country.

Their sacrifice will be gracefully remembered. They are heroes and no one would be able to deny that.

War through history was and is a status quo of human affairs. It has been said that for one year of peace we have five years of war throughout history.

And it is not soldiers who start wars, but politicians, who can rarely be caught on courage or heroism. That is where the injustice comes.

Looking through our latest history we regretfully understand that our earlier wars are the cause for the latter ones.

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1970-1980s ultimately caused the rise of the Taliban and the United States’ Middle East policies through 1990s brought up Al Qaeda, and the last U.S. invasion of Iraq and the civil war in Syria gave birth to ISIS.

On the other hand, it is not only aggression that causes war. Sometimes it is also inaction.

The U.S., lead by George W. Bush, incorrectly justified the invasion of Iraq with the “war on terror” and then the U.S., under Barack Obama, failed to intervene in a humanitarian crisis in Syria that had huge civilian casualties, with an estimated 250,000 dead, and a massive refugee crisis.

Lack of military action against Russia over invading Ukraine emboldened Russian aggression and let it extend further to Syria, which may yet bring other challenges that we are not prepared to face.

Both the injustice and inaction eventually translated into destroyed cities, burned land, military and civilian casualties and other unwanted consequences.

The Second World War was intensified by hesitation. Hitler was rattling arms for a long time before the world community finally decided to stop him. Nazi expansion had consumed much of Europe before allied intervention.

The same mistake is repeated today and we still can’t comprehend the consequences of this inaction. Considering the speed of current developments, I don’t think we’re prepared for the consequences of inaction.

Our politicians seems to live in another universe, concentrating on things that would let them win the next elections, inventing issues that hardly exist and making the least effort to maintain peace and order in the world.

The United Nations seems defunct considering the last few decades. The UN Security Council wasn’t able to make any decisions as all of them were vetoed by its permanent member – the arrogant and aggressive state of Russia.

The Globe and Mail talked about the “unremembered.” We forget our soldiers’ sacrifices and let them decline with physical and especially mental injuries often to the point of suicide.

This is the most ungraceful step, an ultimate betrayal of all our values.

In the bigger picture it is our soldiers who correct our politicians’ mistakes, put things back in order, clean the mess others make and ultimately pay the price for politicians’ mistakes with their own lives.

They deserve the most honour and respect for their honest sacrifice in order to keep the rest of us safe and defend our country against all odds.

The Armed Forces is one of the first attributes of statehood. Any state has to have means to defend itself.

It is known that if it doesn’t want to take care of its own army, it will take care of someone else’s army. That’s the rule. And there are quite a few nations that learned that lesson on their own skin. I’d prefer Canada wouldn’t become one of them.

Si vis pacem – para bellum. This Roman proverb says: if one wants to live in peace, one should prepare for war.

That is why we have to honour and to take good care of our army and memory of those who died.