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"We are at war," declared French President François Hollande after the bloody terrorist attacks in Paris. "And we'll be merciless." French politicians and media joined in the chorus, singing "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem.
No, in reality, the war has hit home, big time.
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"To understand the nature of the present war -- for in spite of the regrouping which occurs every few years, it is always the same war -- one must realize in the first place that it is impossible for it to be decisive." -- 1984, by George Orwell
There were 8,920,000 military veterans in the United States as of last June, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Sometime last Sunday or Monday, hours before Veterans Day began, that number dropped by one, when Tomas Young died at home in Seattle, with his wife by his side. He was one of many soldiers who were sent to Iraq and were grievously injured there.
The public may know more about Tomas Young than about most veterans, thanks to the remarkable documentary Body of War, directed and produced by legendary talk-show host Phil Donahue and filmmaker Ellen Spiro. His journey, his struggle and now his death follow an arc along the tragic U.S. wars and occupations in this post-9/11 world.
This four-video series of the Rally to Stop Harper's War, organized by Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, focuses on specific talks.
Sid Lacombe discusses the Ottawa shootings, increased repression of dissent and the "Australia Model."
Carolyn Egan discusses the dangers of Islamophobia ,linking the war to how Islamophobia played itself out in Ausma Malik's campaign for school board trustee.
Rajean, President of Ryerson Student Union, and James Campbell, a teacher gave their views on why educators should oppose the war.
And finally, Ali Mallah talked of the United States' collusion with the dictators they sought to overthrow.
In her epic, Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Guns of August, historian Barbara Tuchman detailed how the First World War began in 1914, and how the belligerence, vanity and poor policies of powerful leaders led millions to gory deaths in that four-year conflagration. Before people realized world wars had to be numbered, the First World War was called "The Great War" or "The War to End All Wars," which it wasn't. It was the first modern war with massive, mechanized slaughter on land, sea and in the air. We can look at that war in retrospect, now 100 years after it started, as if through a distant mirror. The reflection, where we are today, is grim from within the greatest war-making nation in human history, the United States.
In this skill-testing exercise, see if you can spot the one who doesn't belong:
- Patrick Brazeau
- Mike Duffy
- Douglas Roche
- Pamela Wallin
Long-time Ottawa observers will have figured out that Douglas Roche is the one least likely to appear in an RCMP line-up. Certainly he has few of the behavioural traits we've come to associate with Conservative senators (even though he was one from 1998 to 2004).