Two pieces of news this past week on the warfront: The Prime Minister went to France tocelebrate the butchery at Vimy Ridge, and eightmore Canadian soldiers had their lives needlesslywasted supporting the Americans in theAfghanistan theatre of their war for globaldomination.

Some people call the battle at Vimy the birth ofCanada as a nation. Mr. Harper called it “acoming of age.” To celebrate such a bloodyengagement in a terrible war that Canada shouldhave never got involved in as the birth of thenation is obscene, particularly for a countrythat has made a point of being known as a nationthat believes in peace.

Bloody battles like Vimyin wars like the First World War that had nojustification for being fought save greed andpride, are measures of failure, not something tobe proud of. And, if Vimy represents a coming ofage, our foolish foray into Afghanistan to pleasethe Americans shows that aged or not, we haven’tlearned much yet.

What is really obscene in the celebration ofbattles and commemorations for the dead is thelie that these things have noble meaning, that itis the price of freedom and democracy. Withlimited exceptions that is pure BS. With fewexceptions not many soldiers have died fightingfor freedom and democracy except in theirdelusion. On the other hand many protesters andrevolutionaries have.

It is sad that Canada lostover 60,000 soldiers on the killingfields of the First World War. They should beremembered, not as champions of freedom, but asvictims of a system that used them and abusedthem. And, when we remember those who were sowantonly sacrificed, we should revile and spitupon the memory of those politicians who sentthem there.

The patriotic card is popular with politicians,and from an early age, society conditions mostof us to respond well to it. And what is betterfor playing on patriotic sympathies than historicbattles inflated to mythical, even religious,proportions, except maybe a few current deathsnow and then in some mission like Afghanistan?

In the past week the Prime Minister got both: photo ops at Vimy and a few more casualtiesoutside of Kandahar. Premier Gordon Campbelleven jumped on the Vimy bandwagon proclaimingApril 9 as Vimy Ridge Day in BC.

Dead soldiers are bad news for the soldiers,their friends and their families. But they canbe good news for a government as long as peoplebelieve they are dying for a just cause andthe resulting patriotic anger moves in thegovernment’s favour.

And deaths add to anotherjustification, one almost as phony as thefighting for freedom one; the one that says wecan’t quit now, it would betray those who havefallen. It would dishonour their memory, it wouldBS, BS and more BS. In other words, it doesn’tmatter if we are right or wrong, if we arewinning or losing, the more who die, the more wehave to stick with it. By such idiocy, the livesof soldiers are foolishly wasted.

To date 53 Canadians have been sacrificed inAfghanistan, their lives squandered by the peoplewho sent them and keep them there. One wondershow many it will take before the patriotism wearsoff and Canadians demand an end to our role asspear carriers for the Americans, as IED fodder.Perhaps the Prime Minister owes his soldiers andthe country his thoughts on exactly how manydeaths the Afghan mission is worth. It’s to be hopednot as many as the more than 11,000 who died invain at Vimy Ridge.

The American war for global domination is introuble. The situation in Iraq gets worse everyweek and the U.S. military is stretched to thebreaking point. The recruiting age limit hasbeen raised, recruit standards have been lowered,and people who thought they had completedtheir service obligation are being kept activeand headed back to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, too, is no prize with insurgents incontrol of large parts of the country, a corruptand despised puppet government, and Pakistan nextdoor playing both sides of the street.Oh, and did we mention a growing drug trade?

There is no good reason for Canada to be involvedin Afghanistan or in support of the Americanwar for world domination. No reason if westand for democracy and human rights as militaryoccupation of the country and the ongoing civilwar only delay their development. Plenty ofreason though if we want Canadian industries toprofit from war expenditures.

All of the myth making, commemorations and deadsoldiers are no good reason to be there, despitewhat Mr. Harper and others would have us believe.Instead it is time to really come of age and seethe past for what it was and the present for whatit is.

Involvement in the First World War andAfghanistan, like in most wars, were and aremistakes.