In her Saturday column, A tale of two wars, Ms. Wente looks back nostalgically at WWII, "the last good war". While Ms. Wente clearly means that WWII was a "good" war because of the nature of the enemy, her romantic view of the war and clear desire for Canada to be more militaristic are disturbing. In her own words:
"War is deeply out of favour now. We prefer peacekeeping. The warrior values – discipline, sacrifice, cohesion, strength, authority – don't figure much in mainstream culture (except in sports), and are even ridiculed. Modern wars operate somewhere on the periphery of our lives, and they divide us more than they unite. They certainly don't inspire much patriotism, another old-fashioned virtue that has become faintly suspect."
War should be out of favour. We should only engage in a war as a matter of last resort and even then reluctantly. Even when a war is necessary it should never be described as "good" in any way. Wars diminish all who are involved.
I've been watching the American series "The War" and some of the coverage of Canadian veterans today. Almost universally they declare that war is stupid and that it should be avoided at all costs. They talk about the terrible things that they had to do in the war. Many of these things have stayed with them for their entire lives.
My father fought in Korea, a war which he thought was necessary, and given the history of Korea since then, he and those who fought with him were right. Nevertheless the brutality of the war left him scarred for the rest of his life. The extent of the damage didn't emerge until late in his life, but when it did emerge, it was gut wrenching to see the terrible toll it took on his spirit. We should celebrate rather than lament our evolution from warriors to peacemakers, as Ms. Wente seems to do.
We should always look for another path to change and peace rather than through war. I believe that this is the lesson that those who have served would want us to learn.