|Irak war comments|
By Mike Lushington
History is replete with instances of innuendoes, half-truths, and downright lies which, repeated often enough, take on lives of their own and, in so doing, actually become truths for many of those who spout them. History also demonstrates that the first great causality of a war is the truth. We are seeing a disturbing example of each of these principles as the current tragedy of Iraq unfolds.
How often have you heard someone lament, over the past two weeks, that "the Americans would always be there for us" as they decry the official Canadian position of non-participation in this particular American adventure? "The Americans would always be there for us - have always been there for us": it is both an appeal to, and an attack on, our good Canadian sense of fair-play and proper appreciation.
It is also a lie.
Oh, yes, history tells us that Americans have rushed to our borders on several occasions in the past. Ironically, though, they were not coming to help us, (unless "liberating" us from our British oppressors was the motivation), but to conquer us. They send an expeditionary force to try to capture Montreal during the last years of the English-French wars in North America,. Again in the immediate aftermath of their own War of Independence in the late 1780's, yet again during the War of 1812, and on one last occasion during the so-called Fenian Uprisings of the 1830's. All of these were justified as exemplifications of the American belief in the concept of "Manifest Destiny" their interpretation of God's plan for the future of the whole North American continent. Since the 1830's, their strategy has shifted to the concept of an economic take-over -one that, unfortunately, seems to be working.
Where were the Americans in 1914, when Canadian soldiers and sailors were fighting and dyeing by the thousands in Europe? They were at home and they stayed there until the Germans made the incredibly stupid blunder of trying to inveigle Mexico to attack them and recapture Texas. That was in 1917, nearly three years after the war started and little more than one year before it was over.
They also stayed home in 1939, 1940 and 1941, while Europe was devastated, Britain pounded into rubble, millions of Jews exterminated - and thousands of Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen fought and died. Again, they stayed there until they were attacked themselves, this time at Pearl Harbour in December of 1941, once again sitting out the first three years. History does not support the notion that they "have always been there for us." History does, unfortunately, demonstrate that American policy has always been in its own self-interest - first, foremost, and always. Canada, on the other hand, has always been ready to support legal and moral obligations. Over the past fifty years, that has meant in accordance with United Nations decisions, not those of a country that has come to assume that its needs and wishes are for the good of the entire world, whether that world realizes it or not.
"We are family - and family members support one another?" Ask PEI potato farmers how well they have been treated over the past few years by big brother. Ask Canadian soft-wood lumber producers, wheat farmers, or steel manufacturers about their impression of family relations.
And consider this as a final thought: am I really obliged to drive the get-away car for a bank robber just because he is my brother? If he is a murderer or rapist, am I expected to defend and hide him from prosecution? Being members of a family does not mean that everyone has to condone the sins or crimes of one of them.