Sunday, April 30, 2006

A little appreciation goes a long, long way

Babble on.

Much as we don't set policy or launch operations just to get noticed, it's kind of nice when someone does:

On April 22, 2006 four Canadian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb. Respects and heartfelt sadness go to the families of those heroes who stand alongside the U.S. in the Long War half a world away. While we focus on the war in Iraq, the fighting continues in Afghanistan where side-by-side the U.S. and one of its most loyal allies, Canada, engage the re-emergence of the Taliban.

Canada is like a close uncle who constantly argues, badgers, and complains about what you are doing, but when help is truly needed, you can't keep him away: he's right there alongside you. We have a unique relationship with Canada. We have different political positions on many issues, but our unique friendship has weathered world wars, global crises, and the ever-so-often neighborhood disagreement.

If a little shot of 'attaboy' would do you some good, do yourself a favour and read the rest of it.

Thanks to Mark at The Torch for the tip.

Babble off.

Friday, April 28, 2006

From the "I'm no expert" file

Babble on.

What I know about the softwood lumber dispute would fit on the back of a cocktail napkin. Buy me a drink and I'll show you what I mean. But having said that, I have an idea about what's going on that I'd like to run past you, Gentle Reader, in the hope that you might pat me patiently on the head and explain to me in short, simple words why I'm completely out to lunch. Deal?

Okay, here goes. If Canada is on the side of the angels in this little dispute, if we're kicking Yankee tail in court and in dispute-resolution panels and anywhere else this thing is being fought, then why is this compromise a good deal for Canada?

I wonder if it's a good deal because we know we're subsidizing our forestry industry with low stumpage fees, we know we're winning the NAFTA arguments on legal loopholes, and we know the Americans know it too? I wonder if we know the loophole is going to get closed one way or another, and we figure we might as well do it on the best terms we can? I wonder if the federal and affected provincial governments are in a bit of a spot from a communications standpoint because every politician of every stripe over the years has told Canadians we're trading fairly when we're actually pulling a bit of a fast one, and because the current crop of politicians now have to convince the electorate that this is a better deal than we really have any business demanding without saying any such thing out loud since that admission would bury the deal south of the border?

And if that's the case, I wonder if Canadians will realize it and be pissed off about having the wool pulled over their eyes for so long, or if we won't pick up on the signals and will instead be pissed off at our various governments - with the Conservatives in Ottawa being first in line - for caving to the bullying Yanks?

I'm just floating what is probably a very unoriginal and misinformed hypothesis, and hoping someone with a better grip on the topic than me can let me know if I'm close or if I'm in left field.

Babble off.

Monday, April 24, 2006

How high to fly the flag?

Babble on.

So our government has decided to revert to the tradition of lowering the Canadian flag to half-mast only once each year on November 11th in remembrance of our veterans. Reading the letters of outrage over at the CBC makes me wonder where everyone was prior to the Martin government's decision to break from the original tradition in the first place.

You see, we've had plenty of soldiers killed in overseas missions over the years. Is the life of Cpl Daniel Gunther any less valuable than that of Cpl Paul Davis?

Frequent readers (a whole curling team worth of you these days) will testify that I'm all for recognizing the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform, especially those who make the ultimate sacrifice. But in this case, while I can see the argument for continuing with the relatively new policy of lowering the flag for each individual death, I'm in agreement with the current government's decision to reverse the policy.

Was the flag lowered on June 6th, 1944, when 340 Canadians lost their lives in the invasion of Normandy? Why not, do you think? For my part, I believe it was because Canadians at that time understood that focusing on the sacrifice instead of the just and noble mission that required it was inappropriate. I think they understood that the time for public remembrance would come, but that that time was not now as the battle raged.

Is our mission in Afghanistan any less noble, any less just?

We should remember the fallen, yes. We should honour them and cherish their memory. We can do that best by focusing on the reason for their sacrifice rather than just the fact of it, by telling their stories, by supporting their efforts and respecting their needs, and by lowering a flag on Remembrance Day.

Babble off.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Yet another season swirls around the bowl...

Babble on.

It's decades like the last four that make me wish I wasn't a Leafs fan.

Babble off.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Red Fridays

Babble on.

I just received a second-hand note from someone in uniform, which I'm reprinting below. I'm not normally inclined to displays like this - in fact, I'm downright skeptical about any "pass it on" e-mails I receive - but every rule has an exception.

Red Fridays

Just keeping you "in the loop" so you'll know what's going on in case this takes off.

RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Canadians who support our troops used to be called the "silent majority". We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions.

Many Canadians, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of Canadians supporting our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded Canadian who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make Canada on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before Canada is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things better for you?" is...We need your support and your prayers. Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear some thing red every Friday.

Hokey? Yeah, it is. But I'll be wearing red tomorrow, and I hope you will too.

Babble off.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Why we're in Afghanistan, and who should answer the question

Babble on.

Why are we in Afghanistan? An excellent question, posed by a soldier I met today. He knows his own reasons, and believes we should know ours for sending him there.

Babble off.