In a recent post on what has been termed the “flag flap” I said that I really wasn’t sure how I stood. Well, I’m not sure if I actually lied then, if my thoughts evolved through the week, or if I just hadn’t thought things through, but in reading other posts and participating as a commentator on a couple of conversations (here and here) I think that it has become obvious that I have in fact chosen a side.
First, I would like to state up front that the debate, at least that which I’ve seen, has for the most part maintained the civil tone that it deserves. There are a few notable exceptions but I will not point them out – they deserve to get no further attention and I’m not going to provide them with hits. Don’t get me wrong – I love animated discussion and I understand that it can get a little heated sometimes, but in some cases the tone of even the original posts were bathed in invective and ad hominem attacks. Armchair chickenhawk cowards with axes to grind.
I think that in originally considering the subject, I underestimated the importance of the ceremony of lowering the flag; the honour that it represents and the respect that it invokes. It is an act of love and respect for the families of the fallen and a token of appreciation for those that still serve. In short it is the very least we can do. As Rick Mercer points out in his blog, if we are going to have to lower the flag when a party apparatchik like Michael Fortier dies, then why on earth not for someone that actually deserves it?
Prime Minister Harper, lower the damned flags and publicly admit that you made a mistake. There are those out there that might mistake you for human if you did.
As for the media at the airport in Trenton – give it a rest. That absolutely is a time for the families to begin the real grieving; Harper has this one right. That’s right, you read it right – I said “Harper has it right”. Me! This is not a move to hide the dead. If the media suddenly becomes barred from showing the services in Kandahar, then I’ll get worried, but not now. This is for the families.
That he has made these two decisions so close together cannot be coincidence, but I’m not sure of the motivation behind them yet. Is he simply being an absolute control freak as it appears in some of his other actions? Perhaps. Or does he actually want to hide the real cost of the war from Canadians? Also possible, but only time will tell.
I would like to say here that if we had the chance to vote on our participation in Afghanistan we would be more likely to openly accept the deaths as part of the cost, because we would bear some of the responsibility for being involved. As it is now, we are dragged into a war by them and our brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters get to pay the price. It’s too easy an argument to make, and one that I’m sure he’s paying attention to.
And one that I’m sure he would do anything to avoid.