Thursday, April 27, 2006

Fly the Flag

Again, my real job has interfered with my blogging responsibilities.

I was visiting our neighbours to the south and had an opportunity to spend a couple of days with a former US Marine drill instructor. The gentleman in question had served his country with honour and dignity before leaving to begin his own business. To this day, whenever he can, he visits Paris Island for the graduation parade and makes sure that no one in the bar pays for drinks while he is there. The reason? He says that without the training, discipline and responsibility that he received from the Corps, he would never have made it so well in the business world.

We had the opportunity to talk about some of the things going on here regarding the flying of the flag at half mast for our fallen soldiers and of media filming the returning bodies at Trenton. He suggested that the best way to honour our soldiers was not in the lowering of the flag or filming of dead bodies. The best way to honour our soldiers is to make sure they are the best trained and best equipped men and women on the battlefield. The best way to honour the dead is to make sure that they were participating in a worthwhile mission.

If you believe, as I do, that the mission in Afghanistan is worthwhile; that the elimination of the Taliban and their supporters is a moral obligation on the part of our country; that we, as Canadians, who are blessed with a healthy democracy with rights and freedoms, have a duty to help other countries experience what we take for granted, then our dead are honoured by our continued support and they will not have died in vein.

I think the military has experienced enough disrespect from past governments as their budgets have been slashed, their military needs have been politicized and ignored, and their working conditions (in peacetime) are a joke.

If we conservatives want to honour our fighting men and women, then don't worry about the raising and lowering of flags, instead we should provide funding for training, provide funding for better wages and living conditions, and make sure our men and women in combat situations have the best equipment and armour available. If not, then don't send them into harm's way.


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