I have been conducting some research recently, leading up to our Remembrance Day services across the country and around the world. For example, did you know that over 37 million people died in World War I, some 80 million died in World War II (which represented 2.5% of the world’s population at the time), 1.2 million died in the Korean conflict and another 500,000 people have died in Iraq since hostilities broke out there in 2003, including 157 Canadians.
The costs in economic terms are equally staggering and, in most cases, governments are highly reluctant to place a price tag on our human conflicts. Safe to say, we are talking trillions of dollars of “investment” in the war machine.
The rush to war is always publicly proclaimed as a defense of our values, our freedoms and our country.
These are noble causes indeed, except they are often used as “buzzwords” to hide the true reasons we often go to war, reasons that are much more about power, greed, ideology and corruption. And who benefits the most when conflicts erupt around the globe? None other than the companies which develop, build and procure the latest weapons technology. Armsmakaing is the most profitable business in the world. The oil and gas industry pales in comparison. And who pays the most? Why, ordinary men and women who button up in uniforms and deploy around the world at the behest of their governments.
As a Canadian who has never lived anywhere near a combat zone, I have great respect for the men and women of our armed forces. I stand in awe of their willingness to engage in horrific and mind destroying conflicts at the direction of their commanding officers and their government. However, the question I always pose is this:
When we ask them to die on our behalf, why we don’t give much of a damn for them when they come back to us broken, beat up and shattered?
I find it tragically ironic that at this time of year, I am seeing advertisments in newspapers asking me to contribute food to my local Veterans Food Bank.
How tragically ironic is that? A soldier who can no longer work because of an ongoing disability caused by war is forced to beg for food to live. How utterly hypocritical on the part of our government! On the one hand, spending millions of dollars remembering war conflicts and conducting parades, while the living casualties of war are forced to beggar themselves. I weep.
Jesus, the founder of our faith, lived a ministry of compassion. Our armed forces veterans would appreciate that kind of compassion from their own government. So while I encourage you to take food to your local legion for war veterans, I also encourage you to petition the government on their behalf to change this appalling situation. That is the best and most respectful thing we can do for our veterans as we mark Remembrance Day.
Blessings and peace,