After reading Dave's post today, I have something to say to you.
The military played a critical role in some of the formative years of my early manhood. I thus harbour a significant degree of affection for the institution and the people within it that is at times inconsistant with some of my other views. So be it. I care about what happens to the Canadian Forces and the ranks within it. Especially the subalterns who do not carry the burden of high leadership, and may not fully grasp the contexts in which they find themselves serving.
So, the anger I feel towards those in leadership and their cheer-squad who decided the rules didn't matter because this was a new sort of war and the enemy doesn't wear uniforms and nor confront us in open battle, or doesn't like shaving, and so neglected to enforce or even worse argued against the only rule-set we have, is incalculable. I don't fucking care if you're a wingnut cheetoh muncher in a basement somewhere, or you have field marshal's baton and blade on your rank insignia, you had a duty to enforce the rules of war to which this country subscribes, or walk away from your job or keyboard and shut the fuck up with your views. It doesn't matter if you felt the enemy were "terrorists and scumbags" undeserving of fair treatment. That sort of thing, we used to call a 'personal problem'. You were and are duty-bound and legally-bound to ensure that we behaved as professionally in battle as our myth suggests. In failing to enforce the Geneva Conventions, you have failed the rank and file, the public, and Canada as a whole.
Why? Because the Geneva Conventions do not exist so we're nice the the enemy. They are not about the goddamned enemy. They are not 'soft' or 'weak' vestiges of some liberal ideal. They're not about the enemy. They exist to protect us. They are not about the enemy. They give legitimacy to our claims of unfair treatment when our soldiers are captured, and legitimacy to our cause when say we are better than those we fight. They protect us because they ensure that we live by our own standards. Contrary to the sadistic views of some, this is not some of unmanly deficiency on our part; this is holding ourselves to the standard our own free and peaceful society demands. And they protect the rank and file in our armed forces from the deep and disturbing personal crises the emerged in veterans of that other American conflict where the rules went out the door.
So when the dust settles and the Canadian Forces has a dark internal existential crisis like no other, and subsequent governments slash budgets by vast proportions, and maybe even a handful of our own citizens and soldiers find themselves running from the law like the drunken murdering sadists and madmen we hunted in the Balkans, do not blame the Opposition, or the 'the left', or the socialists. Instead, look in the goddamn fucking mirror. You cheered torture; you praised throwing out the rules when swarthy people became the national enemy . You elected politicians who felt the same, and you failed to take a stand when you saw us failing ourselves by ignoring th rules that serve to protect the members of the armed forces you claim to worship so bloody much. You said fuck-you to the fight for the very set of encoded righteousness and decency that thousands of cenotaphs and memorials across the country inscribed with "Lest we forget" are built to recall.
You forgot alright. You forgot the ONE lesson of two world wars, tens of millions of innocent dead, the standard behind the establishment of traditions of rights and democracy, and the core of most of the world's religions. If you cannot recall this lesson, get the fuck off our planet because you have no place in the world we're trying to build. We have no use for your moral cowardice here.