Monday, August 29, 2011

I don't think he was complimenting you

So I've just spent a few minutes browsing the somewhat mausoleum museum-like "Restore the Honour" website run by the nostalgia junkies credited with getting the 'Royal' stuck back in names of the Canadian Forces elemental commands.* They've posted quotes from notable figures thanking them for their successful efforts, oddly including this one:


Congratulations, Mr. Smith, on your success at returning us to colonial status.

- Jack Granatstein, distinguished military historian, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

Then again, maybe these folks are completely OK with re-subordinating us to the Empire and keeping Canada British. Why else would they think Granatstein is being complimentary? That, and/or they were too dazzled by the Royal "R" in his FRSC post-nominal to notice what he was saying.

The other strange thing about that website is if you scroll down the page, you'll see ghostly photos of long-deceased fighter pilots with the numbers of destroyed enemy aircraft credited to them. As young men their job was to sit terrified in a tiny metal space high above the Earth and try not to burn, fall, or bleed to death in it while they did their best to cause that fate for other young men. An adult recognises there's nothing glorious about that. 

I find romanticizing the dead and their deeds for what is at heart a political agenda rooted in nostalgia for an era - that most members of today's armed forces were not alive for - to be a reprehensible sort of propaganda. 




*As far as I can tell, all that's really happened is that Land Force Command, Maritime Command, and Air Command have been administratively renamed. The much more independent formations which constituted the original RCN, RCAF, and Army have not been reformed. 

11 comments:

Doug DeLaMatter said...

For God's sake Man! Without renaming the Forces and redesigning all related stationery & business cards, what did you expect the "Economic Action Plan" sign-makers to live on. All the signs have been printed!!

Steve said...

Remember the Boer war, Canada first in creating the concentration camp.

harebell said...

They describe the loss of Royal as a terrible injustice. Harper loyalists to a man. Bugger the fact that Harper screwed modern Vets over all that matters is that they managed to change appearances.

Boris said...

I don't think I wouldn't have much of a problem with renaming the elemental commands if they hadn't turned it into such a nakedly partisan political exercise. Even the CF/DND press releases were referring to as Conservative gov't thing.

Further, as you point out, it's a shallow stunt as the practical matters of defence and veterans' care are left lacking. It's shameful that so many can be bought off with a few pieces of silver (-gelatin prints).

Kim said...

Lol Boris, I agree. Wholeheartedly.

900ft Jesus said...

"As young men their job was to sit terrified in a tiny metal space high above the Earth and try not to burn, fall, or bleed to death in it while they did their best to cause that fate for other young men."

wow. best description of fighter pilots' job ever. Lots of heart, Boris.

Edstock said...

"As young men their job was to sit terrified in a tiny metal space high above the Earth and try not to burn, fall, or bleed to death in it while they did their best to cause that fate for other young men."

Uh, "Buzz" Beurling would disagree.

Sitting "terrified" doesn't get it done. You want to die, you get "terrified"; you want to win, learn deflection shooting like Buzz (the best shot with a fighter that ever lived) as he destroyed 109's over Malta.

Buzz would have thought the "Royal" was a piece of crap, BTW. There are several biographies on him as well as a Wiki. An amazing smartass Canuck. Stevie would not have liked him, and Buzz probably would have felt the same.

Boris said...

Ed, you can still perform when you're terrified. Terrified doesn't mean frozen or panicked. It's why they train to the point of instinct. There's also the rare characters who prove the exception.

My point relates to invoking the dead as if they'd naturally support the present day political views of the living.


wv = unded (!)

Edstock said...

"Terrified doesn't mean frozen or panicked" — I guess the word means differently to you than it means to me, because IMHO, "terrified" is right next to frozen panic.

Reminds me of my first full-contact black-belt match (ouch); I don't get "terrified" anymore. Sometimes, it's the difference between "I think I can" and "I know I can".

Boris said...

Well Ed, I should think a controlled and controllable environment like a martial arts competition differs a little from burning to death in a plummeting cockpit in a sky full of airplanes or trying like mad to break contact or bail out with a leg or arm severed by cannon fire. Nor would it compare to being captured by Nazi troops and nearly lynched. Or by Imperial Japanese forces to be tortured before katana execution.

Rev.Paperboy said...

Courage and bravery don't mean the absence of fear. They mean the ability to act despite fear.