A serious question now, could use some honest answers.

Canada
October 27, 2011 11:57am CST
This is geared mainly towards Canadians, but anyone else can respond, I think it has relevance for pretty much everyone here. I just read an outrageous comment made by someone about soldiers going to war. He said that the Highway of Heroes should be renamed the Highway of Shame. He asks why people go to war. Is it because of "Noble pursuits" as he calls them? He then went on to say this, and it's got me outraged: "Maybe it's time to keep them within our own borders and stop giving dead soldiers more recognition than all the innocent dead civilians that have all been killed...for their own good of course. Violence needs to be seen for what it is and the lies and propaganda for exactly what they are as well. There is no glory and honour in killing or even supporting those that make that choice.The ones that die are not doing so to protect Canadians.The indoctrination is not in our best interests as a society. It is very profitable for a few though as long as they have public support...deserved or not" I told him that it was named Highway of Heroes to pay tribute to the men and women who lost their lives. So the question is, why do people go to war? is it because of Noble Pursuits? I'd like to know this myself.
3 people like this
8 responses
• Canada
27 Oct 11
You said this is geared mainly towards Canadians. I'm a Canadian, but the comment I make is not made as a Canadian, nor do I in any way feel that I speak for Canadians. I think this is a human issue, and everyone who comments, whether Canadian or not, will be doing so as a human, regardless of country. (I hope such is the case.) You said you were outraged at the comment about the soldiers. Why the outrage? What's wrong in the comment? I'm only going by what you've said about it. I haven't read the original comment. Without agreeing or disagreeing with the comment, I still don't see the reason for the outrage. It is an opinion. Such opinions are necessary to open up these topics to discussion so that society can reach better principles. As to my opinion, based strictly as I said on what you've said, I think the writer is right. "Why do people go to war?" I'll echo the writer's question. And truly "Violence needs to be seen for what it is and the lies and propaganda for exactly what they are as well." This is an excellent sentence. I wish I'd written it. We were all young once. We all played at Cowboys and Indians with our toy six-shooters. Nowadays even the toy weapons the kids have are scary. But it is expected that we, and they, will all grow out of these games and come to see how precious life is. It turns out, though, that some never grow out of it. They carry this desire to play war games into adulthood. They join the Armed Forces with this vision of heroism and machismo that they've carried over from childhood. Now it is time to shoot some real people, and see some real blood flow. Of course I'm making sweeping generalizations. But I can see the sense of what the writer you've quoted is saying. I will echo one more sentence from this writer: "There is no glory and honour in killing or even supporting those that make that choice." Yes, indeed. Karim
• Canada
27 Oct 11
Let's take this a step at a time. First, the soldiers. Why do they become soldiers at all? When they join the armed forces, do they specify that they will only participate in peacekeeping missions? Can they do so? Peacekeeping forces are taken from regular armed forces, if I'm not mistaken. So it is not the soldiers themselves who're deciding to go on the peacekeeping missions. Again, I say all this without any real information. I'm not sure if the peacekeeping forces consist of volunteers. I know the country can volunteer its forces; but I don't think the individual soldier has a say in the matter. So the first question devolves upon the motivation of the individual in joining the armed forces. Second, the naming of the Highway. Unless they begin setting out different memorial sites and ceremonies for soldiers who are killed in regular war and those killed in peacekeeping missions, they will all have to be lumped under the single designation of killed in action. Suppose that there was to be set out a Highway of Heroes for those killed in peacekeeping missions, and a Highway of Shame for those killed in regular armed combat, this would again take us back to the first point, which is, do the individual soldiers have a say in what sort of mission they will participate? Third, peacekeeping missions are also earning a bad name. There have been enough incidents to make the authorities leery of making too much use of such missions. An example is the recent NATO participation in Libya. They wanted as much as possible for the Libyans to fight their own war, and they want to be able to get out of there as soon as possible. The reasons are the bad experiences in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. To sum up, I don't know about the Highway of Shame, but I can wholeheartedly support the idea of war as the History of Shame. Karim
1 person likes this
@burrito88 (2779)
• United States
27 Oct 11
It csn certainly be said that throughout history most wars were not fought for noble reasons but more for the greed of Kings or leaders. World War I might not have been a noble cause because it was fueled more by competing countries resentments and too many interlocking defense treaties. World War II on the other hand, helped to overthrow some tyrannical governments that were espousing genocide. As an American, I might try to argue that the American Revolution was a noble cause because it frreed our country from an oppressive rule where we had no say. Our Mexican War, however, was not a noble cause but was fueled by the desire to stretch our country's borders to the Pacific coast. The first Iraq war might have been noble since it freed Iraq. One might argue that the second was was noble since it removed Suddam Hussein. Both wars though, especially I think the second, were also fueled by greed for oil so the nobility of those wars becomes more gray. I would like to hope that we have moved to a more enlightened age where we have started to recognize whether a war is justified or not. Wasn't freeing Kosovo a just cause. Or Nato helping to force out Khaddafy. Perhaps the one way today to decide if a war is noble is based on how much of the world uniformly accepts its cause.
1 person likes this
@gothtini (219)
• United States
27 Oct 11
Oh this is a hard question, it really is. I grew up being very proud of veterans because my dad is, and I still tell veterans welcome home when I see them in town. That being said, I believe its possible to honor veterans without honoring a war. You see most people become a part of the military because they believe it is helping people, because its to protect the country. Their intentions should not be looked down upon because the war they end up going to is right or wrong. No war is good, but there are times where it seems like the only possibility. Now beyond that, there are people who go to war just to try and get the glory of medals and the discounts some places offer for being a veteran. That is to be said about anything though, with any profession there are those that do it for a good reason and those that do it for a bad reason.
1 person likes this
@pahak627 (4198)
• Philippines
27 Oct 11
I'm not a canadian. I likewise find it hard to answer your question. I guess that person has his own reason for that. It's his statement that interests me and I quote, "Maybe it's time to keep them within our own borders..." unquote. I agree with him on this. Soldiers of a country should only fight for their own country. There are lots of questions for this, such as, What is the reason for a nation to send their own soldiers to fight in another country's war? Will a country sending their soldiers to another country to fight be benefited? Can they be classified as mercenaries?
• Canada
28 Oct 11
It's the leaders of the countries sending the soldiers out. They are the ones to blame for it. They'd rather send others out rather than do it themselves, but don't take personal sacrifice into consideration. Mercenaries provide aid, I wouldn't think they'd be peacekeepers, but I could be wrong.
• Canada
27 Oct 11
I'm a Canadian. My husband is an American, abd was in Viet Nam. He is ashamed of what he was made to do, and has PTSD because of it. He's ashamed because he did not believe in the cause, or war in general. His PTSD councelor is trying to convince him, and I agree, that he should not feel guilty for killing in a kill or be killed situation. He was not in a position to kill civilians. However, we both agree that the ones that should be ashamed are the politicians who start the wars! They are the ones putting people in danger. To me a war hero is not someone who win battles in combat, but someone who came home and won the battle a returning soldier must fight, to re-integrate back into civil society.
• Canada
28 Oct 11
At that time, were men not drafted when they were 18 and not given a choice? I'm sure that started years before in other wars, and that shouldn't have been allowed. You are both right, and a friend of mine told me the same thing about the politicians: "To use the term Highway of Shame would be hurtful to the wrong people at a dreadful time. The greatest shame in war lies with the "leaders" who start them frivolously. I'm not a big fan of renaming the Highway, I'm concerned about the unit...ended consequences. But the time that name is most relevant is when the body of a soldier is rolling down it. At that time I am inclined to feel for the soldier, for the family, and set aside my contempt for the jack a$$ we call leader who sent the soldier to the other side of the world to protect the profitability of a pipeline company and some investment bankers." I posted as much when I responded to this guy, but he's ignored it so far. I wonder if he's had family who has gone off to war, and either come back like your husband did, or perhaps, came back in a coffin. Both of my grandfathers fought in WW2, both were fighter pilots, and they were both shot down. They lived to tell about it. They never spoke about it, only to tell us that much, but never elaborated on what their experience was. Your last point is so true, and should be respected by all who don't really care about the people going off to war.
@daeckardt (6245)
• United States
22 Feb 12
I really don't know why people go to war. In some cases (at least in America) they go into the military only because there are no other jobs around. When they tell you to go...you go. I don't think it is noble, they are just doing their jobs.
@enelym001 (8333)
• Philippines
28 Oct 11
Definitely a tough one to answer. I'm not a Canadian but I can totally relate to this since our country has been sending troops to fight with rebels. I always feel sad and regret the loss of these young soldiers who have been sent out by the government. Yes they have chosen to be a soldier, in some countries it's required to fight for your country... and it simply describes them as Heroes. Yes, I do think they're heroes for being a brave fighter, I still don't think it's only about their Noble pursuits. Instead of condemning and removing the rights of these soldiers to be called Heroes, we should instead be inspired for the bravery they have showed us.
• Mexico
28 Oct 11
Hi kris: This is a really hard question, specially for me because I want to be neutral but at the same time I don't think war is the solution. Sometimes is necessary but in most of the cases there are other ways countries and groups can find a solution to their conflicts. I've seen some films and I think that many soldiers go to war because they don't have any other possibility to work for their country but to go to war. I appreciate them as humans who believe they are fighting for their nation, but I oppose to war as its concept and the worst part is that in most of the cases they should not even start. ALVARO