Tuesday, May 13, 2014

They Were -- And Are -- Expendable

Last week's Day Of Honour, we were told, was about Canada's veterans.The vets know better. The day was about Stephen Harper. Michael Harris writes:

If you want the quintessential Stephen Harper, look no further than last week’s National Day of Honour. Everyone knew it was the Governor General’s job to accept the last Canadian flag that flew in Afghanistan, but hey, why give up the money shot to a mere functionary? So the PM snagged the flag — and then handed it off to the hapless David Johnston, former Commander-in-Chief of Canada.

Mr. Harper suffers from what Harris calls PRD -- Public Relations Disorder:

The main symptom of PRD is the unshakeable belief that elephantine public displays of military might — tanks rolling, jets screaming overhead, guns popping off — will make people forget this government’s betrayal of Canada’s wounded veterans from the Afghanistan War.

In its terminal stages, the PRD sufferer actually believes perception is reality. In Harper’s Canada, nothing has to be true. You just need lots of commercials flogging the desired perception — paid for by the people you’re trying to indoctrinate. Nice gig.

Never mind the that veterans who suffer from PTSD or who are missing limbs will have a harder time getting help because of the closure of veterans offices across Canada:

The trouble is that returning veterans with mental or physical wounds live in a commercial-free world. They inhabit a harsh reality: how to push your kid on a swing when you’re missing an arm or a leg; how to fill a war-hardened heart with human emotions again; how to navigate the unbearably normal world of civilian life when you have seen into the abyss and know what has been done.

Their disabilities are permanent, no matter how many jets fly over the Peace Tower. The final insult? Lectures from Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino about how their treatment will be improved by slashing $226 million from the VA budget and closing treatment centres. Stories about the reduced number of Second World War and Korean War veterans justifying cuts, but not a word about the thousands of new vets from Afghanistan.

No, they were -- and are -- expendable. It's  all about getting the flag in your hands. That's what counts.


CK said...

Afghanistan, in more ways than one, was another Vietnam. A war that the US did not win back then. Subsequently, came the shabby treatement of their vets. Substandard hospitals for them, PTSD, many going homeless and such. My mother's friend's husband ended up killing himself when he was back in the good ol' US of A. I'm sure many other Vietnam vets did too.

Now, fast forward to Afghanistan, a war, which I think most of us know, was not won. Not if we're to go by the desired goals that war sought to achieve, which, of course, we all know, did not. Not by a long shot.

It's really simple to me, the message from Harper -- same as it was back in the days of the Vietnam war--we love and honour you, but only if you "win" the war. Anything less is dishonour to your country, and thus, should be punished, in those twisted minds.

Owen Gray said...

Harper is about empty pomp and circumstance, CK. And Canada's veterans know it.

The Mound of Sound said...

Not "pomp and circumstance" Owen, pomposity is more accurate.

Owen Gray said...

Agreed, Mound. As Twain said, the difference between the right word and the wrong word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.

Anonymous said...

Harper is unfit to occupy the post of PM. We used to say that we should respect the office even if we do not respect the man. Harper has convinced us that the office is not worth our respect too.

Same comments for the Governor General. If he had any respect, for himself or his own office, he would have resigned rather than have Harper co-opt his role. But, hey, this was the guy who was apparently rewarded for crippling the Mulroney-Schreiber public inquiry. So, no more respect for the office of the GG either.

Unfortunately, we, the proletariat, are paying the salaries of both these guys.

Anonymous said...

Harper cares about Harper and that is all Harper cares about.

I deeply honor our Veterans of yesteryear and of to-day, six members of my family served in WW2. However to me, Harper is not a Canadian. I detest Harper attending, any of our Canadian events. Harper as a dictator, has no right to be there.

Owen Gray said...

I don't object to his being there, Anon. What do I object to his his insistence that he be the centre of attention.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Anon, what Harper can't eliminate he corrupts.

mogs moglio said...

Harper there for the photo op show only like when he was in Jerusalem against the wailing wall a back drop for him as a photo op. I wonder how much it cost taxpayers to put on the air show over parliament?

Instead of his fancy pretended behavior he could have really honored the vets by streamlining the process of getting benefits and increasing them to include the multi-faceted disruptions in the vets lives that they face trying to come home, they deserve better treatment.

Stephen snatch the flag Harper, what a clown.

Owen Gray said...

You're right, Mogs. It's all for show -- and the show is all about him.

Anonymous said...

Harpy is in my mind, a loser. But he wants to be a winner, and so he embarks on these strange photo-ops that he hopes depict him as something he is not! He sees war and oil as some sort of passage to greatness. Giving credit where credit is due is beyond his ken. We know folks whose child went thru Journalism school with Laureen. I think old Harpy probably married her because he thought she could help him with his media image??? To me, he is a cold, calculating creep.

Owen Gray said...

Without a doubt Harper has worked very hard on his image, Anon. And people still suspect there is a large vacant space there.

e.a.f. said...

well its kind of like this, they were just canon fodder. They no longer serve herr harper's needs. The day of dishonour was simply one more "money shot" before the cameras are turned off of this arena.

We can only hope, that come election time, the veterans get out there and remind this country of what Harper did to them, and continues to do.

Owen Gray said...

If what I read is true, e.a.f., that's exactly what veterans intend to do.