Families of Canadian soldiers fighting in Afghanistan can now take comfort in knowing that even if their sons or daughters commit suicide they will receive the very same medal awarded to those killed by enemy fire.
If nothing else, the federal government is proactive. For months now, they have been laying the foundation for Canadian troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2011. The decision to give the “sacrifice medal” to victims of suicide may be a recognition that fighting a war to prop up corrupt war lords and drug runners is bound to increase suicidal thinking among the troops.
The sacrifice medal is the latest manifestation of Ottawa’s campaign to foster a militaristic cult of human sacrifice and to build support for its failed war in Afghanistan. The proliferation of “yellow ribbon” campaigns and the designation of a part of Highway 401 as a “Highway of Heroes” are other elements.
We can expect more such announcements in the run-up to this year’s Rememberance Day ceremonies.
My heart goes out to our soldiers and their families. No one who goes to war returns whole and healthy. The stresses of combat and the fears of those waiting for the return of loved ones create disease for everyone involved, even if it is not readily apparent.
Whether they “believe in the mission” or not is irrelevant. They are being used as pawns in an imperialist power grab and whether they return physically intact or in a box, they are all human sacrifices to the gods of war and commerce.
I look forward to the day when we honour those who refuse to fight in imperialist wars. While most Canadians agree that we should, for example, shelter American war resisters, our government continues to deport them to the US, where they face harsh punishments for their courageous acts.
The most recent victim of Ottawa’s perverse policy, Rodney Watson, has sought refuge at First United Church on East Hastings Street, in Vancouver. Bravo to the congregation for their courage and willingness to do what our government refuses to do, even after two Parliamentary resolutions in support of war resisters received majority support.
There is currently a private members bill, Bill C-440, in the legislative queue. All of us ought to contact our MPs and urge them to support this bill. But we shouldn’t count on this bill ever becoming law.
Rodney Watson and war resisters everywhere deserve our support. By helping them we are making real contributions to peace and we are sending a clear message to the Harpers of this world that we reject the cult of human sacrifice that they are trying to create.