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Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous and huge print that captures the magic appeal of why young boys sign up for the military.

Colour, action, horses charging here and there, campaigning with men, doing serious business for the nation, are all far superior attractions to working on the farm, around the house, or doing homework for a cantankerous teacher.

The army has always been a super magnet for young people with little, or less, ambition.

In Victorian times countless boys of 13, and 14, often left home, and the responsibilities of youth to go to war, often lying about their age.

The story is about that 14 year-old Canadian Edward McCormick even got his mom to write a letter to Colonel Steele to take her boy as a bugler when Lord Strathcona's Horse prepared to go to South Africa in the Boer War. Trouble is, Edward said he was 17 on his attestation papers... Do buglers lie to get into the army?

Victorian Pride: The print commands, "Don't be a street urchin (like in the lower medallion), in slovenly rags on street corners, balefully watching history pass by from the sidelines. Serve the Queen in uniform and play a noble role in helping to preserve her vast Empire!"

The point of entry, into the Victorian army for boys, was commonly the band, where they became buglers, fifers, and drummers.

With their musical instruments they entertained the men or led their marches. With their bugles they gave orders in camp, and on the battlefield and allowed a commander to signal to his troops, in the days before the field telephone and radio.

It was a world where boys could play a man's role, among other men.

What better recruiting poster could there ever be than this fabulous print?


Victorian British Army Fifer & Drummer, 1899
Orig. chromolithograph - Image Size - 41 x 59 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

Chronic poverty and poor family prospects made thousands of young boys seek a better life in the military than their parents, or their own inclination, for education and advancement, seemed to have directed them towards.

The welcoming arms of the army and navy seemed to offer an easy way out. "Just sign here Bub, and we'll suit you up right quick. Duds, three squares, a bed, and a gun and a chance to use it. What more could a bloke want, I say?"

At least without having to do anything else at all, they could now be an instant somebody, just by putting on a uniform.

It certainly had exactly the appeal that Canada's former top soldier General Hillier sought. Since he was small, he is quoted as saying, "I never wanted to be anything but a soldier."

This path from poverty to prosperity, however dangerous it is, continues to be as powerful an attraction today for those lacking greater ambition, education, or prospects.

The Canadian army continues to draw large numbers of teenagers from poor families, from rural areas, and from the less prosperous regions of Canada, in Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous Canadian print that speaks for countless mothers in Victorian times - and today - who have lost control of their young ones, whom they can't stop from joining up to go to war.

Allen Brothers of Mount Forest, Ontario, offered this print to their customers as a "20th Century Greeting." Probably it once had a small calendar attached at the bottom.

It features a mother - is she in mourning because her husband has already made the supreme sacrifice? - staring with gloom into the future as she sees her only child going off as well? The rowboat will be back to take him off the the battleship in the background.

The gravity of the situation seems to have hit home with her youngster as well. Is he having second thoughts? Perhaps, but like countless Victorian boys he bucked up and went to the wars.

And many did die; and others won fame.

There were two kinds of drummers in the British Army - signalers and bandsmen.

Those called drummers - a rank status - were not the kids beloved by artists hoping to tweak the heartstrings in patriotic lithos, but mature men. Until the 18th century, drums were used to signal orders to forces on battlefields.

Late in the 18th century Germans started using hunting horns and bugles instead. They were far more portable, could make many more calls, and be heard farther afield, than drums.

The British soon followed suit and issued bugles. Trumpeters became a rank of buglers assigned to cavalry regiments.

The other drummers and buglers had rank status of Bandsmen, and here young boys were found playing fifes, drums, and bugles.


A Mother's Farewell - 1899
Orig. chromolithograph - Image Size - 46 x 61 cm
Found - Cambridge, ON

This is not a Canadian design, of course. Blanks of the print were made in Britain and shipped overseas, to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, where the local store would have a printer add the local greeting, etc.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

 

A fine portrait of a 13 or 14 year old boy in fifer's uniform who became a man overnight by jumping into a military uniform.

Though only a bandsman - and so not a fighting soldier - with his musician's epaulettes and Henry Potter fife in hand, he strikes a Napoleonic pose to show he is no one to be trifled with.

The studio photo is typical of thousands which soldiers had taken before they embarked on troopships for some distant imperial theatre of war.

For someone, he was a darling baby boy, who, for decades, proudly hung this picture in loving memory, until they passed on and the photo lost all meaning.


The Fifer - c 1890
Orig. photo - Image Size - 10 x 15 cm
Found - Halifax, NS
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Boer War Fife - Henry Potter, 1899
Orig. signed fife - Size - 39 cm
Found - Dundas, ON

The fifes and drums had been the military band for centuries. During the Boer War fifes were at the end of their life in military bands but were still played on marches and parades.
There are photos showing a British fife band marching up the streets of the Boer capital of Bloemfontein during the Boer War.

Henry Potter produced countless bugles for the Victorian Army, which were played in India, Africa, the Sudan, and during the Boer War.

This fife was produced by Potter as well and labelled on both sides of the separation ring:
"HY Potter & Co. 30 Charing Cross, London, 1899."

This fife was probably brought to Canada by a British fifer who kept it as a memento of the war.

Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canada's most famous "Home from the Wars" print featuring a son about to surprise his mother, who is sadly going over the last letters he sent home.

Home from the War; An Incident in the South African Campaign was adapted from an earlier original British painting by Arthur Stocks, called At Last, which featured a British hussar from an earlier period and is rarely found today as it was in black and white.

For the Boer War a new coloured version with a changed uniform was produced.

For the Canadian version a Canadian looking uniform was painted in including a cap badge that said ."CANADA."

Thousands of these must have been sold in Canada. Many can still be found at rural auctions in Ontario in varying condition.

 

Go to Home from the War

 

Go to Welcome Home

Home from the War - 1900
Orig. litho - Size - 40 x 50 cm
Found - Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Back from the War - 1898
Orig. chromolithograph - Image Size - 51 x 91 cm
Found - Waterford, ON

A fabulous print from the Spanish-American War that found a welcome place in a Canadian home for over 100 years. So what if the uniform is wildly out of place. The welcome arms of Pop, a gleeful dog Tray, and an excited Baby Sis, all had counterparts in Canadian families, when a boy was lucky enough to return alive from service overseas.

Go to The Merrimac
Go to Spanish-American War Game

 

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

 

The Spanish-American War of 1898 produced equally patriotic prints that found welcome places on Canadian walls in parlours and pool halls.

Here a young lad has returned safely from the wars, and enthralls Granny, Mom, and Sis, with all the heroic things he saw and survived.

Of course he won't tell about the perfectly awful things he saw, or did...

That would ruin the effect of the halo all of them see hovering around his head...

But a century later, young recruits would have a camera to record what they did to vanquish the enemy.

And the result was the scores of images that came out of Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, and offer the world merely a sample of how American military men and women torture and kill captive non-white Muslims.


Tales of Heroic Deeds - 1898
Orig. chromolithograph - Image Size - 41 x 51 cm
Found - London, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Another Victorian print that struck an emotional chord in a Canadian family a century ago.

If boys going to war could tug at heartstrings, so could fathers of young children.

The emotional power of the print for passing generations is probably the reason it has survived for over 100 years in a Canadian home. No one had the heart to throw out this pathetic picture of a man leaving his family to go to war. Goodness knows how successive generations of Canadians went through the pain of temporary - or permanent - separation as they watched their sons going off to war in the 20th century.

This print could pre-date the Boer War - the uniform looks 1870ish, but artists were notorious for just painting their idea of uniforms and ships of the day. They were trying for emotion, not military accuracy.

Even in 1900, Bacon in their famous battle prints had the British charging here and there in red and blue uniforms, which was by then a total fiction. But it was easier to tell the good guys from the bad on the print.

From the 1880s on, men left for campaigning in Asia and Africa dressed in khaki. Still, among artists, the red tunic of the "Thin Red Line" hung around a lot longer than it did among soldiers going off to war.

The ship, with cargo waiting to be loaded, is also wildly fanciful, even for the 1880s. It looks more like a British man-o-war from Nelson's navy of the early 1800s, with its wooden construction, lattice windows on the rear, and the cannons behind lidded gun ports.

 


Farewell - c 1880
Orig. chromolithograph - Image Size - 41 x 51 cm
Found - Elmira, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Sheet Music, Roberts Marching Through Pretoria - 1900
Orig. sheet music - Size - 30 x 40 cm
Found - Eugene, OR
Bugle boys were common in the US forces at the time as well.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Sheet Music, Bugle Blasts -
Orig. sheet music - Size - 30 x 40 cm
Found - Eugene, OR
The songsmiths were quick to grab on to the public's fascination with brave young boys going off to be buglers in the wars.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous memento, from Canada, of Bugler Dunne whose exploits as a brave bugle boy was the talk of the mainly expatriate British population that supplied the biggest amount of Canada's manpower to fight the war against the Boers.

Some buglers did die in combat.

The week before Bugler Dunne was wounded at Colenso, five "drummers" were killed at Magersfontein.

Those with the rank of drummer were usually men, but among those five killed at Magersfontein, was one 14 year old Scottish Bugler named Milne.

He was gravely wounded and fell into the care of the Boers who held the battlefield after the British retreated, but died shortly after of his injuries

He lies buried today, among the Boers, in their cemetery on the field where they all fell.

Go to Bugler Dunne

Paperweight, Bugler Dunne, the Hero of Colenso - Dec. 1899
Orig. glass - Size - 10 cm
Found - Winnipeg, MB
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

 

A fabulous original photo of the most famous bugler of the Boer War, Bugler Dunne, who accompanied the Irish Fusiliers during their disastrous attempt to cross the Tugela River at Colenso, one of three horrific British defeats suffered during Black Week in December 1899.

Some boys, like Dunne, became buglers in combat regiments, and weren't mere bandsmen.

He was wounded and lost his bugle; no matter Queen Victoria herself presented him with a new one.


Bugler Dunne, 1899
Orig. Cabinet Card - Image Size - 15 x 21 cm
Found - London, UK
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Mahillon & Co Bugle, Edward McCormick - 1901
Orig. bugle - Size - 30 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

Edward, who signed up at 17, would blow the Last Post with this bugle as they buried the Canadians in South Africa, after the Battle of Hart's River in March 1902.

Go to Military Bugles
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Henry Potter Bugle, Norman Pearson - 1916
Orig. bugle - Size - 30 cm
Found - Ashford, NC

Norman, who signed up at 17, would take this bugle to fight the Bolsheviks in northern Russia with the Royal Canadian Artillery in 1918.

Go to Norman's Bugle

The Deal - There was no deal; no quid pro quo.The recruits are literally signing away their life for however long the government wanted "... their body as a weapon of the war" as Buffy Sainte Marie says in Universal Soldier.

The boys are only contracted to sign up for one year - "Heck, they say it'll be over in a few months... So what's a year, when I'm afeared we'll be home by then!"

During the Boer War Canadians also signed contracts for one year. Long before their term was up they were wanting to come home. War wasn't what it had been cracked up to be. When Colonel Otter, their commanding officer, and even Lord Roberts the British Commander-in-Chief, begged them to extend, there was a virtual mutiny by the Royal Canadian Regiment; the vast majority refused to extend, "not for Queen and Country, not for nobody." They got their way and a ticket home pronto.

By World War I the army had gotten wiser and added the kicker to the one-year term, "... or for the duration of the war." Which proved to last for years, far longer than the lives of 60,000 Canadians, mostly young boys, who died because they signed these papers and were trapped. They kept their bargain but no one else did.

They were offered a chance to die for their country, that is all. And to make sure they were bound to do any and all dirty work ahead, they were sworn to "... observe and obey all orders of His Majesty, His Heirs and Successors, and of all the Generals and Officers set over me. So help me God."

The appeal to God sentence, at the end, was a replacement for the original text, which had ended the previous sentence with "No matter how utterly stupid they will be." But that phrase still lingered there in spirit.

They had to bring God in for the simple reason that the recruiters knew there were going to be idiotic generals giving lunatic orders down the road, and the last thing the Army wanted was soldiers who might come to the conclusion that "This is idiotic and could get me and my Buddies killed for no purpose whatsoever," and refuse to budge.

There were a lot of those moments ahead says Canadian historian Desmond Morton for "60,000 young men who died in as useless and tragic a war as anyone can remember." That is, until Afghanistan came along...

Whose Writing? - You have to be careful in using Attestation Papers if you're trying to check for legitimate samples of the writing of the recruit.

Though it appears as if Edward and Norman filled out these forms themselves - as applicants certainly do today - this is not the case here.

Neither Edward nor Norman filled in the details but reported them to the officer who filled them in for them.

You can confirm this by checking the signatures against the other writing. Edward's "Agreement" is filled in by the graceful hand of a mature writer, not a supposed 17 year old kid, proven by seeing Edward's cramped and crude signature where he is asked to sign.

Norman Pearson's "Ns" and "Ps," from where his signatures are required, show the same pattern that varies from the other writing.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Bugler Williams and the field at Paardeberg where he won undying fame... on Bloody Sunday, Feb. 18, 1900
Orig. Great Canadian Historic Site
Found - Paardeberg, RSA

After Colonel Otter, the most famous member of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada was Bugler Douglas Williams of Toronto, who, at Paardeberg, though bullets were flying thick and fast about him, "leapt on an anthill and blew the charge" on Bloody Sunday, Feb. 18, 1900, Canada's worst day of casualties of the entire war. Here, wearing his wedge cap and sporting a giant badge - as young boys are wont to do, and was the style at the QOR, he is shown at the scene of his triumph, the anthills on the exact spot on the battlefield at Paardeberg where the Canadians charged and died for Queen and Empire. On that day this field was littered with hundreds of dead and dying men; it was the worst day of casualties for the British Army during the entire war.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canada's most famous bugler picture, painted by Paris, Ontario painter Paul Wickson, is this fabulous print, issued as a Supplement to the Christmas Globe in 1901.

It bears a strong resemblance to the image of Edwin McCormick who, at 14 became the bugler of Lord Strathcona's Horse in South Africa in 1900, and went back again in 1902.

Every boys dream, to blow the charge aboard a spirited steed sending men into battle, is wonderfully captured in this image.


The Bugler - Paul Wickson, 1900
Orig. chromolithograph - Image Size - 46 x 61 cm
Found - Dundas, ON

The Americanization of the Canadian Forces

Bad News for Genera Rick Hillier
Former Commander Canadian Forces
in Afghanistan

The Pipsqueak General

General Rick Hillier, former Canadian Chief of Defence Staff, looking sour after a journalist asked him how he feels - now that it's becoming obvious - that he will become the first Canadian general in history, to ever lose a war. (A Toronto Star journalist had dubbed him the Pipsqueak General.)

In December 2008, only a few months after General Hillier was removed, as Canada's top general, it was leaked that Canada would also lose its command position over Kandahar province, to a replacement force of Americans.

Everyone knew in advance the glory days - eh whot? - of the Canadian military in Afghanistan, were coming to an embarrassing end, which, some say, was why General Hillier bailed out so suddenly, and prematurely, before the $(*%&# hit the fan.

Americans had been unhappy with his performance for some time. US Defence Secretary Gates had complained privately - in an overheard news gaffe widely reported in the summer of 2008 - that some NATO partners - read Canadians - were doing a lousy job in Afghanistan, at security, etc.

When Canada's Foreign Minister got riled up by reporters' embarrassing questions about what Gates had intimated about Canadians, the US Secretary - tongue firmly planted in his cheek - quickly did damage control, saying he was misquoted, and praised the Canadian effort.

But, as was widely reported, Canadians were taking heavier casualties than any other NATO partner, while they were steadily losing ground to the Taliban.

This was General Hillier's model for success? Unparalleled losses while giving way to the enemy?

The General's Escapees

To underline the point, only days before General Hillier gave up his command, many hundreds of Taliban guerrillas had escaped from a prison in the Canadian sector. (Apparently, according to some reports, the Canadian generals were at Tim Horton's at the time.)

It had taken the Canadians many, many months, and billions of dollars to catch them all. Now they were free - again - to plant IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) to kill many more Canadian boys.

Quite predictably, to parallel the worst month of casualties, two years earlier, in December, 2008, 9 (nine) Canadian boys were killed by IEDs, all planted by General Hillier's escapees.

Post mortems blamed General Hillier's "intelligence" operatives for being completely ineffective. (A mirror of his ground campaign.)

Soldiers never lose wars;
only generals do

Announcing the changeover to American command in Kandahar, a churlish Secretary Gates praised the Canadians but just couldn't resist saying, pointedly, that maintaining the status quo - he was being generous as the Canadians had been steadily losing ground to the Taliban since they arrived in Afghanistan, and were in a retreating, not holding pattern, ever since - just wasn't good enough for him, the Americans and the NATO cause, etc.

The Americans had given Canadian generals a chance but they muffed it, big time. "Time's up," says Gates, "we're taking over."

As one US military consultant noted, "The Americans will now show the Canadian generals how real fighters work, not those "pansification types" which your advertising seems to draw out."

Our sources tell us that Gates confided to associates afterwards that, "You can't make a silk purse out of sow's ear, nor a real fighter out of a Canadian Pansy keeper."

Gates is right of course; the problem is absolutely fundamental.

Unlike Americans, who come from a gun happy, John Wayne emulating - "I never killed a man that didn't deserve it" - and a congenitally violent society, Canadian boys come from a basically far more decent population base.

You just can't make a professional killer out of a Canadian. No matter how hard the Pipsqueak Generals try... But they do have one major accomplishment...

127 boys and gals won't be coming home to their families, ever again.

127 boys and girls who won't be getting honourary doctorates from universities, fat pensions, huge retainers for speaking engagements, fat advances for book deals, appointments to high paying government positions, laudatory dinners, medals, awards, and honours, from grateful defence contractors... like all the generals and colonels can look forward to getting...

Just tears... from family members...

And a six foot hole in Canadian soil...

And who can be proud of any of that?

The generals are...

A quote you could never find in Canada...

"I reckon, it's because, more people here need killin'..."


- Replied a southern US respondent when asked why the murder rate in the US South was higher than everywhere else in America.
- quoted in the Report of the Presidential Commission on Violence in America after the Kennedy Assassination

For decades, at the end of the 20th century, the Canadian Forces had recruited people interested in developing a technical trade, and becoming "Peacekeepers," in service to the United Nations, with its mission to separate warring parties until they had their differences worked out in a peaceful way. Members of the Canadian Forces developed a long, and proud, international reputation for their success in this work and were credited with saving many lives - not taking them...

Then came a President,in the United States (Bush), and a general in Canada (Hillier), who were committed to change all that.

Determined to reorient the Canadian Forces, General Rick Hillier barked "Our job is to be able to kill people" specifically "the detestable murderers and scum bags" in Afghanistan.

Launching a recruiting drive in 2006, aimed directly at aimless teenagers, Canada's top general, taking his cue from Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Charles Bronson, Arnold, Chuck Norris, et. al, with their heavy weaponry blazing a romantic image across the TV, video, and movie screens, and leaving a trail of bodies behind, General Hillier called for youngsters interested in combat to rise to his challenge and "fight" - his operative word - for the Canadian Forces.

In a move obviously designed to curry favour, and win the enthusiastic support, of George Bush, Hillier's new recruiting campaign recast the Canadian Forces, not as a multi-level talent pool of highly educated and trained technicians and tradesmen, but as a brawny collection of fighters who like "gun action" against people.

Our sources tell us he was sick of the razzing he was getting from his American colleagues, as being the head of a bunch of namby pamby Peacekeepers who lacked - you know what Rosie would say.

"Let me just say," said one senior US military officer, who spoke only if promised anonymity, "You would never find a sissy monument, like you have in Ottawa, there" - he paused for effect - "to a bunch of Peacekeepers, in any city in the great US of A, or representing any men in my army. American soldiers are fighters, not pansies."

The Toronto Star reports the revamped recruiting campaign only seeking people who want to "fight" has worked to the great pleasure of the Canadian Government and the Canadian Forces who, paradoxically, keep talking incessantly about Canada's mission to help the poor Afghans - you know the starving farmers, the sick children, the destitute and deprived women - and their aim to restore the devastated infrastructure by rebuilding destroyed homes, bridges, and factories, building dams, drilling wells, setting up health clinics, distributing drugs and relief supplies.

Even though - follow me on this - the Canadian Forces are the ones who've spent billions of dollars destroying the infrastructure in the Kandahar region - the very region Canadians are supposed to be rehabilitating...

Who's doing the thinking on this file? The Canadians, and the Canadian flag, are being indelibly imprinted in the minds of the people of the region, as the ones raining death and destruction everywhere. And President Karzai is repeatedly railing against the growing civilian deaths they are causing, news reports of which, sneakily, the Canadian papers are shuffling to the back of the unread sections of their ad sections.

There's no telling how many doctors, engineers, electronic experts, and pharmacists, they would have to recruit to try to bring a semblance of decent living conditions back to a people whose country has been destroyed by years of warfare, first by the Soviets, and then by billions of dollars of bombs, shells, bullets, and missiles that the Nato forces (the exclusively white European Christians who are doing the destruction - the shooting, bombing, and burning) have been exploding among the Afghans, their farms, and towns.

Alas, bemoan critics, thanks to General Hillier's pitch, the Canadian Forces has no problem recruiting fighting soldiers like the two noted by the Toronto Star as, "Both drawn to the possibility of gun-shooting action."

In a hundred years little has changed in military recruiting. There seems a never ending supply of teens wanting to escape boring towns and jobs.

The Toronto Star reporter discovered the young don't want the military jobs that provide - and pay for - educational upgrading for many trades and technical positions. Apparently sounds just too much like school back home they are seeking escape from.

Hell it's combat they're all after, like their General promised them when he spoke out so famously about his vision for the Canadian Forces of the future.

Clint Eastwood, Chuck Norris, General Hillier, here I come...

Where, you may ask, are the parents who raised children with such limited aims in life...?

And why are educated professionals balking, big time, at avoiding signing up for General Hillier's new "fighting" Canadian Forces?

Oh, and we almost forgot...

This is all about helping the Afghans, right?

Afghan men, women, and children must be pleased as punch to see another Canadian "helper" arriving, laden down with rifle and ammo belts, and an accompanying eagerness to use them... A Merry Christmas gift from Canada's generals to the people of Afghanistan...

As the Toronto Star makes clear, Afghans and Canadians can forget about the doctors, engineers, pharmacists, and health care workers to help Afghan women, children, and men, which they've all been led to believe is the heart of the Canadian mission to help Afghanistan.

But lots of fighters, looking for "gun-action" are on the way from the land of the Maple Leaf flag.

A Final Desperate Move: Lots of the Canadian boys killed in Kandahar never wanted to join the military out of choice.

Many did it out of simple desperation as, with only a couple of years of high school education, and living in a poor area of Canada, they couldn't find work to support their families.

So they joined up, and gambled.

A poster child, of this big group of hopeless, and desperate men and women, was the first Canadian killed by the enemy in Kandahar, Sgt. Rob Short, from New Brunswick, who was 42.

Bemoaned his devastated widow, left to raise a child on her own:

"With no other education, what other choices are around? There were very few. Rob never graduated high school … he couldn't get anywhere with no education — and he wanted more for our family. We barely could live day to day, month to month. We didn't know if we were going to have a place to live, put groceries on the table. He was tired of living like that. He did this for our family." Globe & Mail

Instead of Rob becoming the saviour of his wife and child, by joining the military, his widow confessed to a journalist, the death of her soldier husband had created a downward spiral that destroyed his formerly close-knit family, and sundered apart the loving network of in-laws that existed when he was alive.

The obvious moral - Don't let Rob's death be in vain. Stay in school and get an education... Don't allow yourself to become roadkill...

Go to Great Canadian Roadkill

So you can get a job - like the generals have - where you don't have to risk your life to feed your family...

And stay alive to reap the rewards and honours...

Here's a Novel Thought...

Why not ship our generals to the States...?

And our Privates, Corporals, and Sergeants in Kandahar
back home to their Sweethearts, Moms and Dads...?

And how about alive... instead of in boxes...?

Map - Places where politicians and generals tragically failed Canada and Canadians

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

The opening lines of Canada's national anthem, and the map of Canada's Afghanistan war dead, makes very clear the utter hypocrisy of Canada's war effort there, and whose lives are being sacrificed, supposedly on Canada's behalf.

School children across Canada, daily, sing "true patriot love in all they sons command."

But...

Count us out, say the urban educated elites, including journalists, who frequently promote war against the Muslims knowing full well, of course, that what is precious to them is not at risk, because they wouldn't dream of sending their children into the military.

Those who get tagged, to die for Canada, are the undereducated, and under schooled, disadvantaged poor - who can't even spell the words Muslim, Afghanistan, or pajamahadeen - from rural areas and small villages and towns all over Canada, where unemployment is high, well paying jobs are few, and opportunities for getting ahead, non-existent.

Many young people from these areas, who are fortunate to have motivated parents, or good gut instincts, "get out" by getting an education and moving to large urban areas for personal and family advancement. They do not end up dying in Afghanistan...

The Right Way to Go - Two such keen young Canadian Army Cadets, who grew up in a rural Ontario backwater, but had parents who moved to Toronto to better family prospects. Both John Goldi left and Fred Goldi, got to go to university; they didn't have to go to Afghanistan, or return in a box. (The senior Goldi had a considerable and honourable military history himself.)

Go to Military Man

Many others, less fortunate, can only "get out," in desperation, like Rob Short, by joining the military. And many of these are sent back home in boxes.

Above the map of the remote and rural places where their short lives started, and where their violated remains are buried, of course, with the thanks of the politicians (none of whom would dream of sending their children off to Afghanistan...)

And where their inconsolable widows, orphaned children, and grieving parents, live out devastated lives of quiet desperation...

Oh, Canada!

And for what? Because Afghanistan is a huge money making operation for many top people...

Apparently these small towns are much safer today than they were before General Hillier came along demanding Canadians spend billions to attack the Taliban in far-off Afghanistan...

Which is why General Hillier, after he retired, got a big award, in the fall of 2008, from Canada's defence contractors and their lobbyists, thankful for his help in getting them huge procurement commissions, by pushing to get billions for military hardware to improve the defence of Canada's small towns above which were, apparently, under serious threat by the pajamahadeen.

These urban hustlers are eternally grateful that the billions - from taxpayers across Canada - were spent on war armaments, in which they had a financial and personal interest, rather than in Canada's regional economic, educational, medical, and social services development, in which they had none.

Which is why these towns were not very safe places to grow up, in the first place,
for the dead veterans who lie in them now.

The veterans have a cold plot; their families cold comfort; the lobbyists cold cash...

What would you rather have...?

Boys at War 1 - Privates (1899 - 2009)

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