Saturday, August 05, 2006

A magnificent display


Greetings from St. John's, Newfoundland, where I've been on holiday for the last week. (In case you're wondering, the photo on the left is from Beirut, yesterday. Be patient: I'll draw the connection in a moment.) The other day, I visited the Newfoundland and Labrador Museum, now housed at The Rooms. One of the exhibits related to the battle of Beaumont-Hamel, which took place on July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. In less than a half an hour, 733 of 801 men in the 1st Newfoundland Regiment were killed. Describing the event, the Divisional Commander wrote:
"It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valour, and its assault failed of success because dead men can advance no further."
Translation: eight-hundred men charged straight into the line of machine gun fire and were almost instantly cut down. The folly of war is so sad.

Fast-forward 90 years, and where are we? Israel is busy pounding the hell out of Lebanon, killing hundreds of civilians in the process. Another "magnificent" display of human folly. And here's how our Divisional Commander (Prime Minister Stephen Harper) sees things (as quoted on Deonandia):
"What we refuse to do is to be drawn into a moral equivalence between a pyromaniac and a fireman ...”
What a nuanced view! I guess the "trained and disciplined valour" of the Israeli firemen is to be contrasted with the murderous extremism of the Hezbollah pyromaniacs?
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