Friday, November 11, 2011

The proper role of the military

I attended a debate hosted by the MacDonald Laurier Institute that was also the kickoff for the 2011 Free Thinking Film Festival.  The basic debated statement was "The Canadian military should focus on peacekeeping efforts in the future".  Arguing for the assertion was Prof. Michael Byers and opposed was Prof. Jack Granatstein.

In the end they were not that far apart, both agreeing that Canada needs a strong military and should deploy the military when it is necessary for Canada's self-interest.  Granatstein said that the military should not have a separate "peacekeeping" unit since clear strength is needed to be credible at maintaining a peace and that with such a small military we need all the fully trained troops we can muster.

I would have liked to hear both of them express clearer statements on when it is proper to go to war and most particularly on the proper philosophy of war.  Neither spoke of acting purely in the interest of the citizens of Canada and with overwhelming and ruthless force so as to quickly defeat an enemy and discourage all supporters and then withdrawing, with a clear warning that we will return if there is another threat to Canadians.  Neither condemned the altruistic drivers of recent conflicts that have led to the discouragement, death and failure of Canadian missions.  There was not enough talk about the morality of war. 

Overall I favored Granatstein, who appears to have a clear idea of the proper role of the military and the ideological errors made in recent decades that have led to its decay and its failures in battle.

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