Loser's Guide to Life
The past few years have fighting seem to have come to a point where the people in favour of it are saying, “Well, what are we doing, exactly?” Every story in the Canadian press about soldiers killed in Afghanistan starts with the words: “[Deceased's name] believed in Canada's mission in Afghanistan, and ...” They want to assure you that no one's dying needlessly. That, in my view, is a sign that the whole purpose is vague and poorly conceived. Belief shouldn't have anything to do with it. It should be obvious.
What kind of idiot sends soldiers into war on the basis of a particular way of looking at things, which is by nature not subject to new evidence or counter-argument? A complete idiot, who also believes he or his party stand to gain something from reckless behaviour which is only meant to affect other people.
This has achieved exactly one thing: the engagement of the war pundits, whose tone all along has been bloodlust from a comfortable chair. It's exciting to root for something! Gives you a sense of purpose. Of course, the Romans, in their irredemable practical way, offered a valuable lesson with their big gladiator spectacles. They were saying, “As far as the crowd is concerned, it's all showbiz. You want naval battles, we can put one on right here!” Most of their wars were pure business, but they could see the curious political energies unleashed—not harnessed—by war.
For a review of recent discontent among audience members as the show winds down, see Unclaimed Territory.