“War is Stupid”

So, Capt. Jonathan Snyder, a member of 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry died when he fell down a well during a nighttime patrol west of Kandahar

The father of the young man was quoted in the Canadian Press as saying, “war is stupid.” He went on to say that sometimes maybe it’s necessary but thinks this war is stupid and asks Parliament, “Why are we there?”

This is interesting to me because I think it’s the first time I’ve heard a family member of a fallen soldier say anything like that. They usually say something like they’re sad, but know their son/daughter died for a noble cause and they’re proud of them.

If it was my child I imagine I would have to try to believe that, too. Which I think makes Mr. Synder rather brave for speaking out against a war that his son obviously felt was worth sacrificing his life for.

It’s also interesting that CBC didn’t quote any of this in their story of the incident.

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16 responses to ““War is Stupid”

  1. Well of course CBC didn’t show that. Everyone knows, because little Stevie Harper says so, that what we are doing there is important and worthwhile. We aren’t there so that Stevie can talk to his buddy Georgie. We aren’t there so that war supply corporations can make millions and billions. We aren’t there to perpetuate American power and influence over the world. We are there to protect innocent citizens from brutal attacks. Afghanistan has been known for centuries to be one of the most warlike nations in the world. Why just off the top of my head I can recall them fighting, Alexander the great, The Moghul Empire, France, England, Russia, India, Pakistan. They fight anyone who shows up there to help them learn a better way of life. Now it’s Americans, Canadians and a few other Nato allies. It’s a good thing we went there to because they were on the verge of attacking all Nato with weapons of mass destruction. The CBC as just one more corporate media outlet recognizes the danger. even when we can’t quite see it ourselves.

  2. Good post. I was wondering how long it would take a parent of a Canadian soldier to say that. And I so agree with what Mr. Snyder said.

    I wonder what the government will say to Mr. Snyder in response to his very valid question.

  3. Dave – It’s a very powerful statement coming from a soldier’s parent. Lots of us liberal do-gooders can say that and it doesn’t mean much because everyone expects us to say that, but a soldier’s Dad. I was quite shocked. And I wonder what sort of feedback he’s going to get from other military families?

    UA – Crazy new name, woman. I suspect the government and most media are just going to ignore him and brush it off as the remarks of an overwrought father.

  4. I’m the son of a soldier, and I’m lucky he managed to make it back from WWII and the Korean War, or I wouldn’t be here to write this. I believe WWII was different that the many battles we’ve seen happen around the world since then. I believe it WAS necessary for many countries to participate in stopping the machine that Adolph Hitler had built.
    On the subject of losing a family member to war –
    I just watched a very powerful movie this past weekend called Grace Is Gone. I have always considered John Cusack a good actor, but he’s had a tendency to play many very similar characters over the years – until now. He is almost unrecognizable as the John Cusack you might be familiar with in film, if indeed you watch movies.
    This movie is tender and heartbreaking, and a good look – I believe – into what it indeed may be like to lose someone to a war which many believe should not have been undertaken in the first place. It also doesn’t judge the political choice of going to war with Iraq, but presents what I believe is an even view of both sides, to keep from clouding the point of the film, which is how – and how many – people are affected by the death of one soldier. John Cusack, and the girls who play his daughters, give wonderful performances, and I highly recommend the movie.

  5. I’m sure he’ll be slagged for it. It is awfully hard to admit that there was no good reason to kill or be killed in a mess like this. Every war mongering asshole who sends kids out to die should be allowed to go die for their country. It used to be these things were run by people who had served themselves. Now more and more we get professional pols who have never done any work outside the political arena but boy are they ever ready to send someone els into harms way.

  6. Of course the media will ignore him. He isn’t toeing the party line, is he?

    Kudos to him for speaking up, I’m sure a lot of parents and partners of soldiers think the same thing but don’t dare say it.

    Those avatars wordpress gives non-wordpress commenters? Quite cool.

  7. Dave – I could see other military families being hurt by this. He did qualify his statements to say he supported the soldiers and the work they believed in.

    Jazz – It would be hard, if you’re a family member. If your spouse or child believed so passionately in something that they were willing to die for it, how could you not take on some of that belief yourself?

  8. Jazz: Please do not tar all media with the same brush of generalization.
    I am proud to say that A-Channel Ottawa carried Mr. Snyder’s comments on its 11pm news show — of which I am producer; and repeated them this morning and this evening at six o’clock.

  9. Also, here in the States, a fair number of soldiers’ families are being pretty open about thinking that war is stupid, especially in the case of people who are refusing to fight (and, you know, fleeing to Canada). A lot of parents also pretty openly pissed about the huge numbers of brain injuries and the fact that the VA is totally ignoring them.

  10. War is stupid but inevitable.
    You would think we as humans could learn from history, but we do not when it comes to war. It is about power and control and as long as there are humans on this planet there will be war. War is sad and it is stupid!

  11. JB – thanks for mentioning that movie and I don’t think war has ever been about stopping evil — although that’s what they always say it’s about. War has always been about property… amassing property and wealth whether in the form of land or resources. (Except for maybe Ireland. I’m not really sure what that was all about). It’s a big bully way of stealing something you covet. If the Americans had really wanted to stop Hitler they could have done it way at the beginning, before things got totally out of hand.

    Bob – Good for A channel. CTV did too and I’m sure some others. Just CBC was a bit squeamish about not being “patriotic”

    Meloukhia- Good for them. Question though: I can see dodging the draft, but if you’ve signed up to be a soldier, isn’t it sort of part of the deal that you go where your country sends you, including war? What else is all that training about?

    Hunter – I hope that’s not true forever.

  12. You said, “I don’t think war has ever been about stopping evil” –
    All I know, after many conversations with him, is that’s the reason my father (and thousands of Canadians) signed up. I’m sure many regular Americans did it for the same reason, regardless of what their government’s reasons for doing so might have been. I think it’s important to not confuse regular soldiers with governments.

    Ireland is about religion, which I believe – throughout history – has proven to be a bigger killer of humans than the covetousness of any government.

  13. JB – Agree completely. Governments have one (financial) agenda and then fire up the citizens with religious talk or terrorist threat talk which makes brave young men and women take it upon themselves to go and fight and die for their country.

  14. I’m not sure it’s obvious that his son felt it was worth sacrificing his life for. The fact that he was where he was doesn’t mean he chose to go there or that it was a cause he believed in passionately. In the Canadian military, you don’t always have much control over where you are sent: if your platoon heads to Afghanistan, so do you.

  15. Louise – Ya, but I reckon if you join the military you have to be doing it with at least half an idea that you might be asked to go to a war zone some day. My brother joined up when he was out of high school, for the same reasons as your sister. He missed going to the Gulf War by about a week. He was all ready to ship out when it ended. He was kind of bummed about it back then because at 19 or whatever he was hot to see some action, but now he says he can’t imagine what he was thinking. He wonders why none of us tried to talk him out of enlisting – thinks he was out of his mind at the time or something.

  16. The frontal lobes don’t fully develop until a person is in their 20s, which is why young people do stupid, risky things like have unprotected sex, drive like morons, and happily go off to the what they think is the excitement of a military life. Soldier ranks throughout time have been filled with young men (and women) who are at that age when they have no concept of their own mortality, and impaired abilities to really comprehend what they’re doing don’t help. Those in charge of armies exploit that frisky puppy eagerness to ensure that they have cannon fodder. I understand that sometimes it’s necessary, but that doesn’t make me less angry about it.

    I’ve done some stupid things myself as a result of being a young idiot, but running off to join the military wasn’t one. We weren’t in a war situation at the time my sister joined up, but I was damned sure even then that I never wanted to voluntarily put myself in a situation where I might be ordered to kill someone or sacrifice my own life. (I’m also a very taurean Taurus and having someone order me around is not my bag.)