Thursday, March 05, 2009

Toothless ideas

I had a car accident once, many years ago, where I ended up upside down in a ditch. The roof of the car was dented in about six inches, and the rear axle was broken. A guy in a utility vehicle came along and stopped to make sure I was alright. Looking the car over, he told me it wasn't so bad; a run through a car wash and no one would know the difference. For years, I held those two ideas in my head side by side. Rear axle broken... ah, but if I could only have rolled it back onto the road and washed the mud off... It was years, literally, before those ideas met in my head, and the illogic of holding them both finally dawned on me. Strange, but true.

The front page of today's Globe and Mail quotes Mishelle Brown, wife of a Canadian warrant officer slain in Afghanistan:

“We may not be able to beat the Taliban. There's lots of things in our life we can't beat. … But do you give up? Do you stop? Absolutely not. One person can't make a difference. But if we band together, we can.”

I feel for her, having lost her husband. But statements like this make no sense. It's like saying "Maybe I can't chew through a brick wall, but will I give up? Heck, no, they're only teeth! If I use all 32, well..." Admitting something's impossible and then turning around and suggesting it's possible anyway is the same kind of thinking I maintained all those years after the car accident. "If we all band together"? What does she think the CAF and the allies have been doing for the past seven and a half years?

I'm sorry, but when facing a wall we can't chew through, or an enemy our own prime minister has admitted we can't defeat, I can think of better uses for our teeth and our country's soldiers than continuing to grind them down till there's blood. Frankly, I thought we were evolving beyond this sort of thinking. How many Vietnams does it take?

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