Monday, August 27, 2007

Support The Troops, Lower The Flag

Absent from the "support the troops" debate, any criticism of the Harper government. I find the silence deafening, and another indication that the troops are secondary to partisan politics. Where are the cries, the patriotic passion, from the faithful, to change this decision:
reversing the previous Liberal government's practice of lowering the flag on Parliament Hill's Peace Tower to mark military deaths.

The Conservatives say they are returning to the traditional protocol of honouring fallen soldiers by lowering the Peace Tower flag only on Remembrance Day.

People are scouring any potential vehicle to honor our soldiers, and yet none of the uber-nationalists has seen fit to reprimand the Conservatives for failing to fly the flag at half-mast, whenever there is a casualty. If you want to highlight support, it seems natural to want the federal government to acknowledge the sacrifice. Why hasn't one patriot seen fit to start a petition, demanding the federal government reverse its purely political decision?

According to the Harper government (h/t Scott Tribe):
Harper, who didn't use the word "Afghanistan" in the speech, wouldn't answer reporters' questions afterwards.

Officials from the Prime Minister's Office say Harper refuses to play politics with the deaths of soldiers.

Politics are irrelevant, so it begs the question, why exactly can't we honor the fallen by lowering the flag at our national institution? Where is the petition drive? Where is the lively debate on conservative talk shows? Crickets.


Skinny Dipper said...

I don't agree with Harper on Afghanistan, but I agree with him on not lowering the flag.

Militaries around the world do not lower their flags every time a soldier is killed. The symbolism is that lowering a flag shows weakness in front of an enemy. I don't recall seeing any flags flown at half-mast by any military during World War II.

I can only paraphrase Ret. Major-General Lewis MacKenzie of him mentioning that soldiers wear the flag on their sleaves and they die with the flag on their coffins.

In my own opinion about flying the flag at half mast is that if we do it too often, this act becomes meaningless. We'll soon end up needing a reason to quarter-mast the flag. Flying the flag at half-mast should be performed on rare occasions.

rob said...

Good point.

Steve V said...


Fair enough, although I would characterize most of these recent expressions of support as trivial and meaningless.

Anonymous said...

Veteran groups have already made themselves heard saying they don't want the flag lowered. That is what Remembrance Day is for. The reason this issue is no longer an issue is because it's not an issue. Except to Liberal Bloggers.

Steve V said...

You're right, it's not really a big issue, but then again neither is a mayor not wanting to put stickers on municipal garbage trucks.

Real_PHV_Mentarch said...

Good post as always, Steve.

Allow me to intrude a bit ehre and invite you and your readers to go and sign the petition to demand job protection for Canadian reservists?

That would be a good way to support the troops - truly. ;-)

Real_PHV_Mentarch said...

"here" - sorry for the typo ...

Steve V said...

Thanks for the link Mentarch :)

Mark Dowling said...

In World War I we'd never have had the flag at full staff, since the hundreds of Canadians dying in the trenches would have to be honoured every day.

Was their sacrifice worth any less? Sorry, but Harper was right on that one. He wasn't right on trying to Bush-ify the repatriation ceremonies in Trenton though.