I didn’t have an ANZAC post. I wish I did, but I didn’t.
What I wanted to post on was how I make sense of the different sides of the “was it worth it” debate. I wasn’t able to do that because I never got all my thoughts collected properly. But here’s a few anyway.
I respect the solders who died in the various wars that New Zealand has fought in. It would be nice to say that they all died to make this country a better place, but they didn’t. A great many died in accidents, I suppose a few by their own foolishness, even before they got to the front. (Think those solders in the movies racing around in jeeps without seatbelts got away with that?)
Also, fact is that a lot of men have died because their commanders made mistakes. It would be fair to say that some commanders didn’t care about that.
But many did. And the fact is that without those sacrifices in WWII especially, many of us would not be alive. While many didn’t die on the front, they died in the process of the war. While WWI might have been avoided, it wasn’t, and the plan to capture the Dardanelles was a good one that might have shortened the wars, saving lives.
Today we see Iraq, where 4000 Americans have lost their lives, and many see there another foolish war. I, however, see a war that deposed a brutal dictator, and is now fighting terrorists that need to be stopped, terrorists who think nothing of slaughtering innocents. If by loosing a few volenteers’ lives in small wars, we can save millions of lives of people who never wanted to fight, so much the better.
I am from only the first generation in human history whose young men – teenage boys — were not forced by their country’s leaders to fight and kill the young men and teenage boys of other countries and be killed by them. My parents’ generation was the last such generation so far, and, I fervently hope, the last ever.
Sadly, I hold no such hope while I see people all over the world more interested in believing the word of murders, and calling good people liars. That is how wars start.
Ironically, those people are called “anti-war activists”.
Time will tell if they succeed.