‘Softened up’ to accept warmongering

The sound and smoke of military aircraft overhead are supposed to fill our hearts with nationalistic pride.

To the editor:

Citizens thrill to “Lie in the Sky”

The Capital News’ long weekend edition of Aug. 3 offers an important opportunity to reflect on war propaganda.

The cover shows a formation of military jets with the title Aerial Acrobatics.

We then read about the “seemingly death defying” stunts of the pilots (“seemingly” because in actuality Snowbird aircraft have been involved in many accidents, including several mid-air collisions, that have resulted in the deaths of seven pilots, one passenger and the loss of several aircraft), and there is even a reference to the Hollywood blockbuster Top Gun.

We read how this performance “often manages to pull in extra donations from the awestruck audience” for a charity which helps children.

The accompanying photos of blue summer skies with a giant heart made by the jets are good at distracting us from the real role of military jets, but the military connection is not altogether hidden: “From the white smoke ribbon produced for the last man to die in Afghanistan to the plumes of jet stream left by their dog fights, each manoeuvre leaves the audience more enamored.”

The implications of the phrase “the last man to die in Afghanistan” are clear. The sound and smoke of military aircraft overhead are supposed to fill our hearts with nationalistic pride, a pride in this case founded in our power over others and an acceptance of the necessity of military action.

This bid for the citizenry’s acceptance of Canada’s military operations is strengthened by the warm fuzzy association of jet aircraft with charities benefitting children.

The reality is quite different: The Canadian Air Force recently carried out a “helping children” campaign in Libya. Commanded by Canadian Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard, NATO planes destroyed much of Libya “to protect innocent lives.” The country now lies in ruins with warring factions imprisoning and executing their rivals. Libya’s Great Man-Made River, for example (which, in an amazing feat of engineering, uses the largest underground network of pipes and aqueducts in the world to tap into water underneath the Sahara and irrigate farms and supply drinking water) was bombed by pilots trained in Snowbird type jets. Of course only countries which don’t have an air force are bombed, so there are no “dogfights”, only “aerial acrobatics.”

The general population must always be misled, distracted and softened up in order to support blatant imperialist interventions like Afghanistan and Libya and beyond.

The family-friendly Snowbird display is a powerful tool in this campaign.

And although we may have some sympathy for the lowly foot soldier drafted by lack of other opportunities into the army, there can be none for the highly trained F-35 pilots who kill from above.

Even such pilots may suffer psychological breakdown and thus may become a relic of the past, as we are informed by an Ottawa Citizen headline: Canadian Military Intends To Spend $1 Billion On Armed Drones.

The military madness will only stop when the citizens withdraw their approval.

Mark Haley


Kelowna Peace group

Kelowna Capital News