Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Corporal James Arnal

Heaviness invades my heart.

Meet a local man. James Arnal was a boy who went to elementary school with Nathan at Howden and then on to high school at College Beliveau.

James was killed on Friday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. James was the 88th Canadian soldier to die in the ‘Afghan mission.’

“Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” Thus spoke Hermann Göring, second-in-command of the Third Reich and commander of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force). Brought before the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging, he cowardly committed suicide the night before the execution.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Thus spoke Dr. Joseph Göbbels, Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, German National Socialist (Nazi) regime from 1933 to 1945.

Does this all sound a little too familiar? I felt when I first read these statements that they could have easily have said thus spoke George Bush, Dick Cheney or Steven Harper.

Rest in peace James. At 25, you were way too young to die.


Anonymous said...

Amen, rest in peace James that is so sad.

War, really the proof that life is worthless. When does it stop???...

John said...

Hi Renee,

My first visit to your site. I apologize in advance for the rigidity of this reply but here goes.

First, be well.

Second, I am sorry to hear about James. Thank you for putting a face to the statistic. It is well we mind the person behind the number lest the headline numb us to the sacrifices made.

Third, I have friends and associates over in Afghanistan - and Iraq - too. None have passed, touch wood, though a few from CFB Kingston died, by enemy action and accident, in 'the sandbox.' Sad.

Fourth, the comment that the US and Canadian political leadership mimic the ruthless ambition and mendacity of the National Socialists seems in poor taste given the comparative conduct and aims of both national deployments. It does a disservice to the men and women overseas to imply they serve for little more than the false promises of a Machiavellian political clique - who, more often than not, have SENT them to fight particularly malevolent and exploitative regimes. It reduces all their achievements to mere byproduct of misplaced love of country.

I can't claim to speak for any veterans. But I've heard from enough of them to wonder whether there is more to their charge than blindly carrying water for latter-day misanthropes.

Thanks for your time and your patience.



Mary said...

I salute him for his sacrifice and his bravery...a true hero. May he rest in peace.