Thanks to Patrick for the heads up on this piece.
As mentioned previously, April 25 marks ANZAC day, a day of memorial in Australia for those that died in war. At this time, in this world, with Australian soldiers in action in Iraq, Cartoonist Michael Leunig writes this opinion piece on ANZAC day. It may be hard to read in places, and it will definitely invoke strong emotions in some, but it needs to be said.
I agree with what he has to say about the contribution made by non-military heroes to this country, but I can't entirely condemn those that have fought. World War 1 was a different time and fought for different reasons. Evidence shows that most of the young volunteers weren't going anywhere to fight. They just wanted to get out of their backwater existences and see the world. They would have had very little understanding of what war really was until they were surrounded by it.
World War 2, the discussions have been made over the years that it really could be considered a justifiable war. The consequences of allowing Nazi Germany to run riot across the earth doesn't bear thinking about. The actions that took place can't be justified, but perhaps the outcome can be.
Vietnam was unconscionable, but by the end they had to threaten prison to get people to go there.
That said, I agree that there should be some appreciation of those that chose not to fight, not as a cowardly or rebellious thing, but rather those that chose peace over war. I know that I couldn't bring myself to willingly shoot and kill another person, or at least to make a concerted decision to go somewhere and do it. I'd defend to my last breath, or even an attacker's last breath, to defend my home and my family, but I would never go elsewhere to attack them.
Anyway, read and think. It's definitely worth consideration at a time when our troops are overseas, once again, at war.
Lest we forget the ultimate price of warfare - Opinion - www.theage.com.au
Edit 26/04/05 - Actually, I can't find any reason to justify war or the actions of those that actively seek it out.