I read Gladys Phares letter last week, and the story of her brothers meeting on a troop ship deeply affected me.
In World War II, both my grandfather, Brian Buzzard, and his younger brother Peter fought in the deserts of the Middle East. The battle of El Alamein was to decide who controlled the Middle East oil supply, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Suez Canal.
My grandmother Dulcie, my father, who was only around 2, and my great grand parents saw them off at the train station together. None of them ever saw Brian and Peter again, both were killed during the battle. Brian is buried in Egypt, Peter in Libya. As far as I know, nobody from my family has ever been to visit those graves.
About a year ago, a cousin of mine whos doing a family tree sent me the address of a Web site, the Common Wealth War Graves Commission (http://www.cwgc.org), and I was able to look up the location of my grandfather and great uncles graves. It shows their ranks, Bombardier and Gunner, their dates of death, January 23 rd 1942 and June 6 th 1942, a description of the cemeteries, and short history of the battle of El Alamein. Not much to show for two promising young men, with families and aspirations. Altogether, it was a very sad trip.
Its impossible to say that World War II was frivolous exercise. If it hadnt been for people like Brian and Peter Buzzard, and about God only knows how many million other guys who lost their lives, Europe would be a huge fascist state, and from there, who knows where it would have spread. We owe our culture and freedom to men like these.
Whats going on in the Middle East makes my heart break. Its not a war to free a people, or stabilize a region, or even to secure a crucial source of world oil production. The fact is, this war will do the opposite of all three. The war in Iraq is on because some people very high in the American government thought it would be an easy victory; something the American public could feel good about. They felt that Saddam Hussein had slipped through their grasp during the first Gulf War, and that stuck in their craw.
Whatever the reasons, there are still hundreds of thousand of people out in the desert like Brian and Peter. I can only see it getting worse for them in the future.
I would like to respond to Gladys Phares's letter to the editor dated March 27th. I presently hold dual citizenship between both the United States and Canada, and am very proud of one and very disappointed in the other. I am very proud to be born a Canadian and equally impressed with their courageous stand against being dragged or coerced into this misguided debacle that President Bush has foolishly plunged the U.S. and Britain into, along with their coalition of cash strapped poor countries, who offer nothing more than an open hand and a bought vote. I will refrain from listing the countless reasons why I believe President Bush has chosen this course of action and will only say that none of his reasons are steeped in farsightedness or courage.