“Canada! Canada! Canada!”

The year is 1810 and Henry Clay of Kentucky is elected to the House of Representatives.  He has just finished serving two terms in the Senate.  He is also immediately elected Speaker of the House which is unheard of these days… a newly elected Congressmen to hold such a high office.  At that time, there were ongoing problems with Great Britain and war hawks were beginning to circle.  Clay formed a close-knit circle of allies.  The issues of the time were impressment of US sailors, seizing US ships, and the British encouraging Native American unrest.  The war hawks also wanted Great Britain kicked out of North America for good.  What did Britain still have that the US wanted?  Canada.  The  phrase “Canada! Canada! Canada’ became the rallying cry for war, and the war hawks were determined to achieve that goal by any means necessary.  As events unfolded, war was officially declared in 1812.  Though the US invaded Canada several times, each campaign usually ended in disaster or just a simple retreat.  In the end, Canada stayed British.  As for the other issues, they became mute points, and the Native American uprisings were put down. (1812)

Now, let’s forward to today’s time.  The war hawks are beginning to sharpen their claws once again and starting to circle.  The public is war-weary after the Iraq War and the ongoing war in Afghanistan.  Yet, they don’t seem to be hearing it.  The war hawks (which are mostly Republicans… listen to some of the Republican candidates for President on this issue) have the eyes set on Iran.  So instead of “Canada! Canada! Canada!” becoming the rallying cry for war, it’s now “Iran! Iran! Iran!” for these politicians, and they could care less about the consequences of such acts.  The US and other western nations (along with Israel) are worried (and possibly scared) about Iran getting a nuclear weapon.  Israel has threatened a preemptive strike in order to stop it from happening.  It is difficult to believe it would be successful since Israel does not possess the proper equipment to reach the main facility in Iran… some of it lying far below ground.  President Obama has told the Israeli government not to launch a preemptive strike though has sent a message saying the US and the western nations would stand firm against Iran having a nuclear weapon that it could use on Israel or any other nation (including the US).

New, tougher sanctions are in place to deter the Iranian leaders from developing a nuclear weapon.  This is all part of the larger tensions we’ve been having with Iran in the nation.  (Previous entry)  Going to war should always be used as a last resort instead of a first.  All options should be considered, and we must determine what would determine success.  We must also think in terms of the future and about our security at home.  Would it help strengthen anti-American sentiment around the world by having us invade another sovereign nation?  It might do more harm than good by the end of the ordeal… even if we were successful in reaching whatever our goal is.  And it’s not the politicians that would be fighting this war.  They just get to make the decision and then send others off to do it for them.

There is a generational-gap in place in Iran.  There’s the generation of my parents… who basically led the 1979 Revolution which overthrew the Shah (which we placed in power in the 1950s) and brought about the Iran we know today… which is isolated from the rest of the world except from groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.  With sanctions having been in place, Iran’s economy hasn’t grown much at all.  A new generation is now coming up… that of my generation… and with the advent of technology, these people are seeing what else is in the world and they can get news and information from other sources than state-controlled media outlets.  Yes, Iran is one of those countries that tries to stop/block the internet and others forms of western-media from getting into the country, but they aren’t always successful at it, and it does seep in.  The younger generation does want to peacefully coexist within the rest of the global community.  President Obama recently went so far as to send a message to reach out to the actual people of Iran saying that the US is with them and they want them to be part of the global community under peaceful terms rather than me at war with each other and that the Iranian government needs to tear down the “electronic curtain” that it has in place to try to keep out outside media information/outlets.

With the tensions running higher than normal between Israel and Iran, a man decided to do something about it.  He decided to make a message to the Iranian people and sent it to them using the internet.  He got immediate responses to his message of peace and love.  (CNN article)  His overall message “Iranians, we will never bomb you, we ‘heart’ you.”  A simple yet powerful message.  His message has been mostly received by kindness from Iranian citizens and even from other Israelis though there have been a few negative responses, as well.  It was a step in the right direction, in my opinion.  The political leaders can’t seem to make headway, but maybe just the average people can do it.  In their country, they don’t get a say in who controls their government.  Sure… they “elect” a President, but he has no real power there.  The Ayatollah has all the power and does what he wants to do.  But the people of Iran are getting unhappy with the way their government rules over them and has basically isolated them from the outside world.  During the Arab Spring in 2011, the people of Iran attempted to stand up to their government, but they were thwarted by the military.  Though President Obama says that we stand with the Iranian people, he wasn’t making that type of bold declaration or trying to help them at that time when they needed it more than ever.

So as I sit here and continue to read the book on the War of 1812, and keep seeing the war cry “Canada! Canada! Canada!”, I can’t help but to hear the same type of cry now from today’s war hawks.  “Iran! Iran! Iran!” should not be a cry for war.  It should be a cry to the people of that country that we will not turn a blind eye to them and that their future is in their hands.  If their own parents could overthrow a government, why can’t they do it?  Maybe… or hopefully… we’ve learned from our past mistakes.  And I’m not just referencing the War of 1812, but also with not supporting them last year when they tried to rise up against their authoritarian government.

By the time the War of 1812 was declared by the US, it’s main reasons were already nullified.  But because of the slow communications of the time, no one here knew about it until after we had declared war.  Today’s communications are a lot faster, so hopefully we can use that to our advantage this time around.  Talks between Israel and Iran have started, but are only at the beginning.  The US should get involved with them, as well.  At least try to start a dialogue to open the lines of communications so that maybe we can avoid a war over something that is misunderstood.  Even during the Cold War (especially after the Cuban Missile Crisis), there were direct talks between the US and the Soviet Union so that war could be avoided… especially nuclear war.  I also find it interesting that only one country has used a nuclear weapon for offensive reasons… the US when it dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Out of all the other countries that have nuclear capabilities, none of them have ever even used them.  Pakistan and India have come close a few times over their history, but have backed away from the brink.  Cooler heads must prevail in this situation.  The war hawks need to be silenced (unlike 2003 and the war in Iraq).  This is not the time to launch into anything without thinking it through.  Sure, Iran should not have a nuclear weapon, but an outright war probably won’t accomplish the end goal.  It would probably just fuel their reasons for needing it all the more.  If we don’t learn from our own history, that war cry from 1812 is going to be heard again, and though the nation might be different, the end result could be the same.

PREVIOUS ENTRY:
Persian Rug

LINKS:
Yahoo! News
CNN
“1812: The War That Forged A Nation”

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4 Responses to “Canada! Canada! Canada!”

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