The historic Christmas adage "peace to those of goodwill" takes on an attractive ring for a country that once built its international reputation on fighting to preserve peace in troubled regions. It's time for the military thinkers to come to terms with the reality that Canadians will remain a peaceful people who desire that same blessing for people around the world.
President Obama and the leaders of the world's most successful alliance, NATO, -- one that deterred nuclear war and kept the peace in Europe after centuries of conflict -- gather in Chicago this weekend to talk about the future. Obama and Prime Minister Harper should consider Mexico when they meet with other NATO leaders in Chicago.
"A lot of people don't know what goes on in the woodwork of the Forces," the Corporal tells me. "In a sense, it's good that Afghanistan happened; it allowed us to show Canadians what we do, and what their taxes are paying for. And usually, if there's a sense of animosity against the army, it's because a lot of people don't know much about us."
My heart begins to pound as I see the green sign of the beach. I see other rafts ahead and can't be sure if the troops are fast-casting off them yet until I see their bodies make small, white explosions into the water. The driver yells "Go!" and the two men behind me somersault into the water with a crash.
The captain leads me through the base to pick up my kevlar vest and helmet. The officer sitting at reception's eyes grow wide at seeing my camera dangling around my neck. Understandably, the Forces are sometimes wary of the press. Minutes later, I don not the uniform of the Canadian soldiers, but rather the one they use during exercises for "enemy" troops.
Today, veterans are coming back to a country that never really suffered during the war. Forget those elegant, top-down accounts of the noble victories of commanders. For the military employees who actually do the fighting on the ground, war is horrific beyond imagination. And the horror is coming home.