October 13, 2016


Let's not exalt the folly of 1812 (JEFFREY SIMPSON, 10/11/11, The Globe and Mail)

In the annals of war, the 1812-1814 conflict was among the dumbest ever fought. It featured largely bad military leadership, vague objectives, scattered and messy battles and, critically, sizable elements on both sides of the Canadian-U.S. border that wanted the other side to win.

In the cardboard version of history taught in Canada (and the U.S.), the war was good guys against bad guys: the noble (or ignoble) British against the freedom-loving (or aggressor) Americans. We have Isaac Brock (the only competent general on either side during the entire war) and Laura Secord; the Americans have Commodore Oliver Perry and General Andrew Jackson.

In the U.S., Republicans were eager for war against Britain, whose government had authorized the boarding of American ships seeking British nationals to be returned to the British navy. Such an affront against the sovereignty of the new U.S. republic required a response: the taking of the British colonies in Canada. U.S. Federalists disagreed mightily. Britain was fighting the greater enemy, Napoleonic France. A war with Britain was against the wrong enemy, in the wrong place, for the wrong reasons.

Thousands of Americans had emigrated to what's now Canada to take advantage of the offer of free land. Although they were forced to swear allegiance to the British Crown, many of them sympathized with the republican ideals of their native country. They would have been happy if the Americans had won the war.

It was, therefore, a messy war with sharp divisions within each country that dragged native peoples into the conflict, so that they, too, were fighting among themselves. As usual, they got nothing from war, except death and broken promises.

You only have to look at how long it took for us to accept we were allies to understand why folks resist the Iran/US alliance.

Posted by at October 13, 2016 3:07 PM