Comments: A tale of two pictures

Cheers for the link, Debbye. :)

Posted by Paul Jané at May 5, 2005 02:15 PM

I'm curious as to the ratio between images critical of the Canadian military and those that applaud or glorify them. Are you arguing that a Canadian War Museum should never be critical of the military? Or just that such criticism shouldn't feature in what a critic of the museum calls "prominent placement"?

I haven't been to the museum, so I have no sense of the ratio or the actual placement of this painting. I'd think that an accurate history of Canada's military must include some reference to incidents such as the one depicted in the painting.

Posted by Darren at May 5, 2005 05:11 PM

You're right, Darren, it is the prominence of the picture that I find more irritating, but I also think that highlighting the actions of these two men as instances of Canadian military history gives disproportionate importance to an undisputed crime which was no more war-related than most of the crimes we see right here in Canada.

I believe that Canadian soldiers executed German soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge as a response to the German policy of "take no prisoners" during that campaign. I don't know if it was included, but it would be more in keeping with the history of Canada at war as well as instructive as to how sometimes good, decent people are required to do things they would never contemplate in their civilian lives.

Posted by Debbye at May 5, 2005 05:43 PM

I went seeking an objective report regardless the prominence of this artwork. Along the way, I found this quote from a military man who supports the museum (http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/04/27/news/canada.php):

"The simple fact is that this is a museum about war and its consequences," retired General Paul Manson, a former chief of the Canadian Defense Staff, said recently. "Canadians need not be ashamed of their involvement in armed conflict over the centuries."

Clearly he's been vetted (no pun intended) and selected by the museum's PR people, but I just thought I'd mention it.

This article, http://www.canada.com/ottawa/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=31a2078a-5bfc-4d26-b5d0-a33ee3921039, unfortunately gives no indication of the prominence of these paintings. So, I guess I'll have to wait until somebody visits and blogs about it.

Posted by Darren at May 5, 2005 06:21 PM