Anyone reading the plethora of information and opinion in MSM and blogs about the flag-lowering debate can easily be overwhelmed and confused.
Emotions run high and opinions are ranging everywhere from sympathy for the families' perceived outrage, to firm acceptance of the directive that earlier protocol should be re-instated.
Clearly this situation is a political football with opposition screaming foul, and media feeling further alienated by a related decision not to allow coverage of the returning bodies.
Calgary Sun columnist Licia Corbella highlights the best argument for supporting the government's decision to keep the flag flying high:
"Exactly 60,661 Canadian soldiers died in the First World War, at a time when the entire population of Canada was barely eight million. Almost 43,000 Canadians perished in the Second World War in a country of 11.5 million.
If we lowered the flag one day for everyone of those who gave all in those two great wars the flag atop the Peace Tower would have to have been lowered starting in 1914 and we'd have more than 190 years to go.
That would render the lowering of the flag to utter meaninglessness and morbidity."
Somewhere else I read the concern that if the flag ends up in perpetual half-mast state, would we then be arguing about quarter-mast positioning?
Today's Toronto Sun has a brilliant editorial suggesting that instead of all this rhetoric and discussion, let's get on with funding the troops properly. This will honour the dead in a far more productive manner:
"...until we properly compensate and care for all those who serve, and served, in our military, we will never truly honour our war dead. Talk is cheap. It’s now time for action."
Liberal defense critic Ujjal Dosanjh is accusing the government of aligning itself too close to U.S. policy:
"It's extremely disturbing that this government would take a page out of [U.S. President George] Bush's modus operandi," Mr. Dosanjh said.
Personally, I think this is another area where the "steely resolve" that George Bush attributed to Stephen Harper during their talks about softwood lumber will serve us all well.
'Dithering' with the Taliban is not an option.