And The Number Of Dead Is….

…..43. 43 Canadians have died so far in Afghanistan.

I have read a comment again and again that in the second world war no one pointed out how many have died in Juma beach or in other fights in Europe. If they had, we would have lost the war.

What the idiots making this claim fail to comprehend is that THIS IS NOT A WORLD WAR in the conventional sense. There is no us or them in this war. There are no mighty armies to fight against. There are no Panzers. No Luftwaffe. No artillery. There is no black or white in this war but shades of grey. And shades of grey means that this world war is a political war. Each time a soldier is killed in Afghanistan, the insurgents make a political statement. And a political statement has a habit of reverberating at the home country and that’s why some citizens are asking WHY.

To be absolutely clear, I am totally for Canadians being in Afghanistan. That country desperately needs help and we are in a position to help. If we don’t, we are essentially turning our backs on fellow human beings.

But there are problems.

Everyone knows the timeline of events by now :

> 9/11,
> World condemnation of Taliban,
> NATO and UN sign up to do what they can to rout Taliban out of Afghanistan,
> After the routing of Taliban world agrees to assist US in rebuilding Afghanistan,
> US says it’s got other things to do and gets out of Afghanistan leaving the world to take care of Afghanistan,
> World does not provide enough support to Afghanistan mission after it sees that US washed it’s hands off the embattled country.
> Most of the countries in Afghanistan keep their troops away from the hotspots in Afghanistan as a sign of protest over US’s attitude.

And that’s the problem that Canada faces now. It went into Afghanistan and the behest of NATO, gung ho that we are helping fellow Americans in a humanitarian mission and now it cannot walk away from a detererioting situation and it’s pleas to other countries to provide support in form of troops and materials has so far fallen on deaf ears.

The leadership of Canada instead of addressing precisely these issues is instead taking a hard line stance saying it can complete the work without external help. Although Peter McKay (our foreign minister) has been heard pleading other countries to contribute to the mission, so far the official stance in Ottawa is that we can go it alone.

And that’s what’s eating me.

If US and other countries decide that they want to stay in safe areas in Afghanistan, then we should make more noise about it and threaten to pull out. Use the might of Canadian diplomacy to change the minds of our allies (and there is no evidence that this tact has been used). Use better equipment to provide help to our troops (why the hell aren’t tanks being used in dangerous areas?). Define what exactly are our troops doing there. Are they there to provide cover to support missions (most of the attacks
have occurred when Canadians are providing cover to road building teams etc.)? Or are they there to maintain peace and security? No one knows. One day the Canadian politicians say they are there to provide cover and the next day they are there to maintain the security.

This confusion will not help our mission in Canada. We need stronger leadership than the one we have currently. And I don’t see one individual capable of providing such a leadership in the political landscape.

I hope to god that the deaths of 43 soldiers is justified in the end.

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