Two more dead Canadian soldiers. Roadside bomb. Panjwai District where we supposedly crushed the Taliban not that long ago. Three others wounded. 106 dead to date, no idea how many hundreds maimed and ruined.
It's time Stephen Harper explained what we're going to accomplish in Afghanistan, something tangible to give these lost lives meaning. The rate we're losing soldiers is steadily picking up - as our professed objectives wane and blur.
Nobody, not even Harper, is talking about a democratic Afghanistan any more. That was never more than so much political bullshit from a guy whose greatest accomplishment is to deliver political bullshit by the bushel basket straight to your door.
It's 2008. We were supposed to be out of that goddamned mess next year. Now that's been stretched out to 2011 and, even then, there's no reliable assurance we'll have our people out as that deadline proves as irrelevant as those before it.
What exactly are we buying and for whom with all those lives and all the lives that we'll be sacrificing over the next three years plus? Marking time isn't enough.
It's the disease of Western military commands in the post-Soviet era. No clearly defined objectives, constantly shifting goal posts, no time lines - no targets to meet, no targets to miss.
This is classic guerrilla war. If we don't annihilate the enemy, the enemy wins. We have all the watches, they have all the time. Time is on their side, not ours.
It's time for clear, understandable commitments and clear, understandable timelines. We need metrics to define the mission. Without them, incompetent political and military leadership cannot be held to account. Without them we cannot separate victory from failure.
The insurgents know they can't defeat us. They know they don't have to defeat us. All they need to do is to survive long enough to make us realize we have failed. We'll reach the point of failure long before we come to accept it as fact. There's a very good chance we've already passed that point.
We're defending a house that's already been burned to its foundations. The house we're defending is the national government in Kabul. It has become barely more than a criminal enterprise despised by its people for its corruption and for preying on them.
Loathe as our politicians and generals are to admit it, we can't stay forever any more than we can stay the failed course of the past seven years.
Some will say that we cannot leave because that would render meaningless the lives already lost. It would mystically dishonour their ultimate sacrifice. Rubbish! It's not the leaving that will determine the worth of their sacrifice. Staying won't validate the next hundred or two hundred deaths, the next thousand maimed, either.