Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Dead and For What?
How many more? I asked myself that yesterday on reading about the latest Canadian soldier to die of wounds sustained in Afghanistan.
Three more? A dozen, two dozen, perhaps four dozen, even more? I expect that's up to the Taliban, them and the rotting, putrid carcass of a central government in Kabul. Each of them - our enemy and our supposed ally - play a direct role in every Canadian or British or American combat death in Afghanistan.
The Karzai government is instrumental in the killings of Canadian soldiers. Its rank corruption and its police and security agencies that prey upon the Afghan public increase sympathy and support for the rebels. Karzai & Company ensure there'll never be a viable Afghan National Army capable of defending that country and allowing our forces to leave on our terms.
What for? My second question. It rests with our generals to lead our soldiers into battle but it's the direct responsibility of our political leadership to guarantee that they're fighting - and dying - for something meaningful, worthwhile.
For the past four years, during which the overwhelming majority of Canadian losses have been suffered, it has been Stephen Harper's responsibility to ensure that there was lasting meaning and true worth to each dead soldier's life. Just killing Taliban wasn't enough, it never was.
But Steve didn't hold up his end. He didn't even try. Worse yet, he exploited those deaths and sought to use them to his political advantage and to undermine his already hapless opposition. Steve used those dead and wounded and he gave nothing back.
Layton and Ignatieff have nothing to crow about either. Jack did say that we should talk to the Taliban (as though the Talibs are remotely interested in talking to us) but that was just Jack passing wind through his mouth. Bad as Jack is, Iggy is far worse. His Liberals are now demanding that Canadian troops stay on after 2011 in Afghanistan but just in a "training" role instead of a combat role. Every role in Afghanistan is a combat role. We don't get to decided that. The Taliban decide that because they bring the fight to us. Most of our people are killed by IEDs, by booby-traps, only they're not concealed on jungle trails like in Vietnam, they're laid right out on the roadsides where our troops have to pass whether they're on a training mission or a combat patrol.
I don't want any more Canadian lives squandered on Afghanistan, not one more. Their deaths are not heroic, they're simply tragic and entirely unjustifiable. That we keep asking our soldiers to go bravely to such meaningless deaths is beyond tragic, it's criminal. And for that, we're all accountable.