Thursday, August 21, 2008

93 plus one

Three engineers with the Canadian Forces were killed by a roadside bomb today. That makes the total number of personnel wearing the Maple Leaf KIA 93 since 9/11 -- 94, if you include the one civilian killed in the line of duty, a diplomat.

This has been a very bad week for NATO. Earlier in the week, 10 soldiers from France and 3 from Poland were also killed. I suppose, indeed I know, casualties are the price of war. But we've now been involved longer in Afghanistan than the fronts in either Europe or the Pacific during World War II, and the results have been far less than satisfactory.

It's a double edged sword -- we absolutely need to smash the terrorists, particularly in Afghanistan. But we have also seen no net gains in that front nor in development. As we creep up to the morbid total of 100, it will become a pre-election and election issue as it seems we may have a general election in November or December.

We've made a commitment to be there until 2011 and we should of course keep it. But people will also demand that Afghanistan not become a money pit, and it is up to the incumbent government to explain why we haven't met our goals of diplomacy and development as well as defence.

But talking doesn't seem to come easy to the hawks in the Harper government. Without compromising national security, surely we need to have assurances that we're getting our money's worth -- and so far, we haven't gotten any of that.

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James Curran said...

95 if you count that wonderful young lady that was an aid worker and was killed last week.

BlastFurnace said...

James, the running total most are using normally only includes government employees. That being said, I totally agree that we shouldn't forget the contributions of those working in NGOs and putting their lives on the line, either.

In fact it's that death that you refer to, that's really troubling. When a belligerent group turns on third-party groups that are or at least attempting to be absolutely impartial, it defines the morality of the attackers as well as sets the parameters of the stakes.

Many of us still remember the Canadian Red Cross worker who was murdered in an ambush in Chechnya a few years back, by people of the same mindset as the Taliban (i.e. misogynist). And Chechnya is right next door to ... the Republic of Georgia.