Friday, December 5, 2008

One hundred

To be more accurate, one hundred soldiers plus one diplomat, so it's really now one hundred and one servants of Canada killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan, with the deaths of three more service persons.

Isn't it interesting this milestone was reached just when Parliament was prorogued? Or did DND sit on this story until the prorogation to make the opposition would be silenced? Honest to God, the fact Harper doesn't even want to debate this issue -- questioning the patriotism of those who have serious questions about the prosecution of the war -- indicates something close to ... I'm not going to use the word, but next month Parade comes out with their annual list of the world's worst leaders and don't be surprised if with this act of Mugabe-like suppression, Harper is a first-time entry.

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Archie said...

You seem to forget that the Liberals a directly responsible for about 3/4 of these deaths. They sent the troops over there, ill prepared and lousy equipment. Most of these men and woman that were kill are a result of the cuts the Liberals did.

BlastFurnace said...

There's no question about that, and I am angry at the lack of proper support. But I don't recall the prior PMs shutting down the business of Parliament so such issues couldn't be discussed.

Anonymous said...

So what are you trying to get at?

By proroguing Parliment Harper is putting our soldiers at risk?

Good grief!!

There was a discussion remember?

The Libs voted with the Tories to extend the mission till 2011. If you have a major objection to that you should think about moving here.

Accusing the military of covering up the deaths for political gain is beyond belief. Is there a full moon today?

crf said...

What makes you say that the Liberals were responsible for 3/4 of the deaths of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan?

I've never heard that before. And I suspect it is wrong on its face, since the Taliban, not the Liberals, were the ones doing most of the direct killing of Canadian soldiers. You give the impression of thrusting your hands in the burial dirt of our soldiers, who died willingly, only to smear in on Liberal members of parliament. Learn some respect, Archie. These issues can be discussed responsibly, apportioning blame and responsibility with careful consideration. Your comment wasn't doing that.

Inadequate equipment did contribute to some deaths. Some deaths would not have been prevented with better armour. And as we see now, bigger bombs blow up and kill soldiers in the best armoured vehicles: this is unfortunately a trivial change in tactics for an insurgent bomb maker.

Reduction in the rate of deaths does come from better armour, something that ought to have been forseen and acted upon by the Liberal government, which they bear responsibility for, but also, far more importantly, a change in tactics and great de-facto moderation of the mission's goals. Less patrolling, less direct engagement with the enemy, and less interaction with the afghanistan population has lead to fewer soldiers' deaths: this has been far more important in reducing deaths than any changes in equipment. It has also led to the Taliban regaining control of large parts of Afghanistan.

The U.S. has the same problem as Canada. And, to save their soldiers, resort to air strikes to try to control the Taliban. But airstrikes are less discriminatory than soldiers and result in more innocent casualties. The increase in airstrikes has only coincided with the Taliban increasing their grip in Afghanistan.

The only way to take Afghanistan back from the Taliban is direct engagement with them. The only way to keep territory is to regularly patrol it in the open, and heavily interact with the local population. But this strategy will lead to many more Canadian and American deaths. It has yet to be tried by NATO. It is what Obama has hinted at trying.

BlastFurnace said...

The timing is terrible but also so convenient for the PM. We ought to be paying tribute to the fallen, and also debating where we go from here, in the House. Under prorogation, even the unelected Senate can't meet. That says oh so much about freedom of speech in Canada.