Thursday, December 31, 2009

Four soldiers plus reporter dead in Afghanistan

The end of another year ... and more deaths in Afghanistan; this time four soldiers and a reporter were killed by a roadside bomb. The death of Michelle Lang of the Calgary Herald is, far as I can find out, the first time a Canadian journalist has been killed in the line of duty since 1998 when Tara Singh Hayer was shot to death at his home, for courageously reporting about extremists in the Vancouver area Sikh community to which he belonged.

The price of war is a pretty steep one and as ever we need to consider the costs. It's understandable that soldiers, airmen and sailors will get caught up in the conflict but it is totally senseless when a journalist or a worker with an NGO is kidnapped or killed in cold blood. As long as we're there -- and frankly, propping up a corrupt government and a drug trade totally out of control are not reasons to stay there -- but as long as we are there, we need to do everything we can to ensure aid workers and embeds are to the maximum extent protected. War is war, but killing a civilian for no other reason than he or she is doing the job assigned should be treated as a war crime; and those responsible for killing Canadian journalists or foreign aid workers should be captured (if possible) and brought to justice -- in Canada. It might be different if there was even a semblence of a legal system in that part of the world; but where it can't be trusted to provide fair and due process then the need to have justice served where it actually exists becomes obvious.
As we head towards the 2011 deadline, here's hoping there are no more deaths either military or civilian although that may be, sadly, too much to hope for.

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The Rat said...

A war crime? Buddy, she was riding in an armoured vehicle, with soldiers, and really big guns. She knew she was riding in a target and she chose to do it anyway. In fact, the idea of "maximum protection" would cause those same reporters to scream bloody murder. As long as journalists insist on reporting from the front and embedding with soldiers they will be legitimate targets of the enemy. Journalists are not, NOT, the Red Cross.

The real shame of this is that she is the first reporter to die. That shows clearly that Canadian reporters are not generally interested in the real stories and instead prefer to sit safely inside the wire. I am sorry this reporter has been killed and she was doing the job I wish more reporters would do, but even for her this was her first trip outside the wire. She was no Ernie Pyle. We have no Ernie Pyle's anymore.

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