Thursday, July 16, 2009

Afghanistan: Canada's Forgotten War

Another dead Canadian soldier. Another Sébastien from my favourite regiment. Another Québécois who died for Canada.

In a country where so many hate them.

Another poll that shows that support for the war is slipping.

But doesn't mean anything because we're there until 2011 whether we like it or not. And for the troops we support, that's going to be a long time.

So much longer than the day or so of debate it took to extend their mission.

Another day in a war that Canadians would rather forget. And the media doesn't cover.

"...There is little reason to suspect that the Afghanistan mission is an especially heavy load on the Conservative government, since it has already agreed with the opposition Liberals to bring the mission to a close in 2011 and the debate has largely fallen out of the media discourse...”

So we get mushy platitudes,while others get a harder truth.

The current state-building project, at the heart of our policy, is justified in the most instrumental terms – not as an end in itself but as a means towards counter-terrorism.

US generals have spoken openly about wanting a combined Afghan army-police-security apparatus of 450,000 soldiers....

Such a force would cost $2 or $3 billion a year to maintain; the annual revenue of the Afghan government is just $600 million. We criticise developing countries for spending 30 per cent of their budget on defence; we are encouraging Afghanistan to spend 500 per cent of its budget.

The truth we'd rather avoid.

Oh well. Support our brave soldiers. Wish them luck because they are going to need it.

You know the motto on the badge of the Royal 22e Régiment is Je Me Souviens.

But when Canada's forgotten war is finally over.

What will we remember?

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