More Soldiers Die in Afghanistan
This week has seen three more Canadian soldiers die in Afghanistan. This is part of the price being paid as Canada, as part of Nato, tries to meets it commitment to help the Afghanistan government establish security and contribute to reconstruction efforts in than troubled land.
globeandmail.com: Canada's National Newspaper
As a pacifist, I am of mixed feeling toward out effort in Afghanistan. I wish our country was contributing more toward the reconstruction effort than doing the fighting. In the Kandahar area, Canada finds itself in the thick of it; in an area where insurgents are concentrating their efforts. It would be wonderful if Afghanistan can be made secure and progress as a Nation. Military action will never accomplish this, a political solution needs to be found. In the meantime, military deaths occur.
I am trying to avoid discussing the issue for Canada being involved in this foreign war. Most Canadians are opposed, particularly in Quebec. The commitment is to be there to 2009. There will be pressure by some to see this commitment extended. We all know the 69th soldier to die will not be the last.
I am pleased how Canada treats the death of soldiers and publically shows respect. The Harper Conservative government originally tried to emulate the American policy of the Bush Administration (this government seems to spend most of its time trying to garner favour with Bush and company, to their shame) by not allowing the press to cover the returning of the coffins of the dead soldiers.
Canadians would have none of it, particularly the families of the dead soldiers. The government were forced to reverse their decision. Now each soldier is honoured and the news covers their return to Canada. In Afghanistan, there is a public ceremony in which Canadian troops along with others, American, British, Dutch etc who are based near Kandahar, assemble to salute and see their fallen comrades off. Then when the coffin arrive in the Trenton Base, there is another ceremony at which the Canadian government is represented at the highest level. The Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers and very often Governor General. The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean Governor General of Canada / Gouverneur général du Canada is present to support of the grieving familym representing the rest of us. There is always , at least, a brief item of this on the National news.
The Canadian attitude seems to be "These are our young men." "Their deaths are deaths in the family." We want to know and support the family and honour the sacrifice in the name of Canada, in a very public way. As a nation we grieve and discuss the wisdom of this military commitment.
One thing that has impressed me are the comments by fellow soldiers, often officers responsibe for the dead soldiers. They are show obviously deeply moved and on the verge of crying. (Yes! big boys do cry!) Things are not smoothed over. After they praise the soldiers and acknowledge the pain they admit they are professional soldiers who "will grieve today, suck it up tomorrow and get on with the job they are well trained to do."
How Canada has handled this contrasts sharply with the way American's have handled the returning of there dead soldiers, largely our of public view. I assume to limit public debate of the wisdom of the military adventure. Canada decided this debate is not to be avoided and as a country we need to share in the pain of military loses incured in our name.
I invite you to read about some of these men and women who have died in Afghanistan globeandmail.com: Canada's Fallen