Sunday 10 February 2008


I just got back from the airport to see off a relative who is deploying this week on her second tour in Afghanistan. Although she volunteered to go, I can't say that she is looking forward to it. Nobody wants to be over there. War is a terrible thing, but sometimes it is necessary, and going to war is not something you can do in a half-assed sort of way. If a nation decides to go to war, it needs to commit to the objective and follow-though. Yes, our NATO allies should be contributing more (I'm talking to you, Germany and France), but their lack of support doesn't mean we should abandon the field and the leave the mission to failure.

I find it odd, and a little bit insulting really, that the people who are most vocally opposed to the mission seem to be people who generally have no personal stake in the mission. Progress is being made in Afghanistan despite what you might read in the press sometimes, and I personally don't want the efforts of our forces to potentially be in vain, by backing out of a mission when we are still needed. We may prefer to think of ourselves as a nation of peace keepers, but we have a proud history of excelling in a combat role when called upon. Now is one of those times.

Then there are those who don't have a clear position at all. Stephane Dion has been insisting that the combat role must end in February of 2009. On CTV's Question Period today he insisted that we must rotate out and let "some other countries" take over the combat role. Who those other countries might be, he doesn't say. He wants to stay to help with reconstruction, but he doesn't seem to understand that reconstruction can't happen without the security provided by the combat operation. But at the same time, he seems very hesitant to fight an election on this issue, giving the impression that he may in the end capitulate. This uncertainty and waffling is nothing new though, as Darcy demonstrates quite well over at the Broom. It will be interesting to see what he does when it comes time for a vote, and if Ignatieff follows along should Dion decide to take a stand on this issue.

By the way, I encourage you to check out The Torch -- probably the best website for a look at Afghanistan from a Canadian perspective.


Anonymous said...

You say war is sometimes necessary. Some would dispute that. I won't, for now.

Explain why this Afghanistan war is necessary.

cherenkov said...

Both of the two largest political parties, representing the majority of Canadians in Ottawa, voted in favour of the mission. If you had a concern about whether the war is necessary, that's something you should have asked your elected officials about several years ago.

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