Saturday, August 05, 2006

Afghanistan: Are we done yet?

Yesterday, as Canada buried its most recent soldier killed in Afghanistan, we lost 4 more. On a personal level, I have a friend whose son is in the Princess Patricia's Infantry stationed over there, so when it was first announced that 4 members of Princess Pat's out of Edmonton had been killed, I freaked. It turned out that my friend's son was not among the dead, but still. While I breathed a sigh of relief, somewhere in Canada 4 families and and their friends were grieving. What did these kids die for?

It's been almost 5 years since the start of the war in Afghanistan. In its early stages, it was a war that even I could get behind -- mission: get rid of the al qaeda camps, capture the OBL crew and imprison them for the 9/11 attacks. The camps are still around in a different incarnation, and the OBL crew lives on, as evidenced by their videos. The taliban no longer rules but they're around as an insurgency. In spite of a puppet government installed in Kabul, Afghanistan is in anarchy , run by warlords and drug cartels. So really not that much has been accomplished, and it pisses me off beyond words that young Canadian kids are dying -- for what? Canada wouldn't even need to be there if the US had done Afghanistan right to start with. But the US had higher priorities in Iraq, so only sent a fraction of the troops really needed in Afghanistan.

I wonder what Afghanistan would look like today if the US had taken the war there seriously instead of using it as a precursor to the war in Iraq. If they'd sent in 200,000 troops, and used the $300 billion spent on Iraq for Afghanistan. I'd be willing to bet it would be no more than a peacekeeping mission at this point. If I were PM Steve, I would insist that before we deploy one more Canadian soldier, the US start living up to its commitment in Afghanistan. Our kids shouldn't be dying in Afghanistan because the US wants to be in Iraq.