Chronicling Canada’s angst in Afghanistan.

They sent Toronto Star reporter Rosie Dimanno to Afghanistan to report on our Canadian troops.  She is no Rudyard Kipling but she was the best available.  She told us that our soldiers acted like soldiers.  They killed and were killed.  She shed a tear for those who left their blood to mark their passing.

Rosie discovered that Canadian soldiers know how to be soldiers.  She honours death and puts down peacekeeping.  She spreads the Harper government propaganda.

But we did not need to join her in her travels to know that she is wrong.  For the past two hundred years, nobody has marched up the Khyber Pass to glory.  The Brits, in their red coats, marched to Afghanistan and died.  The Russians, with their brutality, died.  The Americans searched for Osama bin Laden and died.  There is no honour to be gained in Afghanistan.  There are opium growers and warlords.  They are neither good friends nor worthy enemies.

Canada went to Afghanistan to please the Americans.  Canada went at the cost of soldiers lives.  It is hard to accept the cost.

When Canadians went to fight the Boers with the Brits, when they joined in the salient at Ypres, when they were the cannon fodder for the raid on Dieppe, took arms for the United Nations in Korea, they answered the call.  Through world wars and police actions, Canadians have more than proved themselves as warriors.  We hardly needed to add the dust of Afghanistan to prove anything to anybody.

The Harper government played up the soldiers’ efforts to build schools, to help the women in a land that defies time and the training provided its police.  All of it is for naught.  Memories fade fast in a land without conscience.

When the last soldier is home, Canadians will also forget.  There will be no monuments, no battle flags and no day of remembrance for Afghanistan.  We achieved nothing.  We gained no honour.   We let soldiers die for nothing.  Can we remember shame?

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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