Monday, July 6, 2009

122 Dead Canadian Soldiers - Obama wants more

The death of Master Cpl. Charles-Philippe Michaud on Sunday brings to one hundred and twenty two the number of Canadians who have sacrificed their lives serving Canada's war effort in Afghanistan. The number doesn't resonate the way 100 did, or the way number 200 will...but every life lost is a tragedy.

Back on February 20th of this year I predicted that U.S. president Barack Obama would eventually be calling on Canada to extend its mission beyond 2011.

And while we're not yet being asked to extend our mission date beyond 2011, only a fool would believe that request isn't coming. Obama's handling of this issue has been masterful, going to great lengths to laud our efforts while not even hinting that Ottawa will be asked to extend our combat operations. Like a good manager who lavishes praise, it will make it very difficult if not impossible to refuse when the eventual request does come. And when it does come, Canada should say no...we shouldn't even be there now.

On June 30th the Globe and Mail reported that U.S. officials are testing the waters, looking for a way to convince their Canadian counterparts to extend our mission.

"U.S. probing ways to keep Canada in Afghanistan"

As the U.S. ramps up its troop levels, and the fighting becomes more intense, we should fully expect and be prepared for an ever increasing number of causalities. Canadians are serving and dying in the most volatile region of that country, Kandahar province, an area of vital importance given the long proposed TAPI pipeline.

When the Soviets invaded this geopolitical hot spot they eventually ramped up to 200,000 troops, backed by another 200,000 Afghan communist forces. They employed the same propaganda we're hearing about fighting terrorism and the improvement of human rights. Yet even with those numbers the Soviets were forced to withdraw.

Obama is committing less than half that number, and is looking for allies to bolster the size of his forces. Pulling out now is likely an impossibility, both politically and logistically. But come 2011 we should stick to our stated objective and withdraw from all military involvement. Who knows how high our death toll will be when that date rolls around, war is an ugly affair. But as Stephen Harper has already admitted, this is an unwinnable war. Its a truth both the Russians and even Alexander the Great learned, eventually Barack Obama will learn it too.

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