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What's Life Worth?

Being Canadian, especially on Thanksgiving, lends itself to a certain introspection and wonderment. We aren't brash and mean, we don't run the world, or think we should, or could. We don't have uprisings, or rebellions (not anymore at least). We, as a country, are quietly passionate people, who generally believe that our country will do the right and proper thing when necessary.
We fought for peace, or at least a form of sanity, during two world wars. We continually travel the world keeping the peace, or at least trying. (Rwanda anyone?). Being Canadian has always meant helping those who need help, at least in my head it has. Anytime I toyed with the idea of joining the army, it was because I wanted to help people, not invade another country for dubious reasons.
So when I hear people questioning why our soldiers are in Afghanistan, I become angry and a little sad. Does anyone remember what was going on there, is still going on there? Women being tortured, raped, killed, girls prevented from schooling, from leaving the house, from being people. Men lived in fear, felt forced to join the group they despised in order to protect their families.
The US led invasion helped none of these things. Before the Soviets, Afghanistan wasn't the dirt hole it is now, and the recent invasion didn't help matters. Hell, it didn't even capture public enemy number one. Afghani's soldiered on, much as they always seem to have done.
Then it seems that their country was forgotten in this war on terror, they were forgotten in some quest no one understands anymore.They hung in some seemingly limbo.
And yet Canada is there to try and root out the problems, make lives better, provide funding and education, build infastructure. Our soldiers are willing to risk their lives to help rebuild a country and a people. And yet some of my countrymen think this is bad, that we're dying for no good reason?
What makes a reason then? What's a life worth? Is a life worth some oil profits, or a school for young girls who will one day grow to lead their country? Is a life worth political clout, or a town where men no longer have to fear for their families?
I have supported our troops, despite my normal leanings against us being in other countries, because we are doing what we do best-helping other people. We aren't there to rape and kill 14 year old girls. We are their to help those girls have a life. We are doing what our soldiers are known for-goodwill, compassion, bravery and skill. We are doing what Canada does. And I'm proud of that, and willing for my money to go to that, because to me, it's an essential part of being Canadian.
Do I believe that our army is underfunded, and sorely lacking in some areas? YES. But until the majority in this country come to realize what our troops really are doing in Afghanistan, they will remain so. They are fighting a war that will one day, allow a country to have it's autonomy back.

What's that worth?

For another perspective, see this article in The Star

Cross posted at vomitcomit.wordpress.com

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I can't argue with any of that.

I was fine with all of that, it was just when our focus changed from peacekeeping and repairs to helping the US with the war part of it that I got a little mad, because it seems that that's when the death toll started to rise.

I hadn't really thought of Canada in terms of the war since, well, you know the situation here in the US and with our troops.
After 9/11 I had a Russian cab driver explain what had really happened in Afghanistan from the perspective of someone in the USSR at the time, and it was amazing to hear someone come out and say that it was a mess and it was wrong. That was the first and last time I'd heard anyone talk of it that way, and it was a real eye-opener.
The US needs a serious perspective satori, and things like that conversation and this really are so important.

The problem with peacekeeping, which people tend to forget, is that sometimes it involves people dying, period.

We cannot be a functional, relevant army unless we're willing to accept that this is something worth dying for, and that as sad as it is, it will occur.

Do I want to be a pawn for the US? hell no. But is the US won't clean up their mess, someone has to do it, because people need to live there. And in order for those people to live, the "bad" people need to die.

Period.

I wish we were over there without any connection to the US, but I'd also like a pony so....

And in my heart of hearts, I wish it didn't have to be this way. But I'm a LOT happier we're in Afghanistan than Iraq.

That's for sure. At least in Afghanistan, there was a definite reason for being there.

Excellent post!

Kharzai is a puppet. A U.S. installed puppet. That really should be the end of the debate. Canadian troops should never have placed her dirty imperialist boots on Afghan soil. It is an illegal occupation. Period.

Might I suggest a reality check re Canadian forces in Afghanistan:

Abandoning Hypocricy
by Justin Podur
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=49&ItemID=11064

Like Podur my view of the Canadian military is framed by the photos of Shidane Arone being torture by our good lads.

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