One of the victims was from the town of Wingham, which is a relatively short drive from where I live. As a result, a story with major national impact has had significant local impact as well. I could almost anticipate the knee-jerk responses to get our soldiers out of Afghanistan, so I thought I'd write something that at least tries to inject a bit more balance into the discussion.
Deaths offer no easy answer - or exitYour turn: Do we bring them home or do we keep them there? At what point does the global community of nations' obligation to help those in crisis cease? How do we define justified and unjustified sacrifice?
Published Tuesday, April 25, 2006
The London Free Press
The deaths of Cpl. Matthew Dinning and three other Canadian soldiers in an Afghanistan roadside bomb attack makes it easy for Canadians to say now is the time to bring our soldiers home. If only it were so easy.
The 16 Canadians who have died in this mission to Afghanistan won't be the last. Expect more small towns to grieve their lost sons and daughters in a war whose boundaries remain unclear to those of us who don't serve.
Our soldiers are in Afghanistan to help rebuild the country and establish a foothold for democracy. That's easier said than done in a region wracked by generations of war, tribal conflict and poverty. Afghani drug-growers, warlords and terrorists thrive on this chaos, and won't easily be cowed.
Dinning died for a mission that he believed in. Turning tail and running would betray the dreams of those who have died. Yet sustaining open-ended losses won't realize that dream any sooner.
Canadians must begin discussing how to quantify our successes in the region, and how much we're willing to lose before we've decided enough is enough.