This week marks the end of Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan. More than 2800 soldiers will be returning to their relieved families. 157 will not, along with a Canadian journalist, a diplomat and two aid workers. So here’s my question.
Was it worth it?
Do the families of the lost soldiers and civilians think so? Do you?
What about the soldiers who return forever marked by the war, physically and emotionally? Was this war worth it to them?
Canada’s combat involvement is over, but our country will continue to help out in Afghanistan as the people in this war-torn region carry on trying to cope with strife that has marked the area for thousands of years. The war is not over for the Afghanis. But are things better because Canadians were there?
I’ve written here before about the soldiers we’ve lost to this war. I grew up in a nation that was known around the world for its peacekeeping role in war-torn regions, and I opposed this war from the start. I marched against Canada’s military involvement [a futile gesture, some would say, for all the good it did in swaying the government], and the intervening years have not changed my mind. I just can’t see today, upon our withdrawal, how our military involvement has helped things in any way.
Here’s what I’m asking. If you _do_ believe Canada’s military involvement has made a difference to the people of Afghanistan [as opposed to any peace-keeping or strictly rebuilding efforts this country has made], please leave a comment. I would dearly love to know that the lives of those 157 Canadians and 4 civilians were given for a real, valid reason. Or many of them. If you don’t know of any positive result, I challenge you to ask your friends — ask someone who knows more than I about the value of Canada’s military intervention in Afghanistan. I promise to publish any and all comments.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and would really appreciate your thoughts. My own thoughts today go to the families of those who will not return.
Edited to add: Okay, so from my perspective, the only positive to come out of Canada’s role in this war is the art that has emerged. Meg Tilly wrote a beautiful book called PORCUPINE about a young girl whose father is killed in Afghanistan. The rapper K’naan performs a gorgeous song called PEOPLE LIKE ME which has a segment devoted to a Canadian soldier fighting in Afghanistan. And CBC radio has been running the remarkable series AFGHANADA for five long seasons, which has dramatized the lives of Canadian soldiers fighting in the war.
Can you suggest any good that has come out of this terrible war?