OUR AFGHAN MISSION EVOLVES

Listening yesterday to a Liberal MP lament the fact that Canadian soldiers are now ‘fighting George W. Bush’s war on terror’ and an NDP MP wonder aloud why Canada’s role has changed in Afghanistan really sheds some important light as to why it was so important for the Conservatives to win the last (and next) election.

What is it about providing security that some politicians do not understand? Our men and women, along with soldiers from dozens of other countries, have been given the task of protecting Afghanistan from the clutches of the taliban. They are there with the permission of the Afghan government and with the gratitude of most of the Afghan people.

There are many in Ottawa who openly bicker about Canada’s new role. Is it really a new role or simply the next phase in their mission?

We are told that Canadian soldiers should first and foremost assume the role of peace keeper. Many opposition MP’s now say that we have become peace makers and are engaged in a war in some parts of Afghanistan. Perhaps they are overanalyzing the situation.

To give an example, our police officers are also known as peace officers. That is a term that has been around for generations. Their duty is to serve and protect, and to keep the peace. Yesterday, a gunman opened fire on four policemen in Toronto’s downtown core. Their response wasn’t to simply huddle into a circle and fire into the darkness. They called in reinforcements, including an armed personnel carrier, and proceeded to seek out the combatant that had attacked them. It is only by eliminating the threat that they can provide peace to the citizens of the city.

The same is true for our troops in Afghanistan. Insurgents and taliban remnants are devastated that the world has seen fit to rout them. Their power base is crippled or non-existent and their influence is waning. They are, for the most part, finished and on the run. The large groups you have seen in the news recently are desperate attempts to regroup and to cause enough pain to send some of the softer countries aligned against them packing.

On a day to day basis, our troops are being subjected to attacks whether it is by drive by’s, suicide jockeys, or roadside bombs. There is no way to respond directly to the latter two types of attacks except to eradicate those perpetrating them before they strike. When a roadside bomb detonates, it usually leaves the party involved mortally or seriously wounded, confused, and for the most part incapacitated as a fighting unit. As a result, the one’s responsible for setting it off usually escape.

If this were happening in a city like Toronto, the response of law enforcement would be to find those responsible and to arrest (stop) them. This would end the cycle. The public, in fact, would be demanding the same. Our cops would declare war.

Why then are some politicians trying to use the safety of our troops as political capital? Our troops have every right to ensure their own safety and survival and this should be paramount. If what is needed is for our troops to engage the enemy on his own ground as a means of protecting Canadian and Afghani lives, then we should be behind them 100%.

As long as IED’s and other means of attack are being used against our peace keepers, then they should wipe out those who refuse to yield to a time of peace. It is as simple as that. To simply remain as hapless targets is plain silly.

Canadian politicians who lament the fact that we have adapted to becoming peace makers are hypocrites. They feel that it is okay for us to attempt to keep the peace that others have made, but feel we have no right to make it ourselves.

I suppose that we should hang back and let others do the dirty work? No way. Canadian men and women are some of the best at what they do and rank as top achievers in the world. Our military has always been exemplary and will continue to bring the light into the dark corners of the earth.

That is what we do.