Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

8TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

Posted by strattof on October 22, 2009

8th ANNIVERSARY

OF THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

Eight years ago this month, on October 7 2001, Canadian troops first landed in Afghanistan. Now, after eight long years of war, the commander of US and NATO forces, General Stanley McChrystal, is calling for more troops. The last troop surge sent casualties on both sides soaring.

 Eight years of war have killed 134 Canadians, 1,272 other NATO soldiers, 10,000+ Afghan civilians, and untold thousands of Afghan soldiers.  

 Eight years of war have cost Canadian taxpayers $22 billion, money that could have been spent on health care, education, and poverty reduction.   

 Eight years of war have failed to bring the promised democracy, development, and peace to Afghanistan. According to a government report released in September, Kandahar province, where Canadians are fighting, is becoming more violent, less stable, and less secure by the month.

 Meanwhile, pressure grows on Canadians to extend the war beyond 2011, the supposed end-date to our combat mission:

  •  US government officials have been sounding out power brokers in Ottawa looking for advice on how to convince Canada to keep military forces in Afghanistan after 2011.
  •  NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has asked Canada to reconsider leaving in 2011.
  •  In September, Prime Minister Harper said that Canada will remain beyond 2011 to engage in “a civilian humanitarian, development mission,” though officials admit that development work in Afghanistan requires combat troops for security.
  •  Just this week, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said that a post-2011 military role remains an option for Canada and that a 300 soldier armed and armoured reconstruction team could be kept in Afghanistan beyond the deadline.

  These voices call for Canadians to start another decade of US-led warfare in Afghanistan in 2012, more than ten years after the current war began.

 When will it end?

 The incoming British Army Chief has said “stabilizing” Afghanistan could take four decades.

 NATO chief Fogh Rasmussen says “We will stay in Afghanistan as long as it takes to finish our job.”

 When will it end?

 When the majority gets its way. Most Canadians oppose the Afghanistan war, and want their country to chart a different course.

 When we change direction. War-supporters have had many years and many millions of dollars to prove violent conflict can solve the problems of Afghanistan and the wider world: their path has led nowhere.

 When we take action.  E-mail your MP and tell him Canada should work for peace, instead of preparing for further decades of war: Ray Boughen (bougenr@parl.gc.ca); Ralph Goodale (goodale@ sasktel.net); Tom Lukiwski (lukiwt@parl.gc.ca); Andrew Scheer (scheea@parl.gc.ca). 

  “This is not the way we put an end to war.”

Buffy Sainte-Marie, Universal Soldier 

MAKING PEACE VIGIL October 1 2009

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