Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

6 things you should know about the war in Afghanistan

Posted by strattof on May 4, 2010



The war in Afghanistan has already lasted longer than the Second World War. To date, 145 Canadians have been killed and many thousands more have been injured.   


Over 10,000 Afghan civilians have been killed in the war, many of them women and children. Over half of them have died as a direct result of US-led/NATO military action.


The war in Afghanistan has already cost Canadians between $8 and $14 billion. This is money that could have been spent on health care, education, and affordable housing. The estimated total cost of the war is $18 billion.


This is not a war for Afghan women.Women and children are the main victims of modern warfare. ●Killing their fathers, husbands, and brothers does not liberate women. ●Like Canadian women, Afghan women have developed their own organizations and strategies to combat gender oppression.


This is not a war for democracy. Because war justifies secrecy, deception, and surveillance, democracy is one of its first casualties in all countries engaged in the conflict. ●Three years after the first allegations, we still do not know what the Canadian government knew about the torture and abuse of Afghan prisoners. According to the UN, the 2009 Afghan elections were marked by massive fraud.


A majority of Canadians want all Canadian troops withdrawn from Afghanistan. According to an Angus Reid poll taken earlier this month, 56% of Canadians are opposed to Canada’s military engagement in Afghanistan, while only 39% support it. Peace is possible. Negotiations with the Taliban, favoured by most Afghans, could end the war now.



One Response to “6 things you should know about the war in Afghanistan”

  1. Norman said

    As a historian and th son of a Canadian soldier who fought and was seriously wounded in World War II< I am throughly disgusted by the misleading comparisons made in the flyer I received at a recent vigil.

    World War II was a real, full-fledged war. The war in Afghanistan is a small part of the ongoing war on terrorism, whcih is completely differemt. Many battles in WW II involved hundreds of thousands of troops on both sides, with tens of thousands dead and MILLIONS of soldiers killed.

    As for civilian casualties, even excluding the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and all other death of civilians in enemy countries, the number of civilians killed by Allied fire in friendly countries like France, the Netherlands, and Belgium is in the hundreds of thousands – far far more than the 10000 or so toal civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

    And for point #3, if we were not invovled in Aghanistan and had allowed the Taliban and Al-Quaeda to rfemain in total countrol of that country, the danger to Canada and to other countries would have been very great indeed. We cannot stick our head in the sand like ostriches and wish the danger away. That has NEVER been the answer. All pacifism does is allow evil to win. For pacifism to work, ALL people on ALL sides must be willing to forgive and to work hard for peace. If even ONE faction does not wish peace, they will simply obliterate their now defenceless rivals.

    For point #4: The development of Afghan women's oerganizations was only possible because of the removal of the Taliban. If the Taliban were restored, these organizations would be outlawed and its members killed, under the Taliban's distorted version of Sharia.

    For point #5, it is true that the Harper government has been overly secretive on such issues. We should give the new parliamentary agreement on reports of torture of prisoners a chance to work. As for information on the number of wounded Canadian soldiers, it is hardly good for morale to receive daily, weekly or monthly reports of casualties, both major and minor. Deaths can and should be reported, and severe injuries. But we don't need to know about every scrape, cut or bruise that happen on a daily or even hourly basis.

    For point #6: peace with the taliban is NOT possible unless we restore their control of that country and allow them to dominate all who live there. If we allowed that, the next thing to follow would be the massacre of all people who duisagreed with or opposed them in any way, and the re-subjugation of women, including an end to education and freedom of any sort for girls. And as for bringing the troops home RIGHT NOW and not before the end of 2011, for one thing it takes months to organize a red-deployment, and it also takes time for other countries to re-allocate their resources to cover the gap left by our departure. That would only help the taliban to retake control of large sectors of Afghanistan, to nobody's benefit but their own.

    As a side note: if the Nazis had been in control of India during Ghandhi's campaign of peaceful protest, Ghandhi and his followers would have been massacred to the last person. Pacifism of that sort if only possible when you are dealing with a fairly reasonable regime that is subject to pressure from the opinions of its people and other nations around the world. It has no effect on regimes such as the Taliban, which rule by force and fear.

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