Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

COUNTING THE COSTS: CANADA’S LONGEST WAR

Posted by strattof on January 13, 2011

At nine years and counting, Afghanistan is already the longest war Canadians have every engaged in. Now the war in Afghanistan has once again been extended, this time until 2014. Even that date is not a firm deadline. When will it end? The costs of this war are already too high:

HUMAN COSTS

  • 154 Canadian soldiers have already been killed in Afghanistan. 2,949 Canadian Forces members and veterans are currently being paid disability benefits for wounds and injuries received in Afghanistan.
  • According to a United Nations report, civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose by 20% in the first 10 months of 2010. Over that period, 2,412 Afghan civilians were killed in conflict-related incidents and 3,803 were injured. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said:  “Civilians continue to bear the brunt of intensified armed conflict.”

 DOLLAR COSTS

  • By the end of 2011, Canada will have spent $18.1 billion on the war in Afghanistan.
  • This is money that could have been spent on health care, education, and affordable housing.

OPPORTUNITY COSTS

  • What $18.1 billion will get you:
  1.  4 years worth of healthcare for every Saskatchewan resident, or
  2. 4 years worth of tuition for every Canadian university undergraduate, or
  3. 2.7 million affordable housing units–more than enough to house Canada’s 300,000 homeless people, as well as to provide affordable housing to the 1.5 million Canadian households spending more than one third of their income on rent, putting them at significant risk of losing their housing.
  • What could have been done with the lives lost in Afghanistan?

FUTURE COSTS

  • It is estimated that another three years of war will cost Canadians a total of $1.5 billion. This is money that can still be spent on health care, education, and affordable housing. It might even be used to pay down the debt.
  • How many more lives will be lost in Afghanistan?

WHEN WILL IT END?

  • When we start listening to what Afghan people are saying. The Canadian government claims we are fighting for democracy in Afghanistan. Why, then, are we not listening to the Afghan people, 83% of whom, according to a recent poll, support reconciliation with the Taliban?
  • When we take action. Email your MP and tell him Canada should work for peace, instead of preparing for further decades of endless and fruitless war:

Ray Boughen, Palliser: boughr@parl.gc.ca           

Tom Lukiwski, Regina-Lumsden: lukiwt@parl.gc.ca

Ralph Goodale, Wascana: Goodale.R@parl.gc.ca          

Andrew Scheer, Regina Qu’Appelle: scheea@parl.gc.ca

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