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Canada’s Contribution to the Struggle in Afghanistan

January 16, 2009

This post was sent to me ages ago by Red Rambler, who asked me to post it on our blog. Thanks so much RR for taking an interest in us, and I’m sorry to have been so delinquent in putting it up…

The following commentary refers to remarks made by Fred Kaplan, journalist and contributor to Slate magazine, on the Bill Moyer’s Journal television program of Nov. 14/08

Fred Kaplan said, referring to NATO in Afghanistan that, “…they go down to the south. Taliban come out to play. And they say, “Oh, well listen, I said I’d come. But, no, I’m not gonna fight at night. I’m not gonna fight on the ground. I’ll fight in the north but not in the south.” …if they’re not going to put lives on the line, they’ve got to put money on the line.”

This sweeping, appalling generalization does an injustice to the sacrifice of lives and the commitment of significant resources that Canada and other NATO countries are making in Afghanistan. Mr. Kaplan should know better.

As of Oct. 6/08 Canada has 2500 troops deployed in southern Afghanistan at an estimated cost in excess of 24 billion. To put this in perspective, Canada has a population 1/10th of that of the US. On a per-capita basis, Canada’s troop commitment to the fight is higher than that of America (US has deployed 20,600 as of Oct6/08).

Canada has mourned the loss of 97 lives in Afghanistan The US has suffered 627 casualties of it’s sons and daughters. Based on the number of troops each country has committed to the fight, Canada has a significantly higher casualty rate than that of it’s US ally.

The Bill Moyer’s Journal is known for its thoughtful social commentary and analysis. It is unfortunate that Mr. Kaplan, as a guest commentator did not rise to the occasion

~ Red Rambler

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