I am pretty much a pacifist, so don't get me wrong here, but with all the headlines I am looking at these days it is not clear to me what is being implied: Are we to think it a shame that our government has spent $18 billion dollars to participate in the war in Afghanistan?
I think that figure is lower than expected. Do people think war is cheap? Why don't the headlines talk about the body count instead? The answer to that is because we are in a time of "economic uncertainty" (as if the rest of the time we have economic certainty), and that this isn't about the war but about scoring a political point or two on election eve.
I don't understand how this can be used as political capital by opposition parties. Has the government not planned a slow and careful withdrawl from leading the Afghan mission? Is this not fairly responsible of them? In contrast to the American activity in Iraq I think the Canadian efforts in Afghanistan have been something to be proud of, not only because of location (Afghanistan as opposed to Iraq) but because of our willingness to go where the oil isn't, where the need is greater, where the victories are not sexy, and where the help and the dollars are hard to come by. I think that the sacrifice that Canada has made to try to promote stability in this troubled region and to go right to the front line of the actual "war on terror" is admirable.
I know war is a complex issue. But that's why it shouldn't just become a last minute stab at scoring political points. Even as a pacifist by default (and that's another discussion) I have to say that I consider the sacrifice of $18billion in tax dollars to be something we should probably see as honourable. And as I say that I realize just how much this pales in comparison with the honour of those soldiers who have given their lives in this war.
As far as it concerns the political spin this seems meant to serve, the argument could probably just as easily be made that the lowness of the price has in part been the reason for the length of the mission or the high cost in human lives. But I am not informed enough to make that argument. I just wonder what everyone thinks when they read those headlines.