Friday, July 06, 2007

I.E.D.s - Q.E.D.

Hot on the heels of M.A.D. and W.M.D. comes I.E.D. (Improvised Explosive Device) into the acronymic lexicon of the modern world.
I.E.D.s - roadside bombs, land-mines and suicide attacks - are the current tactic of choice among the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, and are proving particularly effective in recent months against Canadian soldiers (I won't say peace-keepers, I don't think that describes their role very accurately any more).
According to the Globe and Mail, Canada has about 2,500 soldiers in Afghanistan (fourth behind the US's 17,000, the UK's 6,700 and Germany's 3,000). But, upto today, they rank second in deaths, with 67 after the US's 408, (not including the innumerable Afghan soldiers, police and civilians, of course - some reports suggest about 8,600 Afghan soldiers and 3,500 civilians, although the figures are necessarily unreliable).
19 of the 22 Canadian deaths this year were from I.E.D.s, compared to 7 out of 37 in 2006, which bodes ill for the rest of the year.
As the Canadian death toll mounts, calls for a pull-out become increasingly loud with the NDP's Jack Layton being the most outspoken, calling for an immediate recall, despite Canada's NATO obligation to remain there for at least 2 more years. Words like "unwinnable" and "pointless" are increasingly bandied about.
My feeling (as it is on most issues for that matter) is similar to that of John Moore of CFRB NewsTalk 1010, that, whether or not we should be in Afghanistan in the first place, we are committed to NATO until 2009. After that, we have done our bit for a cause which is looking more and more lost, and pulling out would be no shame but more analogous to the end of our shift and the start of some other poor country's shift.

No comments: