It was less than a month ago when I explored the soft media push for how awesome it would be for Canadian troops to stay in Afghanistan after our Kandahar mission ends next year. That provided good cover for the announcement that we’re now considering just that.
Canada is considering NATO and allied requests to keep troops in Afghanistan past 2011 to conduct non-combat training missions, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Sunday.
Mr. MacKay said the government would likely make a decision in the coming weeks in the run-up to the Nov. 18 NATO leaders’ summit in Portugal.
Mr. MacKay stressed that any such mission would take place out of Kandahar province, where fighting is fiercest and would be “behind the wire” — military parlance for non-combat mission.
The overall context of this government’s view of the Canadian Forces, which isn’t really all that different from the Liberals’, shows up quite succinctly in Twitter:
Lest we forget: Harper & CPC support war, they do not support troops. #cdnpoli #veterans
In reality, with all the news about our government’s neglect and abuse of veterans and troops, it’s clear that the government is a troop basher and manipulator.
And as we all start wearing our poppies this month, we should do more than find ways of keeping them from falling off. We should walk the talk of supporting our troops.
Whether or not we support the current or any future missions in Afghanistan, Haiti or elsewhere, we owe something to the people who are willing to risk their lives for Canadians, or for whatever mission our politicians send them on. That means respecting their needs, supporting the chronic PTSD, not criminalizing them and acknowledging that as a society we appreciate selfless sacrifice. And as a small symbol of recognition, how about giving veterans more than one week of free civic parking each year.