10 long years are finally over
Where\'s the respect?
The last Canadian soldiers from Afghanistan returned home to Canada earlier this week. Celebration! Delirious joy. Hugs and kisses from kids and spouses. Tears everywhere. It seemed endless.
The celebration marked the end of 10 years of the longest war in Canadian history, a war that cost us the lives of 162 soldiers, with more dead to come, and a stupendous $ 22 billion cost over 10 years.
As always, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was there at the airport in Ottawa for his photo shoot with the soldiers and their families, trying to steal as much of the show as he could.
Harper stands before them and although he is neither king nor queen declares by royal decree that May 9 will be a "national day of honor" to mark the end of the war in Afghanistan.
My God that man Harper was loquacious:
"This morning, as you enter back on Canadian soil. . ." he drones on.
What a speaker ! Another Winston Churchill to his troops in the making, or Charles de Gaulle at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The only thing missing is the Marseillaise or maybe Harper wrapped in a Canadian flag.
Meanwhile another very different scenario is playing out in a courthouse in Vancouver at the other end of the country.
Lawyers from the federal Justice Department, under approval from Stephen Harper, are before a judge to declare that the Canadian government is already taking good care of its veterans and that it has no more obligation to the 40,000 soldiers who served in Afghanistan than it has to any other Canadians.
Nor can lawyers for soldiers and war veterans challenge Harper’s famous «Veterans Charter " or take him to court over it.
Thank you Stephen Harper for recognizing in your own unique way the debt we owe our veterans.
The soldiers and veterans and their families at the courthouse in Vancouver, are seething. They feel they are owed big time by Canadians.
The Afghanistan war losses are enormous. There were 162 soldiers who died, and every month another two or three are dying by suicide or some other unexplained cause. Add to that several hundred more maimed or wounded forever, plus hundreds of others with mental health issues that will be with them for the rest of their lives.
That's war. It's very different from celebrations with bands and loud music in airport hangars in Ottawa.