Brought to you by guest blogger LisaJ:
Canada lost two soldiers serving in Afghanistan this week. This marks the 89th
and 90th Canadian soldier to be killed since starting our peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan in 2002. Master Corporal Josh Roberts leaves behind his fiancÃ© in Manitoba, and Master Corporal Erin Doyle leaves behind a wife and a young daughter. These stories are just heartbreaking. They are both very young men, and they’ve had their lives just ripped right out form underneath them. Their families’ lives have undoubtedly been shattered. What’s more, breaking news this morning tells us that a female British-Canadian aid worker, along with two American and Trinidadian colleagues, were also killed in a militant attack in Afghanistan yesterday. This is sickening. This is three of my own fellow citizens in one week, and I know that doesn’t even compare to the countless others, largely civilians and American soldiers, who will have lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq this week.
Everytime I hear of one of these stories I just find it so tragic, and so I should. These people have selflessly given up their lives for the rest of us. In this case, I find it especially selfless since it’s not really our war that the Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan are fighting. I imagine that most people here will agree with me when I say that I find the death of any soldier, of any nationality, serving in Afghanistan or Iraq right now to be an awful, tragic, horrible, sickening, unfair and unnecessary loss. It just makes me so angry every time I hear of another death or injury, because what the hell are they all doing there anyways? (Note: the previous statement was not meant to imply that I don’t know what their role is in Afghanistan. I understand that they are there to protect the Afghan citizens, and I am not trying to undermine their role here in this statement. I just think it’s unfortunate that they were sent there in the first place). I have so much respect for these soldiers, and I just cannot imagine how heart breaking it must be for themselves and their families every day, not knowing what may happen to them at any moment. Just imagining having to say goodbye to a loved one who is heading off to serve in such dangerous battlefields makes me sick to my stomach. The pain and grief they must feel everyday must be unimaginable. For all of you here who have served or who have loved ones serving, my hats off to you, you are strong, wonderful people and I feel for you everyday.
I know a lot of us here have strong opinions that this war shouldn’t even be taking place. It’s this aspect of the whole damn thing that, for me, makes these deaths all the more horrible. What saddens me more is that even I, who is so horrified every time I hear of another dead or injured soldier, find myself grieving pretty quickly and putting the faces and details of these soldiers lives to the back of my mind. This is an unfortunate adaptation of the escalating death count in this war. I guess as the numbers pile up it just gets harder and harder to remember them all, so their stories slip away much more quickly. This is a sad fact, but not entirely unnatural. I mean, we can’t all walk around grieving for our lost soldiers every day, that would prohibit us from functioning normally, but it’s just sad when their names and faces start to get lost in the shuffle. What we should be able to take some tiny amount of solace in, however, is that soldiers who are badly injured will be well taken care of when they return home by the government who sent them to war in the first place. Now I’ve heard a lot of stories of injured American soldiers who have to fight tooth and nail to get any kind of medical compensation for their injuries, and many don’t ever get the payments they are entitled to. But this can’t also be happening in Canada, right? Well reports this week show that Canadian reservists, which reportedly make up 20% of the 2500 Canadian troops deployed in Iraq, who suffer significant body trauma, such as the loss of a limb, receive sub-par long term medical care and compensation upon their return home. Apparently they’re getting it right with some soldiers, the ‘career soldiers’, but not these reservists who have apparently made the mistake of just selflessly stepping in to help out in this particular war. It looks like they’re working on fixing this issue, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Just another example of how our society and government has its priorities really screwed up. These soldiers should get nothing but respect from our governments. You lose a limb for your country, you should be adequately compensated and given as much care as you need, end of story.
Anyways, here’s to all of our soldiers and their families who are giving the ultimate sacrifice in this war. And here’s hoping that our governments get it together one day and treat these soldiers, aid workers, diplomats, and everyone actively involved in the war and relief efforts the respect and honour that they deserve.