Afghanistan’s Killing Fields

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March 24, 2009: Five American helicopters swooped in, filled with American Special Forces troops. Moments later, five Afghan civilians were dead, at least one of whom was killed as he slept. Just another day in Afghanistan.

How many civilians have died as a result of this war is not known with precision. While each of the foreign troops who have died has been meticulously counted, identified, catalogued and mourned, the best we can do for Afghanistan’s war dead is guess.

As of Jan. 25, 2009, Unknown News put the civilian death toll at 7,373. Wikipedia aggregates various estimates, and suggests that “direct” deaths may be as high as 10,557 and “indirect” deaths up to 20,000. Responsibility for most of the direct deaths lies with the invading armies, including Canada’s. The indirect deaths, which arise out of circumstances caused by the invasion, are surely all the responsibility of the invaders. That is, had there been no invasion, these folks would not have died.

I’ve never been totally comfortable with those whose objection to the war is motivated primarily by the deaths of “innocent civilians.” It somehow suggests that the other folk, the ones with the gall to actively resist our invasion are somehow deserving of their fates.

How many of these “terrorists” have died? Once again, Wikipedia supplies an estimate. As of March 23, 2009, between 21,214 and 21,624 insurgents were reported to have been killed. Add to that, another 11,000 dead Afghan troops, and we are getting into some serious numbers, here, more than 60,000 Afghans killed since Oct. 7, 2001 — the day the Americans (with some help from the Brits) launched “Operation Enduring Freedom” (sic).

Afghanistan, like Canada, has a relatively small population in a large land. There are about 31 million of them and 33 million of us.

We mourn our fallen soldiers, even if most of us disapprove of their presence in Afghanistan. 116 deaths and counting. What a waste! What a criminal waste!

It’s time for empathy, folks. Imagine the impact on this country of 60,000 dead Canucks. Imagine the psychic pain, the overwhelming grief, the interminable mourning. Imagine not even knowing how many have died? Imagine a death toll equivalent to the city of Charlottetown, PEI or North Bay, Ontario or Medicine Hat, Alberta. Imagine being awakened in the middle of the night by heavily armed soldiers who have dropped in to kill you.

It is time for empathy and a time for outrage. These days a lot of Canadians, including many opposed to the war in Afghanistan, have their knickers in knots because some ‘merican Faux News TV talk show  suggested our soldiers were pussies. Get over it!

If you are going to be outraged, be outraged that Canada continues to pour people, money and our national soul into murdering Afghans. Be outraged that our government is committing crimes against humanity overseas and assaults on our rights and freedoms at home.

Source: Paul S. Graham

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