Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Afghanistan visit was no surprise. Boost morale? Please. As one commentator said, "Shania Twain would've been a better choice." To gain understanding of the situation? What could anyone learn in a 48-hour visit dominated primarily by press conferences. Conservative popularity waxes and wanes with support for the mission, so despite Harper's protestations, the polls are precisely what brought him there.
Now, I'm no Harper fan, but do I support our troops? If our soldiers must be in Afghanistan, I'd rather they do more humanitarian work. But I'd rather they not be there at all, considering they receive little attention from the rest of NATO, unwilling to shoulder more combat, or the United Nations, which won't buy Afghanistan's poppies instead of eradicating them and leaving farmers with no option to feed their families other than joining the Taliban. I support a debate on the mission to explore exactly why our soldiers are being killed and if the cause is worth it.
So do I support our troops? Not if you asked Harper. According to him, the ways to support our troops are by throwing more of them into the meat grinder of Kandahar without addressing the causes of the violence; convincing them to fight an endless (hopeless?) mission regardless of the costs; and exploiting them to generate good PR by snapping photos of them enjoying a Tim Hortons coffee.
That's what a real patriot would do. Or at least that's what our fearless leader would have us believe. -- Brandon Kidd, Guelph, Ont.
I'm not in complete agreement with Mr Kidd; I just want Canada out of there, and the troops home. But a debate about the goals of this so-called mission is a necessary first step, one that is long past due.