Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Soldier: 'The war in Afghanistan is a lie'
Letter to the editor, The Toronto Star:
I love my country just like anybody else. But when I hear of things our troops have done in Afghanistan, I have to ask, "What kind of legacy do we wish to leave behind?"
Some examples: we respond to hostile fire by indiscriminate bombing and shelling of villages, killing innocent men, women and children; we fire white phosphorus shells (a chemical weapon outlawed by the Geneva Conventions due to the horrific way it burns human beings) into vineyards where it was known Afghan insurgents were deployed; we hand over prisoners of war to Afghan authorities, who torture them; and we shoot and kill a 2-year-old Afghan boy and his 4-year-old sister. Do we want to be remembered for hating, killing and destroying, or caring, healing and helping with reconstruction?
The war in Afghanistan is a lie. How can we inspire the Afghan people to respect liberty, democracy, equality for women, education for children, human rights and respect for life when we are maiming and murdering them and destroying their homes, communities, the economy and their country? If mothers and fathers keep on sending our youth to Afghanistan, then our sons and daughters will keep on fighting and dying and will keep on killing and injuring the sons and daughters of the Afghan people. And mothers and fathers of Canada and Afghanistan will keep on crying.
Soldiers are trained to operate military equipment and vehicles. A weapon is put in one hand and ammunition in the other, and we are taught the fine art of killing our fellow human beings. If we wish to end this cycle of death, injury, destruction, hate, sorry and despair, then we must stop war. So, when in future, our maimed soldiers walk down the street and our children ask, "Why?" we will say "Afghanistan" and mean a place where Canada turned against war and for peace, and not an obscene memory.
My fellow citizens, help me and soldiers like me end the war. Let's hear your voices. Let's do something we can all be proud of. If we achieve peace in Afghanistan, then the deaths of 97 of my "comrades in arms" and of unreported thousands of innocent Afghans will not have been in vain. Support the troops. Support peace. Bring our troops home now.
-- Corporal Paul Demetrick, Canadian Army (Reserve), Penticton, B.C.