Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Canada: 'highest per capita death rate'

Obama's Coalition
 of the Unwilling
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!: Forty-one nations contribute to NATO's 56,000-troop presence in Afghanistan. More than half are from the US. The United Kingdom has 8,300 troops. Canada just under 3,000. Maintaining troops is costly, but the human toll is greater. Canada, with 111 deaths, has suffered the highest per capita death rate for foreign armies in Afghanistan, since its forces are based in the south around Kandahar, where the Taliban is strong...

Anand Gopal, Afghanistan correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, described the situation on the ground: 'A lot of Afghans that I speak to in these southern areas where the fighting has been happening say that to bring more troops, that's going to mean more civilian casualties. It'll mean more of these night raids, which have been deeply unpopular amongst Afghans... 

In the US media, there is an equating of fighting the war with fighting terrorism. Yet on the ground, civilian casualties lead to tremendous hostility. Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, recently told me: Those wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan] are seen as occupations... I think it's very important we learn from mistakes of sounding war drums.'
Image source: The Globe and Mail