Thursday, July 05, 2007

Harpers War Costs-58 Dead

The body count grows as Canada once again plays a leading role in a colonial war.

July has been the worst for our troops. In May and June there were two deaths.

By yesterday July had recorded the most deaths in a day, a week and a month.

Last time we lost troops in a mission to get 'blooded', as General Hillier calls it,

A recent comment by Canada's military boss, Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier, that the job of Canadian troops "is to be able to kill people,"

the blunt-speaking Gen. Hillier has denigrated those fighting against Canadian troops in Afghanistan as "detestable murderers and scumbags."

in order to 'prove' ourselves to our Colonial masters, was Dieppe and Dunkirk. And like those historical debacles our soldiers are being sacrificed in Kandahar in another failed Imperial mission.

Twenty-two soldiers have now been killed on this rotation alone; by this time last year only eight had died.

The last three months have seen five deadly explosions claim a total of 19 Canadian soldiers with four weeks of summer fighting season to go before this deployment returns to Canada.

Before we even were fully committed to the Kandahar mission, knowing our own troops were subject to friendly fire as much as enemy fire, Harper ignored the death of a Canadian soldier, shot in the back by our American allies, in order to have his government blooded.

While Canadian military authorities continue to drag their heels, the U.S. Army says Pte. Robert Costall was killed by friendly fire – apparently American special forces.

The 22-year-old machine-gunner, born in Thunder Bay and deployed to Afghanistan with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, was the first Canadian firefight casualty in that country.

He was slain during a fierce battle March 29, 2006, after his rapid-response platoon was sent to a forward operating base in support of Afghan and special forces troops who had come under siege.

Yesterday, the U.S. Army released its investigation results to Associated Press, asserting that Costall and an American sergeant, also killed that night, were shot from behind in a burst of machine-gun fire that originated from within the compound at Forward Operating Base Robinson, some 110 kilometres northwest of Kandahar City.

With every death Harper denies the futility of his war.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement following the death, offering his condolences to family and friends of Caswell.

"Without security there can be no development in Afghanistan, and thanks to soldiers like Trooper Caswell, we are making significant progress. He has left a valuable legacy and we will be forever grateful for the ultimate sacrifice he has made for our country," the statement read.

While his commanders on the ground point out the futility of claiming this is a humanitarian project for redevelopment. It is a counter insurgency, an anti-opium mission, it is America's war that we are fighting and loosing.

Lt.-Col. Bob Chamberlain, commander of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, lamented that there are districts in the province where a sudden upsurge in Taliban activity has kept redevelopment and humanitarian activity barricaded inside forward operating bases.

If Canada cannot record enough military progress to secure areas so the vital work of rebuilding the shattered lives of the Afghan people can proceed, one has to wonder if the entire mission isn't in jeopardy.

"Everything in war is very simple," Von Clausewitz wrote in On War. "But the simplest thing is difficult."

Hope is confident the superior training and equipment of his army will vanquish the insurgents.

"For centuries, it's the biggest, best-armed tribe that has ruled Afghanistan," he says. "Well, we have a heck of a big, well-armed tribe."

No one points out that the Soviets held the same opinion of their tribe.

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And while the media reports the total casualties since 2002, that obscures the fact that more Canadian troops have died since Harper declared this his war in 2006, then died in the four years prior to that.

Eight Canadians, including our Diplomat to Afghanistan, died prior to Harper declaring his war in Kandahar; dubbed Operation Peacemaker. The Orwellian irony being deliberate as Harper and Hillier took us from Peacekeeping operations to active warfare; Peacemaking.

Since then his government has been responsible for the death of the remaining 58 Canadian troops in their efforts at peacemaking.

Canadian death toll in Afghanistan: 66 soldiers, one diplomat

By The Canadian Press

Since 2002, 66 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have been killed in Afghanistan. Here is a list of the deaths:


July 4 — Cpl. Cole Bartsch, Capt. Matthew Johnathan Dawe and Pte. Lane Watkins, all of 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry based in Edmonton; and Master Cpl. Colin Bason, a reservist from The Royal Westminster Regiment based in New Westminster, B.C. The family of the other two killed have not yet agreed to the release of their names. Killed by a road side bomb in Panjwaii district west of Kandahar city.

June 20 — Sgt. Christos Karigiannis, Cpl. Stephen Frederick Bouzane and Pte. Joel Vincent Wiebe, all of 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry killed by a roadside bomb west of Kandahar.

June 11 — Trooper Darryl Caswell, 25, of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, by a roadside bomb north of Kandahar.

May 30 — Master Cpl. Darrell Jason Priede, killed when a U.S. helicopter was reportedly shot down by the Taliban in Helmand province.

May 25 — Cpl. Matthew McCully, 25, killed by an improvised explosive device in Zhari District.

April 18 — Master Cpl. Anthony Klumpenhouwer, who served with elite special forces, died after falling from a communications tower while on duty conducting surveillance in Kandahar City.

April 11 — Master Cpl. Allan Stewart and Trooper Patrick James Pentland killed when their Coyote vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

April 8 — Sgt. Donald Lucas, Cpl. Aaron E. Williams, Pte. Kevin V. Kennedy, Pte. David R. Greenslade, Cpl. Christopher P. Stannix and Cpl. Brent Poland killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

March 6 — Cpl. Kevin Megeney, 25, killed in accidental shooting at NATO base in Kandahar.


Nov. 27 — Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Girouard and Cpl. Albert Storm killed by suicide car bomber.

Oct. 14 — Sgt. Darcy Tedford and Pte. Blake Williamson killed in ambush.

Oct. 7 — Trooper Mark Andrew Wilson killed by roadside bomb.

Oct. 3 — Sgt. Craig Gillam and Cpl. Robert Mitchell killed in series of mortar, rocket attacks.

Sept. 29 — Pte. Josh Klukie killed by explosion in Panjwaii while on foot patrol.

Sept. 18 — Pte. David Byers, Cpl. Shane Keating, Cpl. Keith Morley and Cpl. Glen Arnold killed in suicide bicycle bomb attack while on foot patrol in Panjwaii.

Sept. 4 — Pte. Mark Graham killed when two NATO planes accidentally strafed Canadian troops in Panjwaii district.

Sept. 3 — Sgt. Shane Stachnik, Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish, Pte. William Cushley and Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan killed in fighting in Panjwaii district.

Aug. 22 — Cpl. David Braun killed in suicide attack.

Aug. 11 — Cpl. Andrew Eykelenboom killed in suicide attack.

Aug. 9 — Master Cpl. Jeffrey Walsh killed by apparent accidental discharge of rifle.

Aug. 5 — Master Cpl. Raymond Arndt killed when his G-Wagon patrol vehicle collided with truck.

Aug. 3 — Cpl. Christopher Reid killed by roadside bomb. Sgt. Vaughan Ingram, Cpl. Bryce Keller and Pte. Kevin Dallaire killed in rocket-propelled grenade attack.

July 22 — Cpl. Francisco Gomez and Cpl. Jason Warren killed when car packed with explosives rammed their armoured vehicle.

July 9 — Cpl. Anthony Boneca killed in firefight.

May 17 — Capt. Nichola Goddard killed in Taliban ambush. She was first Canadian woman to be killed in action while serving in combat role.

April 22 — Cpl. Matthew Dinning, Bombardier Myles Mansell, Lt. William Turner and Cpl. Randy Payne killed when their G-Wagon destroyed by roadside bomb.

March 29 — Pte. Robert Costall killed in firefight with Taliban. (Friendly fire shot in the back by American forces. ep)

March 2 — Cpl. Paul Davis and Master Cpl. Timothy Wilson killed when their armoured vehicle ran off road.

Jan. 15 — Glyn Berry, British-born Canadian diplomat, killed in suicide bombing.


Nov. 24 — Pte. Braun Woodfield killed when his armoured vehicle rolled over.


Jan. 27 — Cpl. Jamie Murphy killed in suicide bombing while on patrol.


Oct. 2 — Sgt. Robert Short and Cpl. Robbie Beerenfenger killed in roadside bombing.


April 17 — Sgt. Marc Leger, Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, Pte. Richard Green and Pte. Nathan Smith killed when U.S. F-16 fighter mistakenly bombed Canadians.

And since most of the recent Canadian deaths have happened from buried explosives, one cannot assume they are from the Taliban. As I have point out before their deaths could have been the result of the thousands of hidden land mines buried through-out the area.

Maj. Andy Walker, the officer commanding Armoured Support Company for 3 Commando Brigade, has done three tours of duty in Iraq where his soldiers constantly faced the threat of IEDs.

He said he’d rather fight groups of Taliban.

“An IED, you don’t know where it is from, who has initiated it, you don’t whether it is a booby trap, whether it’s a mine, it’s the not knowing of IEDs that is the key concern of people,” he said in a recent interview at Camp Bastion, the support headquarters of the British command in Afghanistan.

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Also See:

Harpers War

Friendly Fire



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