Friday, August 22, 2008

If We're Doing This For the Kids...

Then we have to do this for the kids

The recent deaths of three Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan has greatly saddened all Canadians.

The remarks of one of these men, in particular, however, has reverberated through the public consciousness.

Corporal Dustin "Wozzy" Wasden was known for his love of working with children, and was said by his colleagues as having asked on numerous occasions, "Are we not doing it for the kids?"

Certainly, a Democratic post-war Afghanistan will be better for the children of Afghanistan than a Taliban theocracy.

But if we're in Afghanistan -- even partially -- to help its children, then Canadian troops are simply going to have to do that. That means doing a number of things that might make them unpopular amongst some of their allies.

Such as preventing the sexual abuse of Afghan children, something that Canadian soldiers have reportedly refused to do.

The sexual abuses perpetrated against Afghan children has been anything but a secret to many of those familiar to the mission. In fact, Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan have an adage: "in Khandahar, women are for procreation, children are for recreation."

Standing up to Afghan soldiers, in particular, may make Canadian soldiers unpopular amongst some of our Afghan allies there. But there are some things that Canadians simply cannot tolerate, and the sexual abuse of children by our allies is one of them.

The best way to honour the memory of Cpl Wadsel is to ensure that Canadian troops put a stop to this atrocity, just as they should have been doing consistently for the last seven years.

Sometimes, what is right must be substituted for what is pragmatic. This is one of those times.

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