We cannot waver

It’s easy, sitting here, to say Canadian soldiers should be fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan—putting their lives at risk in order to make our world a safer place.
It may be another matter entirely if it was our sons or daughters who didn’t know when a suicide bomber will strike again. Our fathers or mothers wondering if there’s a roadside bomb around the next curve. Our brothers or sisters sent out to reinforce a remote outpost under attack by heavily-armed insurgents.
As more and more of our soldiers come home in flag-draped coffins, it’s understandable that Canadians are divided on whether we should be in Afghanistan at all. A Times’ web poll just last month found only 55 percent of the 129 respondents favoured the mission while 45 percent didn’t.
Misgivings stem, in part, from a lack of understanding of the mission, with some Canadians linking our role in Afghanistan with the widely unpopular (and seemingly unjustified) U.S. invasion of Iraq, which Canada did not support from the start.
Canada, on the other hand, has been a willing partner in the war on terror ever since it was declared in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks almost five years ago. The Taliban had harboured Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network—and so it was important to root them out at the source before they could unleash far worse misery and destruction.
Unfortunately, we won’t see a quick victory in Afghanistan. The war on terror isn’t about vanquishing an opposing army; it’s about conquering the social and economic factors that breed terrorism—a dilatory task made all the more difficult because it’s sometimes impossible to distinguish friend from foe.
But it is the right fight—and one our soldiers are willing to die for. We, as a nation, must not waver because that’s precisely what the Taliban want—and expect—us to do.