Calgary Sun | 15Aug2010 | Orest Slepokura

Who will be the last?

Polling results show public support for Canada’s mission in Afghanistan waning since 2006.

And only yesterday, our Minister of Defence reassured Canadians that Canada will indeed withdraw her combat forces from Afghanistan by 2011.

A timetable, an Ipsos Reid survey found, four out of five Canadians approve of; a knockout victory over the Taliban now being an issue of less than supreme concern.

This inconclusive denouement poses a most daunting question, similar to one a young Vietnam War combat veteran put to a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971, even as the course of America’s war in Southeast Asia was drifting sideways. “How,” Navy Lieutenant John Kerry wondered, “do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam?”

In this final year of our Afghan mission, with the withdrawal date nearing and victory remaining ever elusive, we will, implicitly, be asking a Canadian to be the last Canadian to die for the sake of that overseas adventure.

How tragic is that?

Orest Slepokura

(Canadian soldiers are fighting bravely and want to see it through.)