Friday, August 03, 2007

Quebec-Based Troops in Afghanistan Can't Fathom Antiwar Sentiment Back Home

Personal note: We have to remember - they are not Quebec Soldiers, but Canadian Soldiers and we should let them know that we in Canada support them for their long days and nights and all their hard work and efforts. I know .. I stand behind not only them and but their parents and family members. Godspeed.

August 3, 2007 -
As reported to Canadian Press
SHAWALI KOT, Afghanistan (CP) - Canadian soldier Francis Archambault says he couldn't believe what he was hearing in a conversation he had before he left Quebec for Afghanistan.
"Somebody who's educated, who has diplomas galore, told me there would be no war in the world if people like me didn't exist," Archambault, 23, said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
"It really shocked me to hear that from someone who should know better."
Archambault and other Quebec-based soldiers in Afghanistan expressed frustration and exasperation with the widespread opposition in their home province to Canada's military mission in the country.
One poll suggested 70 per cent of Quebecers were opposed to the continued presence of Canadian soldiers in the war-torn land, while some members of the national assembly refused to stand up when several soldiers visited the legislature earlier this year.
Archambault said people who are against the mission are misguided when they accuse Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives of wanting to endorse U.S. foreign policy just to stay in the good books of the Bush administration.
"That has nothing to do with it," he said. "Canada is not getting a lot out of its presence here. It costs lives and it costs money but we're trying to give a chance to people who need help.
"It's probably the biggest thing I'll do in my life."
Canada has about 2,500 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO force supporting the Afghan government. In the new rotation, most of them will be from CFB Valcartier, near Quebec City.
Canada is slated to leave Afghanistan in February 2009 and Harper has said extending the mission would require the consensus of Parliament.
Master Cpl. David Martel, one of the Van Doos charged with patrolling the Shawali Kot district in southeastern Afghanistan, said the attitude of some people is disheartening.
"You come here because you believe in what you do," Martel said.
"You want to provide security and help people improve their lot, while back home people aren't very receptive to that. They say you're just off to kill people."
Sgt. Steve Dufour said people are entitled to their opinion but believes the Canadian mission is not understood and is often misinterpreted.
"I spoke to one student who was against the mission," he said. "I told her 'In Canada, does anyone prevent you from going to school and getting an education?' Well, that's what it's like here (in Afghanistan)."
To read about our soldiers' progress being made in Afghanistan click here.
A big HUA to our troops!

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