Sunday, March 30, 2014

Peter MacKay wishes Canada's Afghan troops had been better prepared


Canada's former defense minister Peter MacKay recently stated that the Canadian government should have and could have done more for its soldiers in the war in Afghanistan.  MacKay said that he had wished that Canada had "provided more equipment, helicopters, mine-clearing equipment in the early days.  In retrospect, we could have perhaps prepared our soldiers better through both equipment and training."  In the war in Afghanistan, Canada lost 158 soldiers, one diplomat, one journalist, and two civilian contractors.  Despite the losses in Afghanistan, soldiers who came home to Canada were faced with post-traumatic stress disorder and multiple suicides.  Former chief of defense staff Rick Hillier said that suicides were a tragic loss of life and that " young men and women have lost confidence in our country to support them" and called for a public board of inquiry into the Canadian Forces' handling of mental health issues.  The government has made efforts to to provide mental health providers for their veterans, which include doubling the the complement of mental health professionals and setting up support groups.

With the recent events of soldiers coming home from war and many of them having to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, I think that it is very important for countries to provide the care that these soldiers need to be rehabilitated.  Going into war, soldiers are not well informed about how damaging war can be to them and the soldiers around them.  Like the article states, Canada is going to create a "security umbrella", an act that will help to rehabilitate veterans who need the help.  

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