A nice round number, it is.
It might be considered large, might just be considered small. It all depends on the context, I suppose.
But it just happens to be the sad milestone reached this past Friday as the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. I hesitate to admit that I have been "waiting" for this day to come. Not wanting it, of course, but awaiting it.
Here's the thing - it's such a small number compared to the losses of other countries. In both Afghanistan and Iraq. Or compared to the number of Iraqi and Afghans civilians killed or even just the numbers of American military who have died.
How does one go about even making sense of these numbers?
And admittedly it's miniscule compared to the number of Canadian soldiers lost in WW II ~ 45, 300 dead from a populating of only 11,267,000 ~ or WW I ~ 69,944 dead from a population of only 7.2 million.
Yet, for whatever the reason, and despite the references to "combat fatigue", it's a large number to Canadians. A number that weighs heavily on the Canadian psyche.
Personally, I believe wholeheartedly in what we are doing in Afghanistan. Many Canadians feel the same way. Many don't. And many, I would venture, are tremendously swayed by either way whatever the current news coverage might be on a given day.
Either which way, I doubt too many would argue that it is time to bring this one to a close. If it can and could and has been done in Iraq, than surely we can turn such a corner in Afghanistan. And the way I see it, there is only one way to do that.
We keep hearing that more American Marines have been or will be redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan.
Make it happen.
And my condolences.
To the families of those last three soldiers killed this past Friday.
And to the families of all the soldiers who have lost their lives in this cause, from whatever country.