Harper Hid the Cost of Afghan War

As you may have seen from reports in yesterday and today’s morning newspapers, the cost of the war in Afghanistan will reach $18 billion by the end of 2011, according to a new report released by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

The report, by Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, does not even include the salaries of the 2500 soldiers in Afghanistan, and is still much higher than the $8 billion estimated cost provided by the Conservative government, which even included salaries.

I attended the report’s press conference yesterday in Ottawa, and during the announcement of the investigation, Page noted that this study is incomplete because he did not receive full co-operation from government departments, including the military. Even worse, those departments may not realize how much they are spending on the war because of sloppy accounting.

This the first public costing of the war completed by a government office or department. The study was produced at the request of NDP MP for Ottawa-Centre Paul Dewar.

Earlier this week, David Macdonald and I released our own costing of the war in Afghanistan called The Cost of the War and the End of Peacekeeping: The Impact of Extending the Afghanistan Mission.

Based on our calculations, the cost of the war to the government coffers, including the salaries of the troops, will be $21 billion. Add to that the financial loss felt by families and communities from so many young men and women injured or killed, and the impact reaches $28 billion.

I was astounded to see that the Budget Office’s findings, when adjusted to use comparable methodologies, are actually much higher than our own results. Therefore the real cost is higher than anyone imagines.

Our report went a step further to look at our military’s contribution to peacekeeping, and we learned that it has dropped by more than 80 per cent since the beginning of the Afghanistan war. This year the military will spend a paltry $15 million for the entire year on UN peacekeeping, the equivalent of what we spend on the war in just two or three days. We contribute only 63 soldiers for UN peacekeeping operations – they could all fit into a school bus!

Yesterday we were busy discussing the cost of the war to Canadians through the national news media, in both Quebec and the rest of Canada. Here you can watch interviews on CTV Newsnet, CBC Radio and CBC TV and GlobalTV, and Business News Network. We also received coverage in The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and elsewhere.


83 Responses to “Harper Hid the Cost of Afghan War”

  1. Kathleen HillJune 2, 2009 at 1:15 am #

    “The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.”: C. L. De Montesquieu – [Montesquieu, Charles Louis de Secondat] (1689-1755) Baron de Montesquieu – Source: The Spirit of the Laws, VIII, 1752

  2. richardApril 28, 2009 at 7:12 am #

    —my recent travels in France revealed that the US made pro war, pro US military TV series ´JAG´ is running on French TV channels. Any wonder Sarcozy is so pro Bushie with the war agenda? God only knows how many countries this pro war US TV trash is exported to and what the results are. I will never forget being on a Mexican bus which played a super violent US made Viet Nam era movie to a bunch of calm charming family type of Mexicans. Such exported violence left to etch into innocent minds to what end? Let us not forget who invented MKULTRA mind control techniques—our charming CIA lead ´democratic´ US neighbours to the south who cannot seem to speak without utttering the ´god-bless-america´ mantra and at the same instant wonder why their country is most hated and untrusted. What are Canadians bombarded with from south of our borders? Multipule visual TV killings an hour. I think Harper spent too much time watching this crap as a youth. Now he is spending our tax $ buying US military hardware and prolonging a phoney Bush induced war in Afganistan to the tune of countless deaths of innocents.

    Increasingly, I am ashamed to be Canadian.

  3. AllanApril 7, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

    Sorry, Colin,

    Look around. You’re on the losing side. The days of the NATO alliance controlling the UN and the rest of the world are over. The US, Britain, and the Harper gang will keep trying for a few decades, but the future is clear. The sun is rising elsewhere on a brighter tomorrow. For a while.

  4. Prof H. MuminOctober 22, 2008 at 4:02 pm #

    The Afghan war started on a series of lies, continues via lies and will ultimately collapse under the miasma of lies.

    How sad.

  5. ColinOctober 21, 2008 at 9:47 am #

    There is a consistent thread in these posts that I need to comment on.

    The first is the apparent confusion over why we’re in Afghanistan. Most seem to agree that we should be involved in peacekeeping and return to the way things used to be. What that sentiment ignores is that this is the new peacekeeping and that the invasion of Afghanistan, as well as the current NATO led effort to bring security and stability to that nation, have been and still are sanctioned by no less than 17 UN Security Council Resolutions.

    The aspect that needs to be commented on is the cost. Most are in agreement that we shouldn’t spend that much money. Folks, whether they’re wearing a blue helmet or not, most of the costs associated with our involvement in Afghanistan, or anywhere else for that matter, are the same. You can’t say ‘don’t spend that much money on the military’ and also say ‘we need to be more involved in peacekeeping’. This cost discussion is misleading when one considers the vast majority of these costs would have been incurred whether Canadian troops were in Afghanistan or Sudan. The fundamental question is whether or not Canadians want to pay the bills associated with taking an active role in the world and judging by this thread, it appears not.

  6. Caroline MaloneyOctober 14, 2008 at 12:18 am #

    Dear Stephen,
    We (Canadians) are fighting in a brutal unjust American war over oil. If there is any involvement of Canada in Afganistan, is should be to support (not kill or bomb) the sick, suffering and dying poor people of Afganistan.

  7. Terri RobsonOctober 13, 2008 at 4:42 pm #

    When we have no idea how to disseminate the various procurement costs from everyday operating costs, I don’t know how Canadians can come to any informative concensus. Methodology of Estimates ??? What is that??? Considering the VAST sums of monies that are missing;;work not done,but,money collected;; in Iraq war due to private contracting, I believe that Canadians have the right to know just where the money is going..how it got there..and anything else that is used to finance wars. The way to ensure the safety of our brave military personnell is to stay on top of oversight so that money is actually helping the cause not making certain people rich.
    There is no ethical monetary value in any form of conflict only power & avarice.

  8. Penny OyamaOctober 12, 2008 at 10:16 pm #

    Dear Steven,
    It’s SO BAD that this question even has to be asked! It’s also amazing how humans are so easily distracted by discussions of details, like troops and casualty numbers, finances, etc., when we should be making the not-too-difficult paradigm shift in thinking to NO WAR, NO FIGHTING OF ANY KIND, and PEACE and JUSTICE for all!!
    Thank you, and keep up the good work!

  9. Karen LonghurstOctober 12, 2008 at 7:18 pm #

    I too believe that 911 was an inside job. Moreover, according to Michael Ruppert who wrote Crossing the Rubicon, the invading powers (principally the US) are using drugs from Afghanista (and other countries) to prop up the American economy. He accuses the CIA of drug dealing, the big banks of money laundering the illegal drugs and the US government of passing laws (discretely) to allow it.

  10. Laurie CornellOctober 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm #

    Response from the NDP:

    Thank you for your past email concerning Canada’s war and combat Mission in Afghanistan. As Election Day draws near, we are providing you with this email to keep you informed of our efforts.

    The commitments we are putting before the people of Canada in this election are about hope and opportunity for you, your family, your friends, and neighbours. They are about a future where you come first.

    Highlights from Jack Layton and his team of New Democrats’ plan include:

    - Withdrawing all Canadian forces from the Afghanistan combat mission, with reasonable advance notice and in consultation with our allies.
    - Ensuring that Canada delivers on the aid and development assistance commitment made through the Afghanistan Compact.
    - Ensuring that women and human rights groups in Afghanistan can access Canadian development dollars and that corruption at all levels of government is addressed effectively.
    - Ensuring that the United Nations, not NATO or the US, becomes the lead organization in the provision of security and development assistance in Afghanistan.
    - Exploring and promote opportunities for negotiating peace at the national, regional and international levels, in line with proposals made by the President of Afghanistan and leading security experts.

    We are committed to balanced budgets each and every year. Our full platform of commitments, with costing, can be found by visiting: http://www.ndp.ca/platform. Feel free to pass along our email to anyone who may be interested.

    Again, we appreciate your comments and thoughts. Together, we can make it happen by voting for Jack Layton and his team of New Democrats on October 14th!


    Jack Layton and Canada’s New Democrats

    Jack Layton’s New Democrats
    Putting you and your family first.
    Jack Layton et le NPD
    Mettre vos priorités et celles de votre famille au premier plan.

  11. Dr. Lisa S. PriceOctober 12, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    You may be interested to know the Conservatives are still trying to justify the war on Afghanistan by claiming it is directed at promoting Afghan women’s right to education. I wrote the following letter to local newspaper (on Sunshine Coast, BC) but they didn’t print it. Wonder why!
    Conservative candidate John Weston would have us believe that Canadian soldiers are in Afghanistan in order to give Afghani women the right to an education. His words are disingenuous to the point of being insulting to the intelligence of the people (women and men) he wants to represent. If the education of women were really a concern, we would be sending books and blackboards, not bullets and bombs. If gender oppression were really a concern, NATO would not have waited until after September 11, 2001 to invade Afghanistan and would not attack civilians. A war to liberate women? Don’t be ridiculous. In Afghanistan, as in every other war in history, women matter only as pawns and as booty. Weston’s supposed concern is a fig leaf obscuring motivations he’d rather we not know about.

    If we want to learn about the Conservative Party’s attitude toward women, we simply have to look at their policies here in Canada. As minority government, the Conservatives have cut funding to federal women’s programmes in an attempt to silence critics. They reduced the child tax credit to the point that some women (including here on the Coast) can’t afford to work and so are forced onto social assistance. Conservatives are ideologically opposed to the idea of a national day care plan just as they refuse to recognize that society has a responsibility to provide safe haven to women fleeing abusive partners. Some Conservatives want to deny women the right to decide when and if to have children, a policy played down when they were a minority but likely to surface as a regressive law should they form a majority government.

    So Mr. Weston, don’t try to pretend you care about the women of Afghanistan any more than your party cares about the women of Canada. Have the courage to be honest about your agenda, foreign and domestic. In attempting to hoodwink the people of this riding, you simply reveal yourself to be a candidate not worthy of our trust.

  12. Hugh MyersOctober 12, 2008 at 11:14 am #

    When all the facts are in, the current warring in the Afghanistan will probably have run up costs to Canada of $30 billion or more, even if ended in 2011, and all in support of foolhardy U.S. adventurism.

    On our collective national conscience will be the deaths, not counting injuries, of more than 100 Canadian soldiers and thousands of innocent Afghan citizens.

    The invasion of Afghanistan was and is simply another chapter in the history of American imperialism, with other countries being drawn in mainly through poor judgment and bad leadership.

  13. ABOctober 11, 2008 at 11:57 pm #

    Has this war been worth it…absolutely not, no war is really worth it. 18 billion would have been better spent on directly assisting our own women and children climb out of poverty.

    The only violence worth having is a politically poisoned and harpooned Harper. Then and only then will Canada be Oh Canada!

    Vote ABC: anything but conservative, until the conservatives learn the meaning of the first part on their name, “conserve”, that is money, military, as well as women and their children from war, not to mention the multitudes of mutilated men, and soldiers essentially sent off to die in war for oil.

    This war is the wart on the conservatives record, just as the long gun registry was the wart on the liberals record, but at least the liberals policy may have saved people, whereas, the conservatives policy is bound to kill people. The choice is obvious. ABC!!!

  14. Len PetersOctober 11, 2008 at 10:41 pm #

    It seems that Canada’s role on the world stage has drastically changed overnight. We use to be well liked the world over when our troops were in the peacekeeping role, we had compassion, empathy and didn’t take sides. They went in and did they’re job. Now we have sided with the BIGGEST BULLY ON THE BLOCK and we are seen as an aggressor.
    There are only a few that benefit from this war and they are the giant corporations who have an invested interest in energy and military. We should pull out NOW!!!

  15. Patrick ClarkeOctober 11, 2008 at 8:25 pm #

    9/11 Was A Inside Job
    9/11 Was A Inside Job
    9/11 Was A Inside Job
    9/11 Was A Inside Job
    9/11 Was A Inside Job
    9/11 Was A Inside Job
    9/11 Was A Inside Job
    9/11 Was A Inside Job
    9/11 Was A Inside Job
    9/11 Was A Inside Job
    9/11 Was A Inside Job


  16. AnonymousOctober 11, 2008 at 8:15 pm #

    Tt is definitely not worth the $18+billion. The general from UK seems to indicate that things are getting worse rather than better. We should not be there.

  17. Shirley BushOctober 11, 2008 at 6:49 pm #

    The millions spent on more military, more tanks and planes, more equipment have bought us the destruction of “suspected” Taliban members, innocent victims caught in crossfire and terrorized young children. In their fear, yet another generation sees us as killers, and more seeds of hatred are sown.
    The millions of dollars spent on war should be diverted immediately to supplying huge quantities of aid – more food, medicine, housing.
    Perhaps then the Afghan children will not grow up seeking revenge, but will remember instead the generous help gladly given. Our Canada and our military forces will live to be admired and respected once again.

    If you are a Canadian who truly loves our most blessed country, please do not vote for another Harper government.

  18. roy hamiltonOctober 11, 2008 at 6:30 pm #

    Andrew Hastie- I agree with your comment about the round hole in the Penticgon. No wing marks.!! Not many mention it !! There was source in England that brought it to my attention. I believe all local video was siezed and never seen again !! I believe the British Brigadier’s comment. Many years ago Chevron and oither petroleum companies planned a set of pipe lines across the western open country part of Afghanistan. We should get out of there or at least change our direction.

  19. Maurice Brenden-BradyOctober 11, 2008 at 4:17 pm #

    I believe Canadians should be guided by the recent remarks of former General Lewis McKenzie (retired) who stated, in effect, that Afghanistan is not really a nation in the traditional sense, being comprised of geographic regional heads and warlords, with even some members of the Taliban actually serving in President Karzai’s cabinet. The situation with allegiances is quite fluid, with allies and enemies frequently moving from positions of friendship to become adversaries, and vice versa.

    This begs the question as to what we Canadians are doing there trying to be peacemakers instead of peacekeepers!

    I believe this situation should be handled by United Nations forces, not NATO or the USA.

    We are overreaching ourselves by being there at the request of this Republican US government, which has brought enough military destabilization to Iraq, the Middle-East, Afghanistan, and now widespread economic and financial problems to the world.

    Let us make plans for a strategic withdrawal, and go back to our traditional contribution to the world, where people are needed to keep the peace, not wage war.

  20. Sandra CurrieOctober 11, 2008 at 3:36 pm #

    A recent book by a Delta Force soldier describes how the attempts of this elite force to caputre Bin Laden were thrwarted by “higher ups”. He also described how the Afghan Security Forces were paid $11,000,000 to assist with the capture, but would go home every night after a day of minor skirmishes. The Delta Force was instructed to make it look like the Afghan’s had captured Bin Laden. So, it’s clear that the Afghan people are not that committed to this war, and that capturing Bin Laden isn’t the goal, so why are we there?

  21. Laurie CornellOctober 11, 2008 at 1:38 pm #

    We are in Afghanistan because of 9/11. 9/11 is a lie. Why are we there in the first place. If you say UN has other countries there, you do not know that the Illuminati set up the UN after the 2nd world war for a control base for the world.

  22. Nadia B-MainvilleOctober 11, 2008 at 11:03 am #

    Let’s put an end to Stephen Harper’s government. There is no other way to stop that horrible and senseless war and its huge military expenditures for no result what so ever, except put billions in the military industry’s pocket. Our soldiers are killing civils in Afghanistan for that only result! Let’s act right now!

  23. Ricardo GrinspunOctober 11, 2008 at 10:49 am #

    Thanks for your work to expose the costs of the Afghanistan war. For Harper, military expenditures serve a number of objectives: diminishing fiscal resources that otherwise would be available for public programs, tying Canada to US strategic interests in the Middle East and Central Asia, advancing war-related and other corporate profits (for example, pipeline projects), and using the war as a mechanism to silence “unpatriotic” critics. It is the perfect recipe to advance a neoconservative agenda. Hopefully we can put a stop to it on Tuesday’s elections.

  24. EulaliaOctober 11, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    It is time that we stop being naive and talk abour allies and our obligations to them. This is the answer of those that do not want to know; it is the party line for “I don’t want to know’ It is time for Canadians to do the right thing and unite. War is not what we are about. If Mr. (and I hesitate to call him Mister) Harper wants to play war maybe he and his friends should move to Washington and play soldiers with the rest of the overgrown children. We have millions of families without food in our own country. Being a Canadian is about helping the poor and vulnerable not creating more.

  25. Margaret TysonOctober 11, 2008 at 6:02 am #

    I have never supported the war in Afghanistan. The Americans created the problem there by meddling in the stability of the Taraki government and ultimately, with the help of Bhutto, bringing in the Taliban.

    Empires do not go to war to help people. They go because they have interests. The American Empire is interested in building a gas pipeline across Afghanistan. There is no point in Canadians wasting money, people and our name by being involved in this war.

    The war is certainly not worth the cost. In addition to taking money away from peacekeeping, it is taking money away from our commitments to Kyoto and Kelowna. Furthermore it is contributing to militarizing our society and ultimately to a culture of violence and cynicism.

    I’d like to know why the NDP did not support the Liberal motion of April 19, 2007 to have Canada withdraw from combat in February, 2009. Had the NDP supported this motion at the time when the left-leaning Liberals were in control of the party, we’d be planning our exit from Kandahar.

    Because the NDP did not support this motion (plus a longtime concern because of the NDP’s behaviour in the Free Trade election of 1988), I question the NDP’s commitment to Canada. After 50 years of voting NDP in federal elections and often being involved in the party, I have quit.

  26. Anna - Lost in the SubterfugeOctober 11, 2008 at 2:07 am #

    What happened to Canada being peace keepers only? Are we under threat by Afghanistan? Or the USA? Maybe Steven Harper was hypnotized by the Bush administration…(‘you are getting very sleepy…buy guns and ammunition…buy tanks and missiles…oil is good, oil is worth dying for…carry on soldier’). Remember, the weapons you use to protect yourself are most often the ones that are used to attack you. I choose peace.

  27. A MuirOctober 11, 2008 at 1:54 am #

    What seems so odd about the social disease of militarism is how little we know about it — what social conditions promote this kind of spending decision, what kind of structural impacts does this level of military spending have on societies that tolerate it, which social actors perceive benefits, which actors actually benefit and under what circumstances? And like that. After Korea/Vietnam/Iraq/Afghanistan it seems pretty clear that war is cyclical in late modern industrial societies, more closely tied to particular sets of social and economic conditions than to “reasons” –the hysteria of the moment. Despite the example of the Soviets before us, (and the Brits before them) we’ve sunk a huge chunk of the national treasury into the quagmire of Afghanistan with just about zero “cost benefit analysis.” It’s hard to think of another domain of public or private spending that’s so aloof from any principals of accounting, or expectation of return on investment. We stirred this pot for awhile, killed some people, sucked up to our US allies at a time when they were acting scary and threatening nations who didn’t want to play terror war. In a couple of years we’re going to leave –if only because the money’s all gone, and what we’ll leave behind seems likely to be a lot like the mess we invaded –but with more bullet holes in the walls, more grieving families, and a much healthier drug trade.

    Wouldn’t it have be great if Canadians had decided instead to take a few of those wasted billions and poured them in to research on militarism and non-military conflict resolution — a kind of all out “search for the cure to war” campaign. Maybe that way we could actually make an international difference. Plus with the money left over we could have built rapid transit systems for every medium sized city in Canada, or created thousands of units of social housing, or provided university scholarships for thousands of our citizens (or thousands of Afghans), powered up a really significant Kyoto-reaching renewable energy program and like that.
    As it is these billions are gone, putting the policies and programs we actually need and want just that much further out of reach. Could that be the point?
    Keep talking about it Ceasefire.

  28. Bob StuartOctober 11, 2008 at 1:15 am #

    The inspiration for the war was a pipeline intended to compete with our own product. Afghanistan has never lost a war, and bankrupted the USSR, the last confirmed looser. I’m sure our investment has been worth it, to the international criminal cartels.

  29. Maria KasstanOctober 11, 2008 at 12:57 am #

    Al Qaida lured the US and then the other western Nations into a Middle East war which has bankrupted us. And as for Afghanistan, the 18 billion would have been better spent if we had just divided it up between every Afghan man, woman and child. Oh, even half that would have made tremendous differnce to them, and no Canadian lives would have been lost. And how much did the US spend, so far, on Iraq? Enough to feed, shelter and vaccinate millions. How can we expect ghetto youth to give up violence when our governments choose violence over and over. Those frightened young lads must think we “adults” are terrible hypocrites when we tell them that violence is not the answer while our governments commit mass murder. Maria Kasstan

  30. Holman GaravitoOctober 11, 2008 at 12:51 am #

    20081011_00:35 EDT London, Ontario Subject: COST AFGHAN WAR
    — Any attack and use of force from a man to man Fist Fight to Outright WAR between Nations is the abandonment of Reason and Civilized argument. The individual or country that uses Force, violates the most fundamental rights and ceases to be human.
    — The Glorification of WAR is ever present in our media and should be discontinued, any penny spend on the manufacture of any instrument of Aggression is money badly spent. The expenditures for any WAR, where ever it took place and whatever reason was give, whatever they amount to be, become obscene from the moment inception.
    — When I came to Canada from the US some 43 years ago to escape that absurd conflict, I found a Canada that was inspiring and I thought had learned the lessons of the previous Colonial and Imperialistic conflicts of the past. I truly saw a Nation with clear Ideals and Future Goals. I have been sadly reminded that the machinations of Military Industry and Resource Grabbing by some of our Mining and Petroleum, Nationally and Internationally are there only to further Rampant Capitalism. No regard for Human decency, No regard for Social Issues, No regard for our Own Citizens or citizens of other Nations. …. ONLY GREED …. ONLY WAR …
    — My VOTE is for ENDING ALL WARS, none is Justified.
    Sincerely yours, Holman Garavito

  31. WLMWOctober 11, 2008 at 12:26 am #

    Chretien accepted the first lie – that 9/11 was solely the work of those who couldn’t possibly have pulled it off. Then he decided to destroy our country’s good name by allowing our forces to aid in the pre-planned invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Martin carried on with the criminal complicity. I don’t recall Dion risking anything to oppose the slaughter and Harper is – well – consistently for anything the war criminals in Washington do. Gaaawd – why are our elections always a choice between one of two sides of the coin owned by the warmongers?

  32. ShelaghOctober 10, 2008 at 11:59 pm #

    Those who go do so to make a difference. We must support their best interests by bringing them home. The cost in human life is too high.
    And, yes, the dollar cost is insane.

  33. Robert NicoleOctober 10, 2008 at 11:48 pm #

    I do not believe in war.

  34. wpOctober 10, 2008 at 11:18 pm #

    I hate that we are at war in Afghanistan – I believe Canadians should continue in these countries only as part of peace keeping missions. I am so angry at our government for putting our young men in harms way with no possible hope of achieving anything that even closely resembles something worth dying for. It breaks my heart everytime another young man comes home in a box. Harper should be ashamed of himself – him and all his cohorts. Get that man out of office!

  35. sharonOctober 10, 2008 at 11:11 pm #

    Cost of war? Price of peace? Monetary issues?

    Let the environmental damage and broken lives be the answer. We are doomed in this path of war.

  36. JDOctober 10, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    a waste of money and very dangerous

  37. PeterOctober 10, 2008 at 10:17 pm #

    I am outraged at the monetary and human cost. None of the original aims of the invasion of Afghanistan, the capture of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, and the destruction of al-Qaida in the aftermath of 9/11, has been achieved. (Why one of our purported invasion aims, that Afghanistan would not continue to be a staging point for terrorist activities, was originally pursued, is beyond me. Afghanistan was not a staging point for terrorist activities. Neither the Taliban nor bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11, and bin Laden died of kidney failure in late 2001. We illegally invaded Afghanistan to support an interventionist American foreign policy in order to create an environment safe for the unimpeded exploitation of Central Asian energy resources. We continue to kill Afghan children for the same reason.)

    The Afghan war certainly cannot be won, and the only way to end it is the withdrawal of foreign troops as part of a political settlement negotiated with all the significant players in the country, including the Taliban, and guaranteed by the regional powers and neighbouring states.

    I’d also like to know if the $18 billion includes almost $1 million paid to the Terrorism Research Centre, which was contracted to teach Canadian troops about the history of Islam, radical Islam, sensitivities, and cultural and ideological issues that influence insurgent decision-making. Why is Canada paying an American firm almost $1 million for such nonsense, in view of the fact that America is currently losing two wars in the Muslim world?

    Moreover the Terrorism Research Centre is not just any US company; it is reported to be a branch of Total Intelligence Solutions, a company run by infamous Cofer Black, a former director of CIA counterterrorism, and Erik Prince, a former US navy seal. Both men are executives with the Prince Group, the holding company for Total Intelligence Solutions and a company called Blackwater. The same Blackwater whose mercenary thugs regularly gun down civilians on the streets of Baghdad.

  38. AnnOctober 10, 2008 at 9:53 pm #

    With respect to Anthony A Capobianco’s comment above, I couldn’t agree more with isolating those who want a war and leaving them to go at it. Maybe we could have a global battlefield for them in an appropriately remote location (The Killing Fields of Nevada?), supply them with munitions, depleted uranium, napalm, kitchen knives, etc., and let the warmongers kill and maim each other to their hearts’ delight rather than those who would prefer to live their lives in peace. We have a situation where the few who make war stay safely at home, a few million sign up voluntarily or are forcibly enlisted, and the remaining billions have to pay for it in one way or another. Once upon a time, leaders used to lead their armies into battle; now they sit at home enjoying the spoils of war. The vast majority of people on Earth want to live in peace, but their “leaders” won’t let them!

  39. PaulOctober 10, 2008 at 9:48 pm #

    This assinine war is the largest travesty ever committed by a federal government in Canadian history! Steven Harper was in such a rush to put his head up GW Bush’s butt that he would not listen to anyone not even his own party. The man is an egomaniacal psychopath drowning in his self-importance! Between him and Mike Harris it is hard to believe our Canada will survive.

  40. Anne StreeterOctober 10, 2008 at 9:32 pm #

    War is never right but Canada entered this one under false pretenses. These insane decisions are made by middle aged people sitting comfortably above the fray sending young men and women (rarely their own family members) off to fight and die for all the wrong reasons. This war can not be won. Does history teach us nothing?! In spite of thousands of innocent men, women & children being killed & mutilated, not only has the situation not improved, it has deteriorated drastically. It is time to clean up the mess & come home!

  41. Linda PortmanOctober 10, 2008 at 8:51 pm #

    No war is worth the cost, financial or through lives lost. Particularly this war. I feel that we entered iinto this campaign because of the unholy alliance with George Bush and the American War Machine. americans no longer support why should we?.

  42. george sawaOctober 10, 2008 at 8:50 pm #

    It is absolutely reprehensible that we are losing much needed resources and that our young men are losing their lives because of the wrongheaded policy of our government. Ourt involvement must be stopped immediately!

  43. Anthony A CapobiancoOctober 10, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    “War is not the answer” If diplomacy does not work, then I suggest that all world leaders who are at war should be placed in a cage with their adversary and slug it out! Less money, less lives lost, less people displaced, etc. It’s time for all nations and all people of this planet to put down their arms, once and for all.

  44. Eldo NeufeldOctober 10, 2008 at 8:14 pm #

    The revelation about the cost of the war is just another example of the lies and deception and cover-up of the truth by this Conservative Government. We have now become so used to it that we hardly notice it.

  45. f.lehmannOctober 10, 2008 at 7:54 pm #

    This is an absurd war, only promoted by the military lobby and the creators of war machinery. Nobody attacked this country, the only reason we are there is to please our neighbours to the south and the kind of leadership we have. Let’s hope for a change soon.

  46. DorisOctober 10, 2008 at 7:40 pm #

    War has and never solved anything; if the money spent on war was used to help those in need uith a hand up not a hand out, this could be the world God created.

  47. R. Don PeelOctober 10, 2008 at 7:16 pm #

    Please check out http://www.consciencecanada.ca/home/ where you can download a tax form to oppose your taxes going towards military spending

  48. EileenOctober 10, 2008 at 7:13 pm #

    As many of us said at the beginning of the Iraq war, and it still applies:

    Salt Spring Island

  49. Allan S. TaylorOctober 10, 2008 at 7:09 pm #

    I’ve been opposed to this war from the very beginning. Democracy doens’t come from the end of a gun. The costs are horrendous, the lose of young Canadians unforgiveable and the War is unwinable.

  50. GraemeOctober 10, 2008 at 7:06 pm #

    Not one dollar, not one life, to sweep up this American made mess!

    No one looks at the underlying causes of this conflict.
    Do we fear what the Americans would do if we spoke out?

    IN 1979, 6 months before the Soviet incursion, Americans
    were covertly aiding the fundamentalist opposition to
    Afghan social reforms. Robert Gates, the former head of
    the CIA and current defense secretary states so in his book,
    “From the Shadows”.

    In a Feb 12 1998 transcript from the American House Committee
    on international relations, reference is made to a proposed pipeline
    to pump oil from the Caspian region. The Unocal Corporation states,
    construction can’t begin until the Taliban are out of Afghanistan.

    Terrorists can train anywhere there is isolation. Close quarters combat
    and flight training for the Saudis who attacked on 9/11 actually took place
    in America! The argument we are protecting the west from a terrorist attack
    by fighting in Afghanistan is a false one.

    Yes, the Taliban are a wicked bunch, and peaceful Afghans do need help,
    but that is not the whole issue.
    Nations from that region should solve the conflict, not the west who are simply magnets for the fundamentalists.

  51. Marten BerkmanOctober 10, 2008 at 6:53 pm #

    I have little to add to the excellent comments made above, except that I support our role as peacekeepers. The men and women who risk their lives, and give their lives, must be honoured with a cause which is worthy, just, and an example to humanity.

  52. AnnOctober 10, 2008 at 6:17 pm #

    Absolutely not! But the cost cannot be measured in dollars and lives alone. One of the greatest costs of this war is that Canada’s reputation as a peacekeeper and peacemaker has been seriously compromised. The Afghan war, just like the Iraq war is all about seizing oil and natural gas resources and securing their shipment across another nation’s territory FOR the USA. Many Canadians must have enlisted when Canada was a peacekeeper, but they now find themselves fighting a war on behalf of the Americans. Don’t forget that the Americans installed the Taliban there, just as they have their puppet, Karzai. It’s a pity that so many Canadians will have died for nothing in Afghanistan because the war is not winnable. No western country has waged a war of occupation in Afghanistan and won. The people fighting the occupiers of their lands will never give up; and rightfully so. Would you? Would you not fight to rid invaders of your country until they were gone?

  53. Marc StockerOctober 10, 2008 at 5:58 pm #

    In response to your question: absolutely not, this war has cost much more than $18B, it has cost the lives of 98 Canadians (to-date), thousands of Afghanis, and other NATO soldiers and personal. This, more than the fiscal waste of the Conservatives, is the real cost of war – the human cost.
    Thank you Steven, for speaking out against the war and being a presence for peace.

  54. Don AtkinsonOctober 10, 2008 at 5:50 pm #

    I can see by the overwhelmingly negative responses that mine will be screened out. I’d just like to remind all the “Ceasefire” types that without the action we and our friends’ are taking in Afghanistan, it would have continued to be a hatching ground for more al Qaeda hellions flying planes into buildings or other heavily inhabited structures while screaming, “Allah Akhbar” to ensure their entry into paradise.

  55. Clarise MacLachlanOctober 10, 2008 at 5:47 pm #

    I think that we are becoming a nation too much like the Americans. This is Canada, we are a peaceful nation and this money earmarked for the war in Afganistan could be used for peaceful purposes. Example, feed the refugees and find them shelter, nurse the sick and wounded, comfort the forgotten and lost children who have lost their loved one, i.e.parents, guardians etc. Build schools and hospitals, that is the only way we will win the war and the hearts of the people. They in turn will learn to stand on their own two feet. This is not a pipe dream, this is the only way. Use the money for peaceful purposes. Educate them……..

  56. Lorrie BurnellOctober 10, 2008 at 5:35 pm #

    Let’s hope Canadians don’t vote for the Conservatives on Tuesday!!!

  57. Jim HardingOctober 10, 2008 at 5:33 pm #

    Thanks for this. It is atrocious, and another thing showing just what the “war on terror” is obscuring. I am most interested in how this will play out during Tuesday’s election. Clearly on this one (not everything by all means) Layton’s NDP and the Bloc deserve credit for a principled position in the wake of fear-mongering. And I’m sure it will help them hold their base support. But wouldn’t Layton taking the high road and (like Dion) removing opposition to Elizabeth May defeating McKay in Central Nova, be an interesting twist. While I haven’t always supported the Greens on foreign policy, defeating McKay and getting Elizabeth to be a voice re climate change, is the kind of new political eality we need to create out of all of these growing military-industrial- corporate crises. Cheers and vote for our country, for change and the future (not in the Republican sense).

  58. c heltneOctober 10, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

    And you haven’t even mentioned the fact that we are policing drug growing prov.
    and that that money goes to fund the Taliban and AQ to fire and bomb our men
    Please note Ahmed Rashid’s book….Descent into Chaos etc.

  59. Joanne LaferriereOctober 10, 2008 at 5:27 pm #

    This is an “occupation”, not a war! Totally useless! What are our soldiers doing there? The Liberals are guilty for approving this “occupation” and committing our troops until 2011. The war machine has got to be stopped! Let’s restore Democracy in our own country! That would be a great example for the rest of the world.

  60. s. LessardOctober 10, 2008 at 5:18 pm #

    On doit être en Afghanistan dans un but humanitaire uniquement, pas avec des armes.

  61. s. LessardOctober 10, 2008 at 5:18 pm #

    Ce n’est pas la bonne façon d’aider les Afghans. On doit absolument faire seulement oeuvre humanitaire!

  62. Rhys del ValleOctober 10, 2008 at 5:12 pm #

    One always has to worry when the “Leader” of their nation not only can’t recognize, nor has the backbone to stand up to, the bullying tactics of the US leadership — but idolizes them. No, it has not been worth the costs. It is an outrage that Steven Harper has wreaked destruction and death on Canadian families and on the Canadian conscience because of his spinelesss poor-cousin inferiority complex. It really shows little Canadian pride and has been a national disaster and global humiliation. How he sleeps with lives on his conscience, is beyond me. My world for leadership I can be proud of!

  63. kevin coadyOctober 10, 2008 at 5:04 pm #

    Mr.Harper did the right, thing helping out our Allies. In fact all the other parties that count voted in favour of it. let’s give the P.M. a majority and get things done right for a change. Kevin Coady. Edmonton.

  64. kevin coadyOctober 10, 2008 at 5:04 pm #

    Mr.Harper did the right, thing helping out our Allies. In fact all the other parties that count voted in favour of it. let’s give the P.M. a majority and get things done right for a change. Kevin Coady. Edmonton.

  65. Rob Van WyckOctober 10, 2008 at 5:03 pm #

    We’ve long been pawns of the US war on terrorism, trying to hold back the tide of universal abhorrence for its global imperialism – got oil? We want it! But now, our honest Canucks will be pawns to the drug lords … it was announced today that we have been authorised to attack the drug trade. And as so many of the government officials are connected directly or indirectly to the drug trade, Canadians are going to be directed to attack the ones who are not “in favour” with current powers. Sad, so sad.

  66. Nick AplinOctober 10, 2008 at 4:49 pm #

    What an appalling sense of priorities – both personnel and financial resources are being wasted in destroying and alienating the people of the country our military are occupying! And creating very troubled veterans at the same time. Disgusting.

  67. Stewart SeidelOctober 10, 2008 at 4:47 pm #

    Of course the cost of this war [it is not really a war but an invasion by Western armies] is not really the issue. The issue is that the “war” is utterly and completely wrong, and utterly and completely immoral. To pretend you can bring “democracy” to a country at the point of a bayonet or by sending missiles from unarmed Predator drones to kill unarmed civilians as the US is doing in Afghanistan is absurd and cowardly. The “war” is doing far more long-term harm than good, both to the interests of the long-suffering Afghanis as well as to the western powers, including Canada. And finally, the war is unwinnable, as numerous high ranking British diplomats and military people as well as Stephen Harper have recently admintted.

    To focus on the cost of an immoral and wrong-headed war is hypocritical. IF THE WAR WAS MORAL and NECESSARY, then cost wouldn’t matter and I would be willing to bear any cost. However, THE WAR IS IMMORAL, UNNECESSARY, and DAMAGING to our long-term interests; therefore to talk of the cost of this war is irrelevant and hypocritical.

  68. Elecia HartOctober 10, 2008 at 4:46 pm #

    The cost of war is too high at anytime and can never be accurately evaluated in dollars and cents, which is of hugely less significance than the other losses of human lives, suffering, the devastaion to the planet and the negative energy created.

  69. Peter ElkingtonOctober 10, 2008 at 4:46 pm #

    I have always felt that the Afgahn war was a mistake. Canada should be in the Peacer keeping busines and not fighting a war that can’t be won. I agree with the British general that discussion is the only snsible way.
    War no matter where it is expensive and a total waste of money and lives.

  70. Rauni OllikainenOctober 10, 2008 at 4:41 pm #

    No one has given me a rational explanation why we are there. To fight “War on Terror”? We were not attacked. Americans were attacked as a blow-back because of their foreign policy of meddling in other countries. Why are we sacrificing our lives and our resources to back the Bush agenda to control the middle east?

    Not only are we sacrificing Canadian lives, we are associates in the deaths of Afghanistan civilians (called “collateral damage”) and in a court of law, we would be accessories to murder.

    Could it be true that Canada now has a leader who has delusions of grandeur about Canada being in the big leagues with the most powerful (and the biggest bully) country on earth? Does the leader have delusions of grandeur that Canada will be regarded as a powerful military country?

    Does Harper not realize how much America is despised throughout the world because of its actions? But he continues to want to harmonize (SPP) and blend Canada with the despised empire.

  71. kateOctober 10, 2008 at 4:40 pm #

    What are we even doing over there? I thought we were about peace keeping and from your report we have a mere 63 soldiers attending to UN peace keeping missions? Why are we still spending money on this war? Our focus needs to be on the Environment and social issues like health care and child care not oil – if that’s still what it’s about. It’s so frustrating.

  72. Sylvia GriffithsOctober 10, 2008 at 4:39 pm #

    I watched your CBC segment and was pleased with your assessment.War is the ultimate abomination.Money wasted and lives destroyed.We teach children not to fight, when are we going to teach governments the stupidity of fighting.Keep them honest Your work is appreciated

  73. MacaruOctober 10, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    The artistic people, women and children of Canada are paying for the occupation of Afghanistan with cutbacks by the Conservative Government.

  74. Jamelie HassanOctober 10, 2008 at 4:33 pm #

    Thank you for bringing this information to the public’s attention at such a crucial time and reveal how these immense military expenditures are dramaticlly affecting the future of our country. It is extremely painful to see how the on-going war has brought so much grief to so many thousands of people – to our soldiers and to the people of Afghanistan, civilians who are powerless in the face of the destruction of their country. Profiteering politicians should not be allowed to further benefit from war – citizens should continue to demand our politicians to act with their consciences and listen to what the people of Canada are asking them to do – immediately withdraw Canadian forces from Afghanistan.
    Maybe we can prove to the internatioanl community that we are not a client state of the USA.

  75. Maria VirjeeOctober 10, 2008 at 4:31 pm #

    No, the war in Afghanistan has NOT been worth this tremendous cost! It is becoming ever more obvious that we are not achieving anything by fighting in Afghanistan. Even a fraction of this money used for peacebuilding could ultimately achieve much more, not only in Afghanistan but in other places too. I am not so naive as to assume that peacebuilding in Afghanistan would be easy – no! But it needs to be attempted.

  76. patricia ludwickOctober 10, 2008 at 4:27 pm #

    The cost of war is always too high, in terms of human suffering, wildlife and environmental damage, and in the seeds of hatred that are planted. I deeply regret that my country has chosen this method of “helping” the people of Afghanistan, by misleading the public and the ordinary soldier about the true purpose of this decision.

  77. Judith WeissOctober 10, 2008 at 4:19 pm #

    No, the costs of the war have been far too high, both in terms of human loss and environmental and ecological disruption and to our economy.

    We can’t begin to calculate the incalculable cost of communities destroyed in Afghanistan (and now Pakistan) and of the thousands of individual lives snuffed out and the milliones traumatized by the war.
    The poor in Canada as well as in other countries are suffering from the transfer of fund to the war machine.
    Canada’s role as a peacemaker has been irremediably compromised.
    We are engaged in a dead-end war under the command of single-minded US officers and as part of an operation driven by the desire for revenge and by lies (about being there to rebuild a failed state, to protect women,etc.). We are propping up a corrupt government and our own gov’t is becoming corrupted by the arms industry.
    Now we’re being dragged into a “war on drugs” instead of facilitating alternative solutions to the poppy problems, like the one Bolivia has embarked on to curb the cultivation of coca. We need to engage in diplomacy, not keep killing civilians and creating more terrorists.
    This is beyond making us ashamed. It should make us really, really scared.

  78. Don DonaldsonOctober 10, 2008 at 4:13 pm #

    I am not at all surprised that the cost of this “Follow the U.S. War-Making” approach is going to cost that much money.
    How about the lives of the Afghan civilians?
    I used to praise our “PEACE_KEEPING FORCE”.
    I am now ashamed of our country!!!

  79. Pierre JasminOctober 10, 2008 at 4:10 pm #

    And of course these billions do not cover the cost of “specialized war equipment for Afghanistan”, like Chinooks, C-7, J231, armored tanks, drones and so on for another 100 billions of $.
    Pierre Jasmin
    president of the great Artists for Peace
    who, thanks to unissonsnosvoix.ca and other initaitives, are hopefully defeating the conservatives in Québec!

  80. Andrew HastieOctober 10, 2008 at 4:10 pm #

    Stephen harper, get us out of Afghanistan! 911 was planned by U.S.! at least 10 of 19 named “hijackers” are still alive! No wing marks in Pentagon, or plane marks on lawn (missile shot into it), and WTC’s blew up before plane hit! I have it caught on DVD, hole at bottom of WTC, firefighters and them heard multiple explosions going off!

  81. Ken GoldspinkOctober 10, 2008 at 4:09 pm #

    Good old fashioned common sense tells me that we cannot win this war in Afghanistan. Not one politician or high ranking member at DND has explained how we can win? No one can define victory? You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure, that unless you can secure the borders of Afghanistan to prevent Islamic Extremists from entering the country, how in Gods name can you win?. We cannot even ensure that the members of the Afghan Police or Army are not supporters of the Taliban or Al Quaida. We are wasting billions of Tax Dollars of hardworking Canadians and sacrificing the young lives of brave young Canadians in a narcotic rockpile called Afghanistan. The British spent more than 30 years in Northern Ireland and failed to win by military force. Our politicians are idiots in supporting this ongoing conflict. Just the other day a top British Brigadier announced, “We cannot win this war”.
    What a waste of lives, limbs and blood!!!!.

  82. Anita RoyOctober 10, 2008 at 4:02 pm #

    No, I don’t think the war has been worth the cost. A fraction of that amount, if used directly to fund educational and health programs and to build some infrastructure, would have won over millions of hearts in Afghanistan as well as in Canada many many years ago.

    However, that kind of spending is more brainy than brawny, and doesn’t create jobs for the Canadian military. It would have created jobs for Canadian civilians in Afghanistan, and that would have been okay by me. That kind of spending created jobs in the military equipment sector, but could have created just as many (if not more) jobs in construction and engineering. Yep, that’s a whole lot of money. And we have not much goodwill anywhere to show for it.

    And, and, and…. what about those soldiers of ours who died for no particularly good reason? How do we count that loss?


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