Many Canadians are shocked by the recent casualties in Afghanistan; some are afraid that the mission is going wrong and that we will take more and more casualties fighting an unwinnable war. Even more Canadians are unsure about why we are in Afghanistan. They never understood why Prime Minister Chretien sent us there in 2002 and why he sent us back again in 2003; they didn't understand why Prime Minister Martin moved us from Kabul to Kandahar; they don't understand why Prime Minister Harper secured parliament's approval to extend the mission until, at least, February 2009 – they, too, mourn the loss of Canadians and ask themselves: “Why?” Other Canadians cannot, will not accept that the days of traditional baby blue beret peacekeeping are gone or, at least, there are few useful tasks for Canada in the missions which remain – they mourn but their sorrow is tinged with anger at recent losses and the current governments' decision to eschew traditional UN peacekeeping in favour of peace making, a politically correct euphenism for fighting.
A few Canadians understand why we are fighting in Afghanistan. They know that Canada has real enemies who wish to destroy much of the Western society we Canadians have helped to build, sustain and defend. Recently a very senior officer told a group of fellow serving and retired officers, people who already understand why we fight, how he feels, right now, about the Canadian Forces. The Ruxted Group was taken by his remarks and shares his views. He told his audience that he had three, mixed emotions: sorrow, pride and optimism. We hope we have captured the thrust of his remarks as we restate them, in our words.