Just two weeks ago, Lincoln Dinning wrote Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking that federal flags be flown at half-mast in the event of future combat deaths.
That bit of civic lobbying became cruelly prescient - and emotional grist for a growing debate - when the Wingham, Ont., policeman's son, Cpl. Matt Dinning, became one of four Canadian soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on the weekend.
That debate may be defined thus: Are we at war against the Taliban, or are we at peace? If the former, then military casualties are an expected, if tragic, consequence of our deployment. If the latter, and our soldiers are to be seen as peacekeepers, not combatants, then every death should be regarded as an aberration and, therefore, an occasion for national anguish and soul-searching.
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