QUEBEC — The latest Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan reportedly considered the mission pointless.
The brother of Pte. Jonathan Couturier has told a Quebec City newspaper the young soldier questioned whether anything was being accomplished in Afghanistan.
“That war over there, he found it a bit useless — that they were wasting their time over there,” Nicolas Couturier was quoted telling Quebec Le Soleil.
The soldier’s sister-in-law echoed the sentiment.
“(Jonathan) didn’t want to know anything about going there,” said Valerie Boucher, Nicolas Couturier’s spouse.
Such a strident anti-war message is rare from a family following the death of a soldier in Afghanistan.
In the vast majority of cases, relatives of soldiers say they believed in the mission and that their loved ones died for a worthwhile cause.
But the Couturier family’s reaction arrives in the middle of a debate over whether the mission has any hope of success.
Liberal Sen. Colin Kenny has called it futile, dubbing it Canada’s Vietnam — a comment that has drawn an angry denunciation from military brass.
Even Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean has waded into the issue, saying Canada’s mission is improving lives in Afghanistan.
Couturier was the 131st Canadian soldier killed in the Afghan mission.
He died and 11 others were injured when their vehicle drove over a roadside bomb.
Military colleagues lauded him for his sense of humour, and his ability to display it at the most difficult times.
Couturier’s family told Le Soleil that he always showed mixed emotions about going.
“Let’s just say he would want to (go), then he didn’t want to. When it’s your job, you don’t have a choice. You accomplish a mission. But when you leave, inside you, there’s something you hide, (that) you don’t really feel like going,” Nicolas Couturier said.
Valerie Boucher says her brother-in-law handled his doubts with stoicism: “He wouldn’t talk about it, he stayed positive, but at some moments he said he was fed up.”
It’s not the first time a family expresses such sentiments.
Last year, the father of Capt. Jonathan Snyder, who died in a freak accident when he fell into a well, said: “War is stupid. Everybody knows that. Everybody knows that. Well, no they don’t. The politicians don’t know that.”
The father, David Snyder, a former reservist himself, said he supported his son and the military, but not the Afghanistan mission.