Living in a small city that has both a military base and a military university changes one's perspective on the military. Seeing men and women in uniform everyday changes the military from a faceless monolithic entity into a collection of individuals. That awareness, coupled with the knowledge that people stationed at our base are rotated in and out of Afghanistan, is enough to make it easy to distinguish the difference between disagreeing with how the military are used and disparaging the men and women who are part of the armed forces.
It's unfortunate that neither the people who support Canada's involvement in Afghanistan nor those who oppose it seem to be able to handle that distinction. On one side are those who say you have to endorse the war in order to support the troops, while the other seems to think that saying anything positive about the military implies implicit support of Canada's military presence in that country. Like everyone else soldiers are more than just their profession, and by forgetting that we make it easier for governments to expend their lives without responsibility. There isn't another profession in the world where those in charge would even consider the death or injury of their employees in terms of "acceptable casualties".
It doesn't help that the majority of military fiction, either in books or filmed, has a tendency to deal in stereotypes and cliches when it comes to the depiction of soldiers both on and off the battlefield. It's rare indeed for them to take the time to recreate in any detail the day to day routine of soldiers not under fire, or develop their characters beyond types. There have been some exceptions over the years of course, but not nearly enough, which is what makes Tanya Huff's Confederation series of military science fiction novels such a pleasure to read.
Valor's Trial, distributed in Canada by Penguin Canada, is the fourth instalment of the series that's set sometime in the future. Humanity, and a couple of other less evolved, war-like races, have been enlisted by a confederation of elder races (i.e., pacifists) to fight a mysterious alliance of beings known only as the Others. All attempts at finding a diplomatic solution to the war have ended in a lot of dead diplomats. As the two sides are able to imitate the other's technological advances far too quickly for anybody to gain an advantage, the war looks like it could be interminable.