How Canada Got Into The Afghan Mess & Should We Stay?
The CBC did a review of Canada’s involvement in the Afghanistan mission this evening; a seemingly-sound overview of the history of our involvement, which included comments from senior military and political officials in the former Liberal government at the time we made the decision to join. This comes on the heals of the loss of 8 Canadian soldiers in the Afghan mission over the past 48 hours. My impression is that, while many Canadians don’t think we should be there (still less than 50% of decided voters), most of those haven’t really thought through the conseqeunces of sipmly pulling out. This isn’t Iraq, and there’s a lot of confusion in the general populace on that point alone. And the rest of us semi-informed folk – even those of us who support the operation – have the sense we just don’t have all the facts.
Even more frustrating – we can’t and probably shouldn’t have all the facts. If we did, so would our enemies in the field, of course. However, the facts as presented seem to end up distilled into to the following key points:
- Canada, while not initially prepared for action in Afghanistan, has prepared itself for the mission at-hand in the past 2 years,
- the United States committment has been, at best, distracted by its failure in Iraq (and I might add unnecessarily so), and
- the success of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan (and Kandahar) depends unfrotunately not just on our own nation’s committment which has been consistent, although appropriately divided and self-questioning for a democracy, but on the committment of all of the key powers engaged in the Afghan conflict….and many of those don’t have the same stomach for casualties as our public has shown.
We can be extremely proud as a nation on several fronts where or record on this mission is concerned. It speaks to the stability of our democracy that we can have 2 successive minority governments and pull off a retraining of troops and renewed committment to a mission that that in Kandahar while arguing about it at home all the while. And that we as a nation our able to stomach the loss of so many brave soldiers in a mission as difficult as this without the strife and divisions that have baklanized the US political establishment and destroyed the presidency of George Bush Jr. speaks to the convictions of our people. Whatever we are, we’re not a nation that doesn’t stand behind those who’re ready to lay down their lives for it.
One legacy is certain – whatever the ultimate result in Kandhar. I’ll be forever proud of our soldiers and what they’ve tried to achieve for Canada in the name of helping the cause of world peace. (And I know I’m not alone.)