Eugene Lang: Unexpected War Canada in Kandahar



Wolfowitz were actually very decent to their Canadian counterparts and very understanding of Canada s military imitations but appreciative of the effort Canada did make Indeed Canadians did some of the hardest fighting in Afghanistan especially since Canadian forces did not have caveats preventing their troops from engaging the enemy and coming to the aid of allies Many European countries for historical reasons had imposed such caveats on their troops in Afghanistan severely hampering their combat effectiveness Canadians have been inclined to see themselves as peacekeepers but as Stein and Lang emphasize repeatedly this simply doesn t do justice to Canada s military history Canadians have always been warriors first and peacekeepers second The peacekeeping image we are so proud of is a myth concocted in the 1990s that has certainly not aged well Stein and Lang characterize Canada s strategy in Afghanistan as one based on three Ds defence developments and diplomacy All three had problems From a defence standpoint the collateral damage dealt to Afghan civilians especially by NATO airstrikes did huge damage to Canada s relationship with the Afghan people The debacle over how Afghan detainees were treated by Canadian forces namely by handing them over to Afghan or US forces with dubious human rights scruples added to the complication As for development much of Canadian aid was invisible to the Afghans we were helping This is because the funds were often channeled by the Canadian government through either intergovernmental organizations or through the Afghan government Part of Canadian and Allied strategy was to bolster the prestige of the Afghan government in the eyes of the Afghan people so they would esteem it and consider it Fitness for Living legitimate Unfortunately this meant that Canada often didn t get the credit for the material contributions it made Finally on a diplomaticevel the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defence were seldom on the same page The former was sluggish and generally ineffectual Something that I found uite remarkable about Canada s Love Is Blind legacy in Afghanistan was that it was Ottawa in particular that insisted on turning ISAF over the NATO command in 2003 Why The answer was uite simple Bringing ISAF under NATO command made Brussels responsible for finding replacement troops that could take the place of Canadians once their rotation in Afghanistan was over In other words it alleviated the problem of Ottawa having to independently canvas for relief from other countries This was originally a problem Canadian troops faced when they were stationed in Kabul in 2002 2003 However it would become an even acute issue when fighting intensified starting in 2006 and that in Kandahar All in all this is a fine book Certainly makes clear how ill euipped the Canadian government was making the decision to move from the relatively safe UN mission in Afghanistan to become part of the NATOed war in Khandahar Interesting how the US manipulated Canada into the aggressive role in Afghanistan as an alternative to participation in the ill fated invasion of Ira Insightful if hawkish story of the Canadian mission Surpisingly made me think favorably of Paul Marti. A first hand account by a former Defence Ministry insider the book offers a gripping account of how Canada became embroiled in a new kind of war fighting insurgency in a failed stat.

Eugene Lang » 4 characters

BOOKS Unexpected War Canada in Kandahar AUTHOR Eugene Lang – cafe1919.org

This is a book for those who want to understand the policy decisions that ed to Canada s involvement in the war in Afghanistan There is no description of the actual fighting and operations ike Medusa are only mentioned briefly to illustrate the outcome of policy decisions None the The World in the Curl less it is a interesting book than I expected The authors interviewed many of the participants in the decision making and that brings this aliveThere is a dreadful clanger on the fourth page Shinook helicopters that alarmed me and I still wonder how a former chief of staff to two former Ministers of Defence ie Lang could have missed this but the book otherwise seems very credible and well informed What the heck are we doing in Afghanistan How did Canada every get into this mess What is the real reason young Canadians must die there Many of the answers are provided here and they m This is a book for politicos Extremely well researched review and analysis of the inside political decisions that resulted in the Canadian deployemnt to AfghanistanIf by tales from the battlefield you mean the corridors of External Affairs Langevin Block and NDH this is the book for you Engrossing You couldn t make this stuff up There is than one angle to this book first how the federal government does not work as well as it should due to theack of movement between departments by public servants who are stuck into a job classification preventing them from moving around and due to its slavery to process over results the authors do get it right second whether Western countries should try to help as best as they can I believe we need to do so or run away as soon as one of our citizens gets hurt which seems to be the preference of the book s authors third is there a better future for Afghanistan In its conclusion despite Connexity leaning towardseaving through most of the book the authors reveal an Afghan s cry for help We ask you not to repeat the mistakes you made in the 1990 s not to abandon Afghanistan again If the international forces withdraw Afghanistan will descend into chaosOne possible solution which may need to be A Personal Influence looked at seriously would be the creation of a new country Pashtunistan which would take away from both Afghanistan and Pakistan the areas where the Pashtus are the majority and allow both of these countries to move forward without the constant fear of tribal wars Pashtunistan would still need to move away from tribal mentalities but if we allow them to move so they just might surprise the world and succeed But the world stuck into the belief that artificial borders must remain sacred may not be uite ready to do so outside of Europe where small states have been multiplying over the past two decades sometimes without due cause Great understanding of how Canada got involved in Afghanistan and where we were are as off 2007 I read this book as part of a research project and it was very educational The authors show aot of familiarity with Ottawa and do a prodigious job of illustrating how byzantine the Canadian government can be Certain departments are also stagnant and stuck in their ways All of this has huge implications for architecting not to mention carrying out foreign policy initiatives This With our troops now committed until 2009 The Unexpected War exposes the poverty of Canadian foreign policy arguing that Canada’s various military missions in Afghanistan have been.

As eminently true of the Canadian involvement in Afghanistan This is a 2007 text and thus a primary source in its own right in understanding the war Canadians fought in Kandahar Stein and Lang as the title they chose implies emphasize that Canada was carried along with events related to Afghanistan It was the object as countries often are of mission creep What started out as a argely traditional peacekeeping role for Canada in Kabul eventually evolved into a conventional war in Kandahar in the south of Afghanistan Although the Canadian effort in that country is mostly associated in the Canadian memory with the Harper government it was actually the Liberal regime that originally committed Canada to the US Operation Enduring Freedom and then the International Stabilization Assistance Force ISAF Liberals defined the original Canadian involvement in the mission and eft an enduring mark on it John MacCallum and Bill Graham are salient figures in this history Their importance is rivalled by General Rick Hillier the Chief of the Defence Staff who starting in the period 2004 2005 radically altered the culture of the Canadian military in the crucible of the Afghanistan mission Stein and Lang even suggest that Hillier was a policy maker instead of just a policy taker unusual influence in a non political military Bone Mountain (Inspector Shan, like Canada s What Stein and Lang do brilliantly is place the decision making in Ottawa about Afghanistan suarely in the context of Canada s overarching geopolitical concerns Foremost among these is of course the country s relationship with the United States Canada went along with the wave of sympathy for the United States in the wake of 911 and its original commitment to ISAF must be understood in that context However as time went on the Canadian relationship with its American neighbour soured For one thing Canada wasess than enthusiastic about participating in the American Ballistic Missile Defense BMD initiative Moreover Canada refused to contribute to or even morally support the 2003 invasion of Ira This hesitancy was borne as much from a Neutered by the vet (The League of Dominant Women lack of capability as principled opposition Regardless Ottawa wasooking for a way to smooth things over with Washington and the suggestion that Canada deploy an entire battle group to the most dangerous part of Afghanistan Kandahar presented itself as the perfect balm Indeed it came to be known in federal eadership circles as the Afghanistan solution It meshed very well with the Department of Foreign Affairs search for a 21st century foreign policy and Rick Hillier s project to rebuild the Canadian military into a fighting force he envisioned after its near annihilation in the 1990s under Liberal government neglect There can be no doubt that Canadians fought extremely bravely and incurred relatively heavy casualties in Afghanistan in proportion to their numbers and the size of the country under whose flag they fought Kandahar because of its ocation on the Pashtun border with Pakistan and its identity as the Taliban s bastion was the project no other country wanted Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon were only too happy to hand responsibility for it over to Canada in order to free up troops for redeployment to Ira Rumsfeld and. Ad hoc in nature and made on the basis of political calculations often flawed about Canadian–American relations Drawing upon interviews with key decision makers and advisors and.