Paris: What is the biggest lesson Canada can take from its experience in Afghanistan?

By: /
April 30, 2012

The danger of hubris.

1) Canadian politicians and military might want to read Barbara Tuchman's The March of Folly the next time they are tempted by a similar adventure, and a reputable history of whatever country may be on the contemporary radar screen. Afghanistan had never been defeated by a foreign military. Its people had a long history of ferociously rejecting all attempts to conquer or colonize.

2) Know the culture - and respect it. Afghan civilization dates back thousands of years. Canada's dates back less than 150 years.

3) Be wary of sending our military anywhere for reasons other than clearly defined, widely debated national interests, or to support a Responsibility to Protect action, if warranted . We were able to avoid being drawn into the Iraq mess. Then we went to Afghanistan as a favour to the US, whose own mission was unclear. Was it worth the deaths of so many young Canadians? I doubt it.