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The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar.

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The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar by Janice Gross Stein and Eugene Lang, Viking Canada, 2007, ISBN 9780670067220, cloth, 304 pp., $35.

The Unexpected War argues that Canada's various military missions in Afghanistan have been ad hoc in nature and made on the basis of often flawed political calculations about Canadian-American relations. Drawing upon interviews with key decision-makers and advisors, and a first-hand account by a former Defence Ministry insider, the book offers an account of how Canada became embroiled in fighting insurgency in a failed state.

From Chapter 16. "Canada in Kandahar: Making Choices"
 John Manley stepped off the plane in Kabul airport on May 13, 2007
 after a Iong trip from Ottawa. A short two months after the Taliban
 had been ousted, Foreign Minister Manley had flown to Kabul from
 Islamabad [in January 2002] to meet with newly installed President
 Karzai.

 ...

 "Would you have done anything differently in 2002," Manley was
 asked, "if you could go back and do it over? Would you still send
 the Canadian forces to Afghanistan?" ... "Yes," he answered without
 hesitation, "but we would have had a plan to stabilize Afghanistan.
 Now we know that there was no effective governance."

 ...

 Prime Minister Chretien's government. John Manley explained, did
 not understand the scope of the challenge it faced in Afghanistan.
 When Prime Minister Martin approved the deployment of troops in
 Kandahar, a mission he knew to be dangerous, he did not expect war.
 Nor did the chief of the defence staff.


Professor Janice Stein is Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management and Negotiation in the Department of Political Science and the Director of the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto. Eugene Lang is a public policy consultant and writer and the former chief of staff to two Canadian ministers of national defence.
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Publication:Ploughshares Monitor
Date:Dec 22, 2007
Words:302
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