The Canadian Peace Alliance, Canadian Labour Congress, and Canadian Islamic Congress are wrong when they say that Canadians in Afghanistan are fighting an American war. Afghanistan is not Iraq — though that bloody civil mess is hardly a U.S. solo turn either. It was the British who decided it would be a good idea to install a fictional nation on either side of the Tigris, decades before the Americans showed up, and despite the vicious relationships between the sects who were expected to live within its somewhat arbitrarily developed boundaries. Now, in the absence of a strongman to keep relative peace, it’s not exactly surprising that those sects are once again struggling for supremacy.
But Iraq is not Afghanistan. Many people of the latter, particularly the women, suffered horribly under Taliban rule and are desperate for the protection of NATO forces. That is why Canada willingly sent troops to Afghanistan, even while it refused to aid the invasion of Iraq.
If the Taliban wins Afghanistan, Pakistan might flip and the entire region may destabilize. Will threats to bomb Pakistan back to the stone age work if NATO goes weak at the knees?
So the Canadian Peace Alliance, Canadian Labour Congress, and Canadian Islamic Congress are wrong when they label the military effort in Afganistan an American war. It might be fashionable to say so, but it simply isn’t true. And while I think it is important to protest war (as Candians did recently in cities across the country), it is also important to recognize heroism when we see it. To me, there is no doubt that the women and men fighting to protect Afghanistan are heroes, whatever nation they hail from.