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Why did Canada send troops to Afghanistan

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CULMINATING ACTIVITY: CANADIAN HISTORY ESSAY Why did Canada send troops to Afghanistan? The government of Canada was rocked to its foundations on September 11, 2001. If the tragic drama of that day did not herald a new era in world history, it did introduce Afghanistan to Canada. Since the Suez Crisis of 1956, Canadian soldiers had served as peacekeepers in Cyprus, Somalia, and many other war-torn countries.1 However, Canada's reputation took a sharp turn when Prime Minister Jean Chr�tien announced on October 7 that the Canadian Armed Forces will join the United States war on Afghanistan.2 In a mobilization called Operation Apollo, Canada sent six navy ships, six transport and surveillance aircraft, and more than 2,000 members of its armed forces to Afghanistan.3 The contingent represented nearly one-third of the country's naval fleet and is the largest combat force Canada has sent abroad since the Korean War. At the time of the invasion, Canada entered the war not as peacekeepers in a United Nations body, but as combat soldiers acting in union with the American Forces to fulfill NATO obligations, defend Canada's national interest, secure national borders, and to wage war against terrorism. ...read more.


After NATO invoked Article 5, those members of the Cabinet who were closely attuned to the organization felt that Canada had to do more.11 Canada had to do better than its minimalist performance of the last decade. From the perspective of senior military officers, such as Vice Admiral Greg Maddison, this was a long awaited opportunity.12 The mission would allow the Canadian Forces to show the public that they were a well-trained fighting force, and not just blue-helmeted peacekeepers. More to the point, the mantle of peacekeepers grated on many in the Canadian military who saw themselves first and foremost as a combat-capable fighting force.13Additionally, Stephen Clarkson, professor of political economy at University of Toronto, has argued that "integrating [Canadian] troops in the U.S. military machine gave the message to the White House that Canada was fully on side."14 Ultimately, Canadian leaders believed that Canada's credibility would suffer if it failed to send combat troops to Afghanistan. Political agenda aside, sending troops to Afghanistan was necessary to protect Canadians from the threat posed by the Taliban and al-Qaeda. For the first time in decades, Canada's leaders were worried about security at home.15 The defining case being that if Afghanistan was not rid of terrorists, all NATO countries will be threatened; if Canada did not confront terrorism at its source, it would gradually creep on Canadian shores. ...read more.


soldiers and some civilians might be effected, but sometimes that is the price we pay to have peace and destroy the evil of terrorism."21 All the opposition parties welcomed Chr�tien's reasoning, except the New Democratic Party. NDP leader Alexa McDonough opposed the American led assault on Afghanistan, saying that the fight against terrorism should be waged under the aegis of the United Nations.22Nevertheless, Canada did not hesitate to send troops to Afghanistan in hopes of overthrowing the Taliban regime and putting an end to oppression in the Middle East. The image of the twin towers coming down on September 11 signalled a major political and military shift in Ottawa. Canada's deployment to Kandahar was the first combat mission for the Canadian Forces since the Korean War. Explanations for Canada's involvement in Afghanistan ranged from fulfilling NATO obligations, repairing Canada-US relations, to securing Canadian borders. However, Canada in Afghanistan is part of a larger mission; to combat global terrorism and save the oppressed citizens of Afghanistan. Canada abandoned its traditional peacekeeping role and served alongside the Americans to annihilate terrorism at its source. The chief of the defence staff made this change explicit: "We are not there to do traditional peacekeeping. We are there to combat terrorism and promote human rights. ...read more.

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