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

By: /
30 April, 2012
By: Don Newman
Chairman of Canada 2020, Senior Columnist with

Hopefully the biggest lesson we learned from our Afghanistan experience is that “fools rush in where wise men fear to read.”

Our decision to extend our mission in the ultr-dangerous area of Kandahar and then look around for allies to join us was a glaring mistake.

So big, it is up there with the World War Two errors of sending troops to Hong Kong when it could not be defended in 1941 and volunteering for the doomed Dieppe raid a year and a half later.

We should have found the allies within NATO before we agreed to stay in Kandahar. Once we were there and taking casualties why would we think any other county would want to join us.

That decision was a “rookie mistake” of the newly elected Stephen Harper who said Canada would not “cut and run” from Afghanistan. Four years later a more mature and seasoned Harper lead Canada to “snip and walk away” from the ill fated Kandahar commitment.

Apparently he learned the most important lesson for our country in Afghanistan.

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