Here’s our poll results: Would Canadians support another Afghanistan-style war?
The perils of Afghanistan and Canada’s nearly generation-long war there has hit the front pages, and even pushed itself into the federal election campaign.
However, while plenty of people are talking about the need to get former interpreters and other civilians who worked with Western military forces safely out of the Taliban-rued country, little attention has been paid to the important political lessons of the whole military fiasco.
As Doug Roche wrote last week in the PeaceQuest newsletter, “Learning that war is futile is a very hard lesson.” That’s why we asked our readers to evaluate the following question in our monthly Peace Poll: “In future, how likely is it that Canadians will support an Afghanistan-style combat mission for our military?”
More than 80 people responded, and over 70% said that it is unlikely that Canadians would support another Afghanistan-style war. This suggests that our readers are hopeful that Canadians have learned the lesson that “war is futile.”
Here are some of the many excellent comments that poll-takers submitted with their vote. Our thanks to everyone who participated.
In future, how likely is it that Canadians will support an Afghanistan-style combat mission for our military?
Somewhat likely. “As I’ve listened to various speakers around this collapse in Afghanistan, the following are my reflections:
– Too many people have suffered from this, but it is in our nature as Canadians to assist others in need.
– Change in the lives of a generation of young men and women happened for the positive during this 20 years, because women were able to feel more included and both men and women studied.
– We feel the pain of having left people behind to fend for themselves, while our lives in Canada move on, but at the same time we are doing our best to integrate the people who have fled and come to our homeland to feel a sense of belonging in a free country.
– Poverty and Climate change and Respect for all is something that will help us bring about more positive change, than using weapons of war and violent responses.”
Very likely. Regrettably, Canada’s political leadership and most Canadians remain uninformed regarding Canada’s policies of militarism and participation in American Empire and its wars of aggression. This will be painfully evident this weekend with the Canadian National Exhibition Air Show going ahead even though the Exhibition itself is closed due to covid. The F35 fighter jet will be on full display and the exhibition will act as a platform for buying this death dealing machine of war. All parties are on board for its purchase even though it will make meeting Canada’s commitments to greenhouse gas reductions impossible. Furthermore, the purchase of this jet will virtually guarantee Canada’s participation in future wars of aggression against poorer nations of brown and black skinned peoples. All one has to do is examine Canada’s record with the F18 bombing Libya, Syria, Iraq and Serbia. Canada participates deeply in the military industrial complex and most Canadians remain blissfully unaware!
Very unlikely. We Canadians are Peace Makers , not Invaders and we should not follow the United States and their Idiotic backward foreign policy especially toward Middle East , into whatever hole they plan to crawl into. They bring Shame to the Word ” Human and Humanity” and we should not do the same !!! We are better than that
Somewhat unlikely. I find it difficult to predict how Canadians might decide. In my youth this seemed a peace loving country with its own foreign policy. country. We avoided America’s cruel, imperialistic and ultimately futile war in Vietnam, even giving refuge to young American anti-war draft resisters. Militarily, we prided ourselves as peacekeepers. But now? Now I see our media boldfacedly touting our “positive contribution” to this latest atrocity. I’ve seen and see Canadians only too willing to support American gunpoint diplomacy in support of this new international, corporate, economic imperialism that supports our own mining and oil interests both at home in indigeneous communities and in poorer countries.. So I’m not sure how to answer your question about Canadians because I’m not sure where the “Canada” we once knew has gone.
Somewhat likely. It all depends what the issue is. The US shall need too have a well verified set of reasons as other nations will also but to a lesser degree to join them in a NATO type of action.
No change. In a world of big bully countries Canada is unlikely to have the capacity to resist being bullied into joining with an aggressive Imperial power. I do not like to think that this is so, but our past history is likely to be our future as well unless we nationally step away from the influence, culturally, militarily and economically from that super power. Is that even conceivable?
Very unlikely. I hope we realize the disaster of war!
Somewhat likely. Canada is already engaged, via out military exports, in war in Yemen. Such involvement is highly likely in other conflicts.
No change. 158 Canadians died in Afghanistan, “because we said no to the Americans when they asked us to take part in the Iraq invasion, therefore we better not say no again to participating in the Afghan war,” according to the Canadian government at the time. Not to achieve peace or help the Afghan people, but solely to meet the demands of the empire, 158 lives were sacrificed. NATO allies, i.e. American vassal states will happily supply the cannon fodder for US led “Humanitarian Interventions,” i.e. killing operations in the Middle East or elsewhere. For 20 years thousands of bombs rained down on Afghanistan, achieving nothing but enormous loss of innocent lives, a destroyed country and the Taliban back in power. Western values anyone?
Very unlikely. It is high time for Canada to get out of NATO and its bombing missions destroying countries like Syria, Irak, Afghanistan, Libya. We must go back to peace missions from disarmed Blue Helmets units. This is an Artistes pour la Paix credo.
I think that it is unlikely that we will learn from our grave errors.
No change. Sadly, it seems our foreign policy mimics or follows the US. We don’t seem to have a Canadian foreign policy reflective of what we say we stand for.
Somewhat unlikely. Canada may follow what the United States does, which most Canadians do not agree with.
Somewhat unlikely. Whenever you go in to stop tyranny by war, you must have a rebuild and return to normal plan after war has been concluded.
Very unlikely. The colonial mindset needs to be permanently extinguished, it continues to perpetuate and perpetrate disrespect and unconscious (and conscious) disregard for harmony, balance and engagement with nature and the planet.
Somewhat unlikely. It will depend on context, and how politicians ‘sell’ it.
No change. I would like us to be a nation of peace keeping, non combat, and doing away with weapon production other than for very rare domestic need. I have supported and signed petitions for approximately 60 years on such matters and have seen little or no change (although there was some hope around the time of the Vietnam war). I would love to be hopeful but do not think it will happen as we keep electing the same governments who rarely follow through on standing up against wars.
No change. Unfortunately I do not see any willingness to change in Canadian political parties and their electorate, regarding the collusion of our governments with the US. Our dependency is deeply engrained and hugely damaging.
Somewhat unlikely. “Unfortunately, I have little hope that Canadians will reject the call of the military. We have a long way to deserving our “”peacekeeper”” moniker, especially if Conservatives get back into control: Former PM Harper was turning Canada into just any other war-mongering nation.
Very unlikely. Countries should leave other countries to address their own issues. There is no country on earth that should have the right to invade another to impose their version of government or democracy. Countries should use NGOs and/or the UN to promote human rights – not their military.
Somewhat unlikely. Canadians – especially policy-makers – seem to be willing to join imperial conquest ventures when pressured by the US, Britain and other Western countries. It seems we will only back away after bitter experience.
I’m not sure how to answer your question about Canadians because I’m not sure where the “Canada” we once knew has gone.
Somewhat likely. As long as the beautiful but false propaganda continues that the US and Canada invade countries, fight wars, bomb and kill in order to promote democracy, women’s rights, justice, love and all that is good against evil forces, Canadians will likely support combat missions. The historical facts are suppressed – that the US funded and armed the Mujahideen to help them stop education for women and modernization with the aim of drawing Russia into a war in Afghanistan and “give Russia its own Vietnam experience”. We did the same in Iran and funded and armed the religious extremist groups to overthrow the Mossaddeqh to stop him promoting secular democracy and education for women. Shouldn’t we be asking the question: Is it a good idea for the US, Canada and the West to fund and arm extremist religious groups in order to advance the political and economic interests of our own empire? But the pro-war version of us being the only heroic forces of good against the forces of evil is almost totally believed. We need the voice of Martin Luther King that the US is the greatest source of violence in the world. I don’t hear that voice today.
Somewhat unlikely. Having been an American exile during the Vietnam war, I’ve always been skeptical about Canada joining the US bandwagon on foreign policy. The reason for most wars in the modern day has been gaining control of natural resources. Afghanistan sits on what may be one of the world’s largest oil deposits. That’s why Russia and the US wanted control of the country. All the lives lost and damaged, and human rights crushed, have been and will continue to be an ongoing tragedy. Painting the Taliban as a cruel administration kind of begs the question about American and Canadian bigotry and genocide towards Indigenous and BIPOC people in North America over hundreds of years.
Somewhat unlikely. “When the drums of war roll, people tend to march along in step.”
Very unlikely. Canada should never have entered that war that was undertaken under false reasons. The U.S. (CIA and Pentagon) created the mujahiddins first against the Afghan modernizing government so to intice the Soviet Union to invade, then opposed the formation of an inclusive government after 1990 and with Pakistanese ISI they created the talibans. Ossama was also their creature before he turned against them along with Al-Qaida. He died in a Pakistanese hospital in Dec. 2001. Without the US invading Afghanistan and Iraq there might be no ISIS. The “war against terror” was a fraud that only benefitted the industrial-military complex. Canada spent 20 billions $ in Afghanistan. Democracy cannot be built by military operations.
Very unlikely. I cannot claim to know whether or not Canadians would support another such mission. As a member of Conscience Canada, I am opposed to war in general simply because I find it an immature, obscene, violent, and fruitless method of problem-solving. I would not deny the right of any country to have an army, but in my view, armies should be kept within the boundaries of their own nations. I’ve heard that Joe Biden mentioned in a speech that for 20 years, the US had spent $300m PER DAY to finance their occupation of Afghanistan while there are floods, storms, fires, and poverty and hunger to fight within their own borders. If this does not define ‘stupid’ then I’m afraid there is an even bigger battle to fight! And I’ve heard it said that ‘you can’t argue with Stupid.’
No change. These military missions rarely have the support of the general public. They are the product of corrupt politicians and the military-industrial complex that finances them
These military missions rarely have the support of the general public.
No change. “Canadians already support a few ongoing missions and don’t seem inclined to stop unless lots of video and testimony from the front lines gets onto the media.
No change. It all depends on what the US does and what pressure it exerts on its “friends.”
No change. “It depends entirely on the extent to which the military-industrial complex still holds sway over Canadians’ beliefs about Canada’s role in the world, and over foreign policy principles and decisions made by government legislators at the time. Until Canada breaks free of its integration with U.S. foreign policy, gets out of NATO, and constructs an independent foreign policy that emphasizes world community, justice, and reason instead of national interest and military power, combat missions for our military will prevail by default.*military industrial complex includes the generals (military) and the multi-national corporations (CEOs) that manufacture munitions, military vehicles, etc., the industrial industries that thrive on war/physical combat.”
Somewhat unlikely. “The reason for the mission, and who is asking for our help should be questioned”
Somewhat unlikely. “Our Canadians and others tried to meet the needs of the Afghanistan people by teaching them skills that would be helpful for them to achieve positive results through their efforts of working with them and for them. With the rising crisis there on an ongoing basis it became very difficult for them to apply these new skills with the effects of the terrorists and the Taliban. I personally feel that we should continue to reach out to help other countries in need but hopefully not in a war situation but in a humanitarian mission.
No change. Foreign policy is not excessively dependent on political parties, public opinion or what outsiders may interpret as the commonsensical alternative. It follows its own rules, which depend largely on other factors: the needs of military contractors, notions of national hegemony, what the armed forces’ top officers actually want, the opinion of the conservative media, and what is perceived among the ruling elites as projecting masculine strength and invulnerability. For example, in the United States foreign policy, including military threats and actual war, has long been independent of party dominance and actual results on the ground, through Republican and Democratic administrations.
Somewhat unlikely. Participation in any type of war is relatively useless. It is costly, it will probably not solve the problem and it supposes that one is choosing sides. Diplomacy is always the best solution in times of conflict.
Somewhat unlikely. I sure hope that Canadians will not support another military venture such as the one in Afghanistan. But have we learned?
I sure hope that Canadians will not support another military venture such as the one in Afghanistan. But have we learned?
Somewhat unlikely. Most Canadians are oblivious to what their government does abroad. Even fewer care when they do know.
Somewhat unlikely. I hope that Canadians would be very less likely to support an Afghanistan-style combat mission, but such decisions are often made based on emotion rather than logic. Logic should tell us that going to war is a sign of failure. If we want peace, we must work for justice.
Somewhat unlikely. I hope it would be “very unlikely” , but seeing how short many folks’ memories are and how eagerly mainstream press cheerleads for invasions, I feel discouraged.
No change. Clearly the collapse of Afghanistan to the Taliban was a shock, but given the same politicians in power, the same power of the security state, and a corporate media which wants to reduce the ‘loss’ of Afghanistan to technical issues, it is not yet clear that people in the West could not get sucked into another military intervention. Indeed, the growing manufactured hysteria over China which many ordinary people in the West have bought into suggests that more than defeat in Afghanistan will be needed to significantly change minds
Somewhat unlikely. It was obvious even at the beginning that military victory was unlikely. A sophisticated, technology-based military could not defeat entrenched, tribal insurgents. The desire was to change their form of government and their customs but the understanding of the basic corruption in their political system was missing.
Very unlikely. “Iraq, Afghanistan ,Libya etc. should be be lessons to the West re:invasions ;waging peace and nation-building are different from waging war, and we have not be prepared for the unintended consequences.
Somewhat likely. Canadians know it is wrong but the prevailing colonial mentality will win. There are many parallels between Afghanistan and the residential school mentality but people do not see it. The belief that the whole world should be like us seems to be extremely strong. The costs are humongous but people either are unaware of it or or do not dare dispute our right to change the world. I am afraid the media are not doing a good job of providing sound journalism.
Somewhat unlikely. I voted “somewhat unlikely” in the hope that it is true but in reality it should have been “no change”. It is time for Canada to stop being the puppet of the US and NATO but it will take some hard work by us who want better things for Canada than the present weak position.