July 5 isn’t likely to leave a lasting mark on history. However, the end of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan is a historic moment for our nation. The book is closed on our decade-long involvement and it will take at least as much time before we’ll truly understand what our soldiers were able to achieve.
In 2007, Master-Cpl. Colin Bason of Abbotsford was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Other local soldiers, many who served with the Abbotsford Airfield Engineers, were part of the effort there.
The question now is what’s next for Canada’s military? After spending so much time and resources in Afghanistan the culture of our forces has been indelibly shaped by this experience.
Some of the attention is now focused on Libya and its ongoing civil war. But this does not appear to be the kind of endless conflict that was Afghanistan.
And then there are plans for a ramped-up military presence in the Arctic. This will also take tremendous resources but will be an entirely different kind of mission.
The war in Afghanistan cost Canadians more than $11 billion, a number that could double as we deal with the legacy of returning veterans. Despite our departure the work continues, including by a contingent of Canadians tasked with training Afghans to take charge of their own security. Elsewhere in the world we can only guess where the next trouble spot will be.
We might not make a big deal come next July 5, but Canadians can take pride in the work done by our military personnel over the last decade and feel confident that whatever comes next, they’ll make a difference on the world stage.
– Black Press