Lest we forget.
AFGHANISTAN (2002 - present) | 133 Canadian soldiers have died in the currrent Afghanistan mission. They are survived by 71 spouses and fiances and 102 children and stepchildren. Fifty-nine per cent of the fatalities were caused by IEDs (improvised explosive devices). Another 360 Canadian troops were wounded between 2006 and 2008. The average age of soldiers when they died is 28. (Learning how to build an IED is about as simple as the device itself; online colleges and manuals available online teach how to make them.)
Our war dead in the currrent Afghanistan mission:
1. Sgt. Marc Leger, 29, of Lancaster, Ont., d. April 18, 2002.
2. Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, 24, of Montreal, Que., d. April 18, 2002.
3. Pte. Richard Green, 21, of Mill Cove, N.S., d. April 18, 2002.
4. Pte. Nathan Smith, 24, of Tatamagouche, N.B., d. April 18, 2002.
5. Sgt. Robert Alan Short, 42, of Fredericton, N.B., d. Oct. 2, 2003.
6. Cpl. Robbie Christopher Beerenfenger, 29, of Ottawa, Ont., d. Oct. 2, 2003.
7. Cpl. Jamie Brendan Murphy, 26, of Conception Harbour, N.L., d. Jan. 27, 2004.
8. Pte. Braun Scott Woodfield, 24, of Eastern Passage, N.S., d. Nov. 24, 2005.
9. Master Cpl. Timothy Wilson, 30, of Grand Prairie, Alberta, d. March 2, 2006.
10. Cpl. Paul Davis, 28, of Bridgewater, N.S., d. March 2, 2006.
11. Pte. Robert Costall, 22, of Gibsons, B.C., d. March 29, 2006.
12. Cpl. Matthew Dinning, 23, of Wingham, Ont., d. April 22, 2006.
13. Lt. William Turner, 45, of Toronto, Ont., d. April 22, 2006.
14. Bombardier Myles Mansell, 25, of Victoria, B.C., d. April 22, 2006.
15. Cpl. Randy Payne, 32, of Gananoque, Ont., d. April 22, 2006.
16. Capt. Nichola Goddard, 26, of Calgary, Alberta, d. May 17, 2006.
17. Cpl. Anthony Boneca, 21, of Thunder Bay, Ont., d. July 9, 2006.
18. Cpl. Francisco Gomez, 44, of Edmonton, Alberta, d. July 22, 2006.
19. Cpl. Jason Patric Warren, 29, of Quebec City, Que., d. July 26, 2006.
20. Cpl. Christopher Jonathan Reid, 34, of Truro, N.S., d. Aug. 3, 2006.
21. Sgt. Vaughn Ingram, 35, of Burgeo, N.L., d. Aug. 3, 2006.
22. Cpl. Bryce Jeffrey Keller, 27, of Regina, Sask., d. Aug. 3, 2006
23. Pte. Kevin Dallaire, 22, of Calgary, Alberta, d. Aug. 3, 2006.
24. Master Cpl. Raymond Arndt, 31, of Edson, Alberta, d. Aug. 5, 2006.
25. Master Cpl. Jeffrey Scott Walsh, 33, of Regina, Sask., d. Aug. 9, 2006.
26. Cpl. Andrew James Eykelenboom, 23, of Comox, B.C., d. Aug. 11, 2006.
27. Cpl. David Braun, 27, of Raymore, Sask., d. Aug. 22, 2006.
28. Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish, 38, of Truro, N.S., d. Sept. 3, 2006.
29. Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan, 39, of Mount Pearl, N.L., d. Sept. 3, 2006.
30. Pte. William Jonathan James Cushley, 21, of Port Lambton, Ont., d. Sept. 3, 2006.
31. Sgt. Shane Stachnik, 30, of Waskatenau, Alberta, d. Sept. 3, 2006.
32. Pte. Mark Anthony Graham, 33, of Hamilton, Ont., d. Sept. 4, 2006.
33. Pte. David Byers, 22, of Espanola, Ont., d. Sept. 18, 2006.
34. Cpl. Shane Keating, 30, of Dalmeny, Sask., d. Sept. 18, 2006.
35. Cpl. Keith Morely, 30, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, d. Sept. 18, 2006.
36. Cpl. Glen Arnold, 32, of McKerrow, Ont., d. Sept. 18, 2006.
37. Pte. Josh Klukie, 23, of Thunder Bay, Ont., d. Sept. 29, 2006.
38. Sgt. Craig Paul Gillam, 40, of South Branch, N.L., d. Oct. 3, 2006.
39. Cpl. Robert Thomas James Mitchell, 32, of Owen Sound, Ont., d. Oct. 3, 2006.
40. Trooper Mark Andrew Wilson, 39, of London, Ont., d. Oct. 7, 2006.
41. Sgt. Darcy Tedford, 32, of Calgary, Alberta, d. Oct. 14, 2006.
42. Pte. Blake Williamson, 23, of Ottawa, Ont., d. Oct. 14, 2006.
43. Chief Warrant Officer Robert Girouard, 46, of Bouctouche, N.B., d. Nov. 27, 2006.
44. Cpl. Albert Storm, 36, of Niagara Falls, Ont., d. Nov. 27, 2006.
45. Cpl. Kevin Megeney, 25, of Stellarton, N.S., d. March 6, 2007.
46. Sgt. Donald Lucas, 31, of St. John's, N.L., d. April 8, 2007.
47. Cpl. Aaron E. Williams, 23, of Perth-Andover, N.B., April 8, 2007.
48. Cpl. Brent Poland, 37, of Camlachie, Ont., d. April 8, 2007.
49. Pte. David Robert Greenslade, 20, of Saint John, N.B., d. April 8, 2007.
50. Pte. Kevin Vincent Kennedy, 20, of St. Lawrence, N.L., d. April 8, 2007.
51. Cpl. Christopher Paul Stannix, 24, of Dartmouth, N.S., d. April 8, 2007.
52. Master Cpl. Allan Stewart, 31, of Newcastle, N.B., d. April 11, 2007.
53. Trooper Patrick James Pentland, 23, of Geary, N.B., d. April 11, 2007.
54. Master Cpl. Anthony Klumpenhouwer, 25, of Listowel, Ont., d. April 18, 2007.
56. Master Cpl. Darryl Jason Priede, 30, of Burlington, Ont., d. May 30, 2007.
57. Trooper Darryl Caswell, 25, of Bowmanville, Ont., d. June 11, 2007.
58. Sgt. Christos Karigiannis, 31, of Laval, Que., d. June 20, 2007.
59. Cpl. Stephen Frederick Bouzane, 26, of Scarborough, Ont., d. June 30, 2007.
60. Pte. Joel Vincent Wiebe, 22, of Edmonton, Alberta, d. June 20, 2007.
61. Capt. Matthew Johnathan Dawe, 27, of Kingston, Ont., d. July 4, 2007.
62. Cpl. Jordan Anderson, 25, of Iqaluit, Nunavut, d. July 4, 2007.
63. Cpl. Cole Bartsch, 23, of Whitecourt, Alberta, d. July 4, 2007.
64. Pte. Lane Watkins, 20, of Clearwater, Manitoba, d. July 4, 2007.
65. Cpt. Jefferson Clifford Francis, 37, of Halifax, N.S., d. July 4, 2007.
66. Master Cpl. Colin Bason, 28, of Abbotsford, B.C., d. July 4, 2007.
67. Pte. Simon Longtin, 23, of Longueuil, Que., d. Aug. 19, 2007.
68. Master Warrant Officer Mario Mercier, 43, of Estrie, Que., d. Aug. 22, 2007.
69. Master Cpl. Christian Duchesne, 34, d. Aug. 22, 2007.
70. Major Raymond Ruckpaul, 42, of Hamilton, Ont., d. Aug. 29, 2007.
71. Cpl. Nathan Homburg, 24, of Calgary, Alberta, d. Sept. 24, 2007.
72. Cpl. Nicolas Raymond Beauchamp, 28, of Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., d. Nov. 17, 2007.
73. Pte. Michel Levesque, 25, of Riviere-Rouge, Que., d. Nov. 17, 2007.
74. Gunner Jonathan Dion, 27, of Val-d'Or, Que., d. Dec. 30, 2007.
75. Warrant Officer Hani Massouh, 41, b. Alexandria, Egypt, d. Jan. 6, 2008.
76. Cpl. Eric Labbe, 31, of Rimouski, Que., d. Jan. 6, 2008.
77. Trooper Richard Renaud, 26, of Alma, Que., d. Jan. 15, 2008.
78. Cpl. Etienne Gonthier, 21, of Quebec City, Que., d. Jan. 23, 2008.
79. Trooper Michael Yuri Hayakaze, 25, of Edmonton, Alberta, d. March 2, 2008.
80. Bombardier Jeremie Ouellet, 22, of Matane, Que., d. March 11, 2008.
81. Sgt. Jason Boyes, 32, of Napanee, Ont., d. March 16, 2008.
82. Pte. Terry John Street, 24, of Gatineau, Que., d. April 4, 2008.
83. Cpl. Michael Starker, 36, of Calgary, Alberta, d. May 6, 2008.
84. Capt. Richard Leary, 32, of Brantford, Ont., d. June 3, 2008.
85. Capt. Jonathan Snyder, 26, of Penticton, B.C., d. June 7, 2008.
86. Cpl. Brendan Anthony Downey, 26, of Saskatoon, Sask., d. July 4, 2008.
87. Pte. Colin William Wilmot, 24, of Fredericton, N.B., d. July 5, 2008.
88. Cpl. James (Jim) Hayward Arnal, 25, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, d. July 18, 2008.
89. Master Cpl. Joshua (Josh) Brian Roberts, 29, of Saskatoon, Sask., d. Aug. 9, 2008.
90. Master Cpl. Erin Doyle, 32, of Kamloops, B.C., d. Aug. 11, 2008.
91. Sgt. Shawn Allan Eades, 33, of Hamilton, Ont., d. Aug. 21, 2008.
92. Cpl. Dustin Roy Robert Joseph Wasden, 25, of Spiritwood, Sask., d. Aug. 21, 2008.
93. Sapper Stephan John Stock, 25, of Campbell River, B.C., d. Aug. 21, 2008.
94. Cpl. Andrew Paul Grenon, 23, of Windsor, Ont., d. Sept. 3, 2008.
95. Cpl. Michael James Alexander Seggie, 21, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, d. Sept. 3, 2008.
96. Pte. Chadwick James Horn, 21, of Calgary, Alberta, d. Sept. 3, 2008.
98. Warrant Officer Robert John Wilson, 38, of Keswick, Ont., d. Dec. 5, 2008.
99. Cpl. Mark Robert McLaren, 23, of Peterborough, Ont., d. Dec. 5, 2008.
100. Pte. Demetrios Diplaros, 24, of Scarborough, Ont., d. Dec. 5, 2008.
101. Cpl. Thomas James Hamilton, 26, of Truro, N.S., d. Dec. 13, 2008.
102. Pte. Justin Peter Jones, 21, of Baie Verte, N.L., d. Dec. 13, 2008.
103. Pte. John Michael Roy Curwin, of Mount Uniacke, N.S., d. Dec. 13, 2008.
104. Pte. Michael Bruce Freeman, 28, of Peterborough, Ont., d. Dec. 26, 2008.
105. Warrant Officer Gaetan Joseph Roberge, 45, of Hanmer, Ont., d. Dec. 27, 2008.
106. Sgt. Gregory John Kruse, 40, of New Maryland, N.B., d. Dec. 27, 2008.
107. Cpl. Brian Richard Good, 42, of Ottawa, Ont., d. Jan. 7, 2009.
108. Sapper Sean David Greenfield, 25, of Pinawa, Manitoba, d. Jan. 31, 2009.
109. Warrant Officer Dennis Raymond Brown, 38, of St. Catharines, Ont., d. March 4, 2009.
110. Cpl. Dany Oliver Fortin, 29, of Baie-Comeau, Que., d. March 4, 2009.
111. Cpl. Kenneth Chad O'Quinn, 25, of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., d. March 4, 2009.
112. Trooper Marc Diab, 22, of Mississauga, Ont., d. March 8, 2009.
113. Master Cpl. Scott Vernelli, 28, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., d. March 20, 2009.
114. Cpl. Tyler Brooks, 24, of Port Colborne, Ont., d. March 20, 2009.
115. Trooper Jack Bouthillier, 20, of Hearst, Ont., d. Mar. 20, 2009.
116. Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes, 22, of Ripples, N.B., d. March 20, 2009.
117. Cavalier Karine Blais, 21. of Les Mechins, Que., d. April 13, 2009.
118. Major Michelle Mendes, 30, of Wicklow, Ont., d. April 24, 2009.
119. Pte. Alexander Peloquin, 20, of Region of Laurentides, Que., d. June 8, 2009.
120. Cpl. Martin Dube, 35, of Quebec City, Quebec., d. June 14, 2009.
121. Cpl. Nicholas Bulgar, 30, of Buckhorn, Ont., d. July 3, 2009.
122. Master Cpl. Charles-Philippe Michaud, 28, of Edmunston, N.B., d. July 4, 2009.
123. Master Cpl. Pat Audet, 38, of Montreal, Que., d. July 7, 2009.
124. Cpl. Martin Joannette, 25, of Saint-Calixte, Que., d. July 7, 2009.
125. Pte. Sebastian Courcy, 26, of Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., d. July 16, 2009.
126. Cpl. Christian Bobbitt, 23, of Sept-Iles, Que., d. Aug. 2, 2009.
127. Sapper Matthieu Allard, 21, Val-d'Or., Que., d. Aug. 2, 2009.
128. Major Yannick Pepin, 36, of Victoriaville, Que., Sept. 6, 2009.
129. Cpl. Jean-Francois Drouin, 31, of Quebec City, Quebec, d. Sept. 6, 2009.
130. Pte. Patrick Lormand, 21, of Chute-a-Blondeau, Ont., d. Sept. 14, 2009.
131. Pte. Jonathan Couturier, 23, of Loretteville, Que., Sept. 17, 2009.
132. Lt. Justin Garrett Boyes, 26, Saskatoon, Sask., d. Oct. 28, 2009.
133. Sapper Steven Marshall, 24, of Calgary, Alberta, d. Oct. 30, 2009.
Envoy Glyn Berry, 59, among the most respected members of the Canadian diplomatic service, was killed in Afghanistan on Jan. 27, 2006.
The following is not, nor is it meant to be, a complete survey of Canadian military activity past and present.
IN SERVICE SINCE CONFEDERATION | More than 100,000 Canadians have died in war and peacekeeping missions since Confederation, including 66,655 soldiers lost in the First World War and 46,999 troops who perished in the Second World War.
More often than not since Confederation, Canada has been at war or engaged in peacekeeping missions, or both.
Those conflicts include the Red River Expedition, the Boer War, the First World War, the Russian Civil War, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Persian Gulf War, the Kosovo War, the invasion of Afghanistan immediately following the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and the currrent war against the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. About 30,000 Canadians volunteered to fight in the Vietnam War, in which 110 Canadians died and Canadian provision of war materiel was extensive. Three Canadian frigates and a destroyer were deployed to the Persian Gulf near the outset of the Iraq War (2003 - ), which together with 100 Canadian exchange officers sent to the region amounted to a larger commitment than all but three nations that were formally part of the "coalition of the willing" that Canada officially chose not to join.
The lives of Canadian soldiers have also been lost in the more than 32 peacekeeping missions, under the auspices of the U.N., NATO and other coalitions, to which Canada has committed more troops than any other country, and suffered more fatalities than any nation other than India.
There are 55 war cemetaries abroad for Canadian soldiers killed in conflict since 1867. They are in Belgium (2), Cyprus (1), Denmark (1), England (13), France (16), Germany (14), Italy (1), the Netherlands (2), Northern Ireland (1), Scotland (3) and Hong Kong (1).
BOER WAR | Above, ceremony to mark Canadian participation in the Boer War (1888-1902), or the South African Campaign, at Parliament Hill and officiated by the Duke of York, the future King George V. Lower photo: the Boer War Memorial in Halifax.
FIRST WORLD WAR (1914-1918) | Among the cruel ironies of the "war to end all wars," which claimed more than 15 million lives and was followed just two decades later by yet another world war that would cost at least 50 million lives, was that Canadians eagerly signed up for military service in the tens of thousands without need of recruiting efforts, except in Quebec. The horrors of Vimy and Passchendaele, above, became clear only after deployment, in a war of inches paid for with thousands of lives in an a conflict that ended in stalemate. This remains Canada's costliest war in lives lost. The false promise of glory made recruiting much tougher for the global conflict that followed in 1939-45. Lower photos, the Vimy memorial in Arras, France, and names of the dead projected in light on the National War Memorial in Ottawa last year.
By winning many battles for territory where British and French efforts had failed, by pioneering guerilla warfare within a conventional warfare theatre, and demanding the creation of a Canadian Corps in which Canadians for the first time fought under Canadian command (specifically, that of the strategic genius Sir Arthur Currie of B.C.), Canada is rightly said to have come of age in this conflict.
Just the same, it was a war that should never had been fought, an "unfolding of miscalculations" (historian Barbara Tuchman's phrase) even more than most wars. The First World War introduced civilian deaths to mass conflict - a legacy that would take on horrific proportions in the second global conflict soon to come. The war did not "solve" anything, in the way that, for instance, the Second World War eradicated fascism in most parts of Europe and Asia, and marked a distinct end of the colonial era already waning. So unfinished was the business of 1914-19 that another, vastly worse conflict to settle matters lay only two decades distant.
By some accounts, the war ended with the signing of the Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918. Others date it to the vindicative Versailles Treaty's signing in 1919 that established so many of the conditions for a second world war. Indeed, a state of war continued with the future Turkey until the signing of a peace treaty in 1923.
Probably the most famous of Canada at War images, a son bids farewell to a father marching off to war in New Westminster as the British Columbia Regiment embarks for faraway England, Oct. 1, 1940.
Canadian forces in Italy's Liri Valley, May 24, 1944, advancing from the Gustav Line to the Hitler Line. The U.S.-led campaign, initially spearheaded by an incompetent Gen. Mark Clark, was held to excruciatingly slow and painful gains after a misleadingly easy Allied victory in Patton and Montgomery's capture of Sicily. Mussolini fell almost immediately, and with his wife was lynched from lamposts at a filling station. What the Allies failed to anticipate was Germany's capacity to rush crack troops into the Italian peninsula to defend the Nazis' southern flank. And the Italian frontier was mountainous and muddy, slow-going for both sides.
"Buffalo" amphibious vehicles bring troops of the Canadian First Army across the Scheldt into the Netherlands for the liberation of the Low Countries. Probably nowhere in the world is a nationality more grateful for Canadian war sacrifice than the Dutch, who continue to hold memorial services marking the Canadian explusion of Nazis from their homeland. As every Canadian schoolchild learns, the proliferation of tulips each year in Ottawa is a gift from Holland, wartime home of the Dutch monarch.
This archival map shows, with the heavy blue line, the progress of the First Canadian Army from Normandy across the far north of France, into Belgium and the Netherlands and ultimately northern Germany.
Fourteen thousand reserve troops of the Canadian 3rd Division stormed Juno Beach on France's Normandy coast on D-Day, June 6, 1944 as part of Operation Overlord, the long-awaited Allied liberation of Continental Europe. Above, Canadian troops come ashore at Bernieres, Nan sector, Juno Beach. Nearby, U.S. forces were assaulting the more heavily fortified Utah and Omaha Beaches, and British soldiers were attacking at Gold and Sword Beaches.
SECOND WORLD WAR (1939-45) | After initial, brave setbacks in the defense of Hong Kong and elsewhere, the principal contribution of Canada to the Allied effort in the Second World War was the liberation of northern coastal France and the so-called "Low Countries" (below sea level), conspicuously the Netherlands; and the supply of a stupendous amount of military aircraft, munitions and other materiel to the Allies campaign. Also, it was the misfortune of Canada's most skilled flyboys - including future Wardair founder Max Ward of Edmonton - to be denied the overseas service they craved, and instead be put to work training in Canada the RAF recruits who won the Battle of Britain. The home front in Canada, as in the U.S., became an "arsenal of democracy" with civilian work and factories quickly converted to military production. By day, women worked in war factories; they spent their evenings knitting sweaters, mittens and socks for "the boys" overseas, always with a personal greeting tucked inside the garment. In stark contrast, Germany until late in the war forbade women from work outside the home - one of Hitler's more decisive miscalculations.
In contrast to the First World War, the second and far worse global conflict - in truth, one that took place almost entirely north of the Equator - really was a "war to end all world wars." This was chiefly due to planning by Franklin Roosevelt, one of the most capable war leaders in history. With the war still raging, FDR already had devised a new United Nations that would work, where the post-First World War League of Nations did not. This new multilateralism would also find expression in NATO, the Cold War coalition to protect the West from Soviet aggression. FDR also demanded that Churchill, intimate comrade-in-arms that Winnie was, understand that the era of colonialism by Britain and others was dead. The U.S. was much later entering the war than Canada, which declared war in 1939 at the same time as Britain and other British Commonwealth countries. But the second global war was a turning point in shifting Canadian dipomatic and economic allegiances from a Britain impoverished after the war to a next-door neighbour that had emerged from the conflict as a superpower to be rivalled only later by the Soviet Union.
Troops of "B" Company, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, crossing log bridge in North Korea, circa February 1951.
Battery of guns of 2nd RCHA supporting troops of the 2nd RCR, June 1951.
Canadian warship Sioux navigates an icefield in patrol duty off the Korean coast, February 1952.
KOREAN WAR (1950-53) | Recalled with bitterness by many veterans as "the forgotten war," defense of the Korean peninsula was the third-largest military deployment in Canadian history, in which 26,791 Canadian troops served and 312 military personnel died in action. The terrain of the Korean peninsula was unforgiveably rugged compared with the "Low Countries" liberated by Canadians in the Second World War just five years earlier. And as with the First World War, progress was halting in a conflict that ended in stalemate, just as the "Great War" had.
The Korean conflict was a U.N.-mandated "peace action." In fact it was directed by the U.S., and specifically by U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, hero of the Allied victory over Japan in the Second World War. But MacArthur misjudged this time, provoking a Chinese Red Army recently victorious in overthrowing an inept and corrupt status quo in Peking (now Beijing) just one year before Korean hostilities broke out. The battle-tested Red Army threatened to pour into Korea and occupy the entire peninsula until U.S. president Harry Truman replaced MacArthur with the more able U.S. Gen. Matthew Ridgway. The latter regained control of the south and maintained a holding action at the 38th parallel. The war ended there, with U.S. and other peacekeeping forces continuing to monitor the border along that parallel to this day.
A newly communist North Korea, the "Hermit Kingdom," would become one of the most closed societies of any nation. By contrast, South Korea, cleared of the enemy by Canadian, U.S. and other forces of the U.N. coalition, was destined to become an economically vibrant society, one of the four so-called "Asian tigers" whose domestic and export economy thrives. Meanwhile in North Korea, where military spending consumes almost half of GDP, civilian food shortages have been commonplace for decades.
Canadians patrolling the Eygpt-Israel border in 1962 in an early peackeeping mission.
PEACEKEEPING | Canada has been active in peacekeeping missions since the U.N. created the first military mission of its kind, in 1956-67, to secure an end to the Suez Crisis. The U.N. Emergency Force charged with that mission was promoted by U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold with a proposal from Canada's external affairs minister, Lester Pearson, who was later awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts.
Canada has participated in more than half of the approximately 60 peacekeeping missions established by the U.N. Among other jurisdictions, Canada has committed peacekeepers to operations in the Sinai Peninsula, Congo, Indonesia, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Namibia, Western Sahara, Cambodia, Somalia, Croatia, Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia, Central African Republic, East Timor, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Eritrea and Sudan. While Canadian troops are engaged in a "shooting war" in Afghanistan, and maintaining their NATO and Norad commitments, the Canadian Armed Forces are also currently participating in two separate peacekeeping missions in Sudan and one in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Peacekeeping is dangerous work. Canadian observers were killed in the Israeli Defense Forces' attack on Hezbollah positions in Lebanon in 2007. The missions of the "blue helmets" have also come under heavy criticism since the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans in a mid-1990s civil war the U.N. should have but failed to anticipate the potential lethality of, documented in Canadian Gen. Romeo Dallaire (Ret.)'s Shake Hands With the Devil. These grevious shortcomings arise from under-resourcing, just as the current "hot" wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are also marked by "too few boots on the ground," and confusion over terms of engagement. Keeping the peace sometimes requires "peace-making" to be effective in establishing law and order and civilian security, but mission participants usually are denied a mandate for any action that could be construed as militaristic conflict.
The U.S. and Canada hold peacekeeping in a very different regard. The U.S. military establishment believes peacekeeping, or non-violent conflict resolution, confuses the role of the military and dilutes the necessary willingness of military personnel to kill and be prepared to be killed inculcated in boot camp. Canada holds peacekeeping to be a noble pursuit, even a defining characteristic of the nation. Also, peacekeeping missions almost always are collaborate efforts, which find Indian and Pakistani soldiers toiling harmoniously on third-party soil despite longstanding hostile relations between their home countries. By tradition dating from the Boer War and pre-Confederation conflicts, Canadians are conditioned to fighting collaboratively and under foreign command, first French and British, later American. As a matter of national pride that helps define the U.S. Armed Forces, American troops never submit to serving under non-U.S. command. After the deaths of U.S. peacekeepers on unilateral missions in Beirut during the Reagan era and Somalia early in the Clinton administration (the "Black Hawk down" scandal), a Pentagon ambivalent about peacekeeping finally established a Peacekeeping Institute, in 1993, as part of the Army War College at the Carlisle Barracks in Pennslyvania. A peacekeeping-averse president George W. Bush and like-minded defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld in January 2003 announced the pending closure of the peacekeeping institute, but later backed down under Congressional pressure.
The Ottawa-based Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, established in 1994, has trained more than 18,000 people from over 150 countries, mostly those working in conflict zones, including civilians, military and police personnel. The Victoria-based Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific, launched in 1974, is an undergraduate school focused on international relations and emphasizing peaceful economic and social development.
HMSC Protecteur resupplies USS Wisconsin in the Persian Gulf during the Persian Gulf War.
PERSIAN GULF WAR (1990-91) | Approximately 4,000 Canadian military personnel participated in the 35-nation coalition to reverse Saddam Hussein's Iraqi occupation of oil-rich neighbour Kuwait.
IRAQ WAR (2003 - ) | HMCS Iroquois, one of four military ships deployed by Canada to the Persian Gulf in the early days of the American-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. As with Vietnam, Ottawa did not see the just cause for an unprovoked attack on Iraq. Canada did work behind the scenes at the U.N. to gain Security Council sanction of an invasion if international weapons inspectors were permitted one last examination of Iraq and determined that Saddam Hussein either possessed or was suspected of possessing weapons of mass destruction. Contrary to U.S. claims to the U.N. General Assembly, Iraq in fact did not possess WMD. Yet no matter how dubious the enterprise might have been, both in premise and execution, Canada's decision not to participate in the invasion was accompanied by the deployment of Canadian warships in the Persian Gulf meant to free up U.S. resources for the invasion (the same rationale for Canada's second, current mission in Afghanistan), and to protect U.S. naval assets in the Gulf U.S. ally Turkey having denied America permission to invade Iraq from the north through that nation, the Gulf became the only means of transporting U.S. troops into Iraq, from the south. The Canadian presence in the Gulf was regarded by a majority of Canadians as complicity in the U.S.-led invasion, which it was.
Canada's forces have always been concentrated in southwest Kandahar Province, one of the two most dangerous Afghan jurisdictions. The other is next-door Helmand Province to the west, where the fight against the Taliban is dominated by British forces. Each nation has thus suffered heavier casualties than the other 39 troop-contributing members of the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), which operates under U.N. sanction. U.S. troop casualties have steeply mounted this year, however, as the U.S. has stepped up its own campaign in Afghanistan. While U.S. forces now are active throughout the country, they have begun to focus this year on treacherous Kandahar and Helmand provinces, explaining why this has been the deadliest year for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
LAV IIIs roll out of Patrol Base Wilson, Kandahar City, Oct. 28, 2007, to conduct a "presence patrol" and gather intelligence in Zhari District. The presence patrols are intended to show Afghan civilians the Canadians are vigilant in maintaining security for rebuilding efforts. Just the same, newly built clinics and schools are swiftly destroyed by Taliban insurgents, and poppy farmers - the major supplier of opium to the European market - pay protection money to the Taliban or risk destruction of their villages.
Warrant Officer Hani Massouh (centre) speaks with an Afghan National Police officer Oct. 28, 2007 with the aid of an interpreter at a police checkpoint between Zhari and Maywind Districts. W.O. Massouh was killed in Afghanistan on Jan. 6, 2008.
Sergeant Frantz Beaujuin talks with Afghan civilians outside their home in Zhari District, seeking help with insurgent activity, and distributing leaflets warning civilians to be aware of and to report IEDs.
Gunners of X Battery, 5th Regiment, at Kandahar use a M-777 howitzer to provide supporting fire for coalition forces that have identified a Taliban position.
Canadian troops host a shura, a meeting of district elders to discuss security and rebuilding efforts, at Patrol Base Wilson at Kandahar City, Oct. 2007. Among those listening to Zhari District leader Niaz Mohammad (standing) are Canadian Forces personnel (from back of the room to front) Capt. Guy Noury, Major Dave Abound, the intepreter wishing to be nameless, and Lt. Col. Alain Gauthier, commanding officer of the Brigade Group. These outreach efforts have had mixed success, establishing goodwill that is sometimes later shattered by airstrikes against Taliban positions that have killed entire Afghan families in collateral damage. At least one Canadian soldier has been attacked by an Afghan civilian at a shura, causing serious wounds.
Engineers from 5th Regiment, based in Valcartier, Que., detonate an 87 mm. rocket near a well-travelled road separating the Zhari and Maywind Districts. Hours earlier, the engineers discovered and dismantled an IED in the same area. First six photos courtesy MilitaryPhotos.net.
Wounded Sapper Alexandre Beaudoin-D'Anjou, right, is comforted by Sapper Junior Lecours in September of this year over the death from an IED explosion of comrades Maj. Yannick Pepin, 36, and Cpl. Jean-Francis Drouin, 31. Photo: Finbarr O'Reilly, Reuters.
The coffin bearing Warrant Officer Dennis Raymond Brown is carried to a Hercules air transport at Canada's Afghan base of operations in Kandahar on March 11 of this year.
On August 24, 2007, the stretch of the MacDonald-Cartier freeway (401) that marks the route of fallen Canadian soldiers from arrival on Canadian soil at CFB Trenton to Toronto's Pearson Airport for transport to home communities was given the additional name Highway of Heroes, honouring the fallen in Canada's Afghanistan mission. This was a private, civilian initiative. While support of Canadian soldiers is near-universal in the country, support for the mission does not claim majority domestic support in Canada, the U.S., Britain, Italy or any of the other ISAF troop-contributing nations that have suffered heavy casualties.
AFGHAN MISSION (2002 - present) | Canada joined the U.S. and other nations in ousting the Taliban from control of Afghanistan, an assault beginning in November 2002. In a renewed, current Afghan mission, about 2,500 to 2,700 Canadian troops have been deployed in the fight against the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan since 2002. At seven years, this is one of the longest combat deployments in Canadian history.