So, according to Gordon O'Connor, It could take 15 years to stabilize Afghanistan.
Okay, fair enough. I've said for a long time that you are looking at decades-long engagements when you attempt to change a country's government by force - especially when you want to impose a government that the people aren't accustomed to, nor particularly willing to accept.
Now that our terminally dishonest bunch of thugs in Ottawa have finally said the obvious - namely that if Canada is going to be involved in Afghanistan (or any other Middle East conflict), it's a long term commitment, - we can actually discuss whether or not this is what Canada should be doing.
At the moment, I argue that Canada has no place in that country, especially over a 15+ year long period of engagement. As our peacekeeping experiences in Egypt and Cyprus demonstrate, we can be very effective as peacekeepers over the long term. However, if the various parties in the conflict are not ready for an "impartial arbiter" to interpose themselves, then the 'peacekeeper' becomes a focal point for the "local parties" to attack.
The Soviet experience in Afghanistan went down many of the same paths we are currently seeing the NATO forces using. It didn't work, and little has changed in the Afghani social/political arena to make me believe that NATO has a better chance of success. (In fact, as I write this, I start to suspect that Afghanistan may well be the last gasp of another Cold War era organization as its member nations start to question their involvement)
So, now that our overly eager Conservatives are starting to admit that Afghanistan will take more than a couple of years to stabilize, Canada must ask itself whether it is prepared to commit both the people and financial resources to this war, and whether that war is in Canada's interests.