The Politics of War

Canada's Afghanistan Mission, 2001-14

Jean-Christophe Boucher and Kim Richard Nossal

  • Published: 2017. Paperback May 2018
  • Subject Listing: Politics; History / Canadian History
  • Bibliographic information: 300 pp., 2 maps, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

When Canada committed forces to the military mission in Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, little did Canadians foresee that they would be involved in a war-riven country for over a decade. The Politics of War explores how and why Canada's Afghanistan mission became so politicized. Through analysis of the public record and interviews with officials, Boucher and Nossal show how the Canadian government sought to frame the engagement in Afghanistan as a "mission" rather than what it was - a war. This book analyzes the impact of political elites, parliament, and public opinion on the conflict and demonstrates how much of Canada's involvement was shaped by the vagaries of domestic politics.
Jean-Christophe Boucher is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at MacEwan University. Kim Richard Nossal is professor in the Department of Political Studies and the Centre for International and Defence Policy at Queen's University.

"This outstanding book is a must-read for anyone interested in Canadian foreign and defence policy, particularly the Afghanistan mission. It manages to make an original contribution to the issue of Canada and Afghanistan while at the same time providing a strong empirical confirmation of an existing critical understanding of Canada and its foreign and defence policy."
-James Fergusson, director of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies and professor in the Department of Political Studies, University of Manitoba

"The Politics of War will quickly become one of the top sources on Canada's Afghanistan mission. This is a first-class piece of scholarship that deserves to be widely read and cited."
-Duane Bratt, professor and chair of the Department of Policy Studies, Mount Royal University

Introduction: The Domestic Politics of Canada's Afghanistan Mission
1. The Away Game: Canadians in Afghanistan
2. The War That Wasn't: Framing the Mission
3. Home Pitch: Selling Afghanistan to Canadians
4. Parliament's Role: Laundering the Mission
5. Don't Mention the War: Electoral Politics and Bipartisanship
6. Detainee Games: The Politics of Distraction
7. Did Minority Government Matter? A Counterfactual Analysis
8. An Unpopular Mission: Public Opinion and Afghanistan
9. The Politics of Casualties: Evaluating the "Trenton Effect"
10. Failure to Launch: Public Mobilization and the War in Afghanistan
Conclusion: Though Poppies Grow