Canada was a country with little say on world issues that involve warfare at the NATO table. Then, Afghanistan broke out in a civil crisis, and it was Canada’s call to step up. The country’s military forces were small compared to larger German and Italian contingents, but that meant nothing when it came to pushing weight around during meetings about Afghan operations (pg.9, para. 1, The Afghanistan Papers NO.10, Stephen M. Saideman). Whereas Italy and Germany spent most of their time creating excuses and finding fault in every plan before sending troops, Canada took action immediately. CAFs were sent to help remove the insurgent group, and help rebuild Afghanistan to be a self-sufficient country. This changed how NATO looked at Canadian forces, “So, the first lesson is that influence now comes to those that do, not to those who are just present. It was no accident that the Libyan mission was commanded by a Canadian after the country’s performance in Afghanistan,” (pg. 9, para. 2, The Afghanistan Papers NO.10, Stephen M. Siademan).
Having sent a large number of Canadian officers to Afghanistan, it is likely that many will have adapted to changes that were made when serving, and will carry on their previous commander’s beliefs. For example, Rick Hillier, Commander of the Canadian Army and Commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Forces in Kabul, was a man that soldiers looked up to and the nation relied on. “Action talks, bull—- walks. Actions speak loudly. So, when we started delivering things (to our troops), like an airplane, like our new main battle tank, like the vehicles that we needed in a place like Afghanistan, all of a sudden you deliver one of those things and do it in a very short period of time their eyes pop open and they think ‘Oh my God, this time they’re serious’, and we were. Remember it’s about people, and you can’t go wrong.” (It’s All About People, Hillier Tells Leaders; 2010, Lisa Wright, para. 13). Hillier did not only change the way people thought about the CAF, but he was a commander that changed the way minority soldiers were treated. He was called ‘Uncle Rick’ by his troops due to the way he helped develop his soldiers. “Hillier would regularly sit and eat with the troops in the mess; this at a time when most Generals insisted they be given their own mess separate from the others. At briefings, Hillier asked every person what they thought about a situation at hand – regardless of their rank, language, or nationality” (Why troops so loved Gen. Hillier, Edmonton Journal, 2008). Hillier retired on July 1st, 2008, and not much has changed since he left. Many officers who experienced his way of collaboration and having seen his results continue to attempt walking in his footsteps. (The Afghanistan Papers NO.10, Stephen M Saidmen).