What Canada really does need to come out of this affair is a hard, serious look at how this country goes to war, and how it then conducts its statecraft during war. Rather than a narrow Colvin inquiry, we need a broad structural investigation — perhaps even a Royal Commission — into the management, mechanics, processes and structures of Canada’s governmental institutions in times of war.
We have pretended for too long that Canadians simply never go to war. But we are in one now, and there is a good chance that before the first quarter of the 21st century ends, we will be in one again. Unpreparedness for war may fit the patterns of our history all too well, but that is no excuse before our allies, our prisoners or our dead.