Being a soldier is a great career as long as you don't get injured or sick. Even when the military has cases of medical malpractice they do not take responsibility for their actions. If you don't believe me ask Robyn Young or the thousands of others like her who suffer at the hands of a company with no accountability. It is the only organization not obliged to take care of its injured employees.
There is simply no compatibility between humanitarian action and the use of military force in combat. One has as its singular objective the alleviation of human suffering, regardless of the sufferer's identity or affiliation; the other, by definition, involves taking the side of one group against the other. That's also why it is very worrying to hear that humanitarian assistance is being used as strategic tactic in military action.
Veterans' issues should be above politics. The men and women who serve our country, who are killed and maimed in its name and who bring their families into service with them (who serve in a different but substantial way) deserve more than to be the subject of political rhetoric and the object of electoral gamesmanship that is neither befitting our country nor helpful to our veterans.
Massive military egos, political conniving, and Western dilly-dallying have resulted in a potent brew. And now has come famine on a vast scale, in what the United Nations has described as perhaps the worst humanitarian disaster of this recent era. Two million people are now on the move, displaced by conflict and lack of resources.
Despite the high rates of exhaustion and cynicism in drone operators, only a very small percentage of drone operators met the formal criteria for occupational burnout or viewed themselves as being ineffective at their jobs. The exhausting schedules that drone operators need to follow are definitely cause for concern due to the increased risk of mishaps during drone missions.
Although comparing a broken bone to an amputated limb is not at all analogous, a civilian who loses a limb to a workplace injury is not provided anywhere near the compensation for such a tragedy as would a military member, who in all cases, is fully aware and prepared before deployment of the dangers involved in their jobs.
There was a time when Canada realized that while military security was an important investment, it was the long-term planning involved in relief and development that would ultimately bring greater measures of peace to our world. Somewhere along the way we lost that. We also lost a seat on the UN Security Council, the world's respect through our lack of action on climate change, and our altruism the moment we decided to invest development resources only in those nations that enhanced our own local economy and brought political benefit to the government.
Poet, Anatole France, once observed that, "it is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel." He could just as easily be commenting on two recent actions of our present federal government that fly directly in the face of what is supposed to be good politics: giving the people what they want. How else to explain the undue harshness against this country's veterans, or the outright attack and manipulation in the Harper government's attempts to revamp Elections Canada to its own purposes? What makes both of these instances so remarkable is the sheer arrogance of a government acting against the best interests of its own people.
When I read that Romeo Dallaire had been in a car accident on Parliament Hill just outside of East Block, I wondered if it was due to fatigue. I have never known him to be other than fully occupied and frequently exhausted in the course of his heavy schedule. Romeo has a lot more than just memories to fight. As he explained this week, he fights depression and remains medicated for PTSD. But he has turned his pain into a purpose, and in so doing he can get up every day.
I choose to wear the poppy for a different reason. I choose to wear it because as a woman with Native ancestry, I want to remember those whose faces we never see in the Heritage moments or on the Remembrance Day TV spots. While we remember the many veterans who fought in the many wars Canada has been involved in, the iconic images of these veterans are whitewashed.
My main reason for abstaining from wearing a Remembrance poppy is that I'm starting to feel like it represents a support for all of my country's military action, not just the sacrifices made by soldiers in past wars. It's as if by wearing it I'm giving my tacit agreement to Canada's activities in Afghanistan, or the ways that women are mistreated in the Canadian Forces. The truth is, though, that I don't want our military engaged in any kind of action; I don't want to feel like I have the blood of civilians (or, well, anybody) on my hands. I also feel deeply uncomfortable about a number of things that happen within military culture.