Author Topic: Response's To "Ruxted On The Media's Handling Of Cpl. Boneca's Death"  (Read 77900 times)

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Offline Thucydides

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Sorry Tony, today's London Free Press has the lead story, front page, above the fold, larger than normal headline font and "boxed" for maximum visual impact:

"He was 'misled'" : http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/National/2006/07/11/1678530-sun.html

What point are they trying to make?

Oh yes, the sub head: But the Tory government brushes aside accusations from Cpl. Anthony Boneca's friends and family

I wonder what sort of impression this will make on the people who walk past the news stand? Where are the super sized headlines and arresting visuals about the success of various PRT's and the day to day activities of the troops? I am pretty close to writing this paper and others who publish this tripe off as "hostile media".

Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Michael Dorosh

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I didn't trust reporters when I was serving.  I still don't trust reporters now.  If they don't have the story they want, they will find a way to get it in many circumstance's.  When I talk to the press I want a witness and I want it very clear what is said from experience.  In this case as has been mentioned I have heard nothing directly from the young Corporal.  Just some distressed family and loved ones.  We can feel their pain and understand it.  Not like it, but understand it.

If I may, they're not reporters, BBJ, they're journalists, and that is what the problem is.  Reporters tell what happened. "Journalists" spin things. At some point along the way the "reporters" decided they were more important than just laying out facts, and became "journalists" who exist largely to protect their own interests.

Quote from: Tony Keene
May I ask for a bit of consideration here for the reporters?  They are, after all, only reporting what they were specifically told by members of the family.  They didn't make this stuff up. Whoever provided these quotes to the media did so for a reason.  Maybe we should ask THEM what their motivation is.

See above - we don't have "reporters" we now have "journalists" who put personal interests ahead of national ones while claiming to be acting in the interest of the public's "need to know."

Quote
And given the pressure of their jobs, they have very little chance to find out unless someone pointedly explains it to them.

If they can't "report" accurately maybe they need to STFU. Sometimes reporting accurately means knowing when NOT to say something, even if true. Check out Walter Cronkite's stab in the back after TET - I'd hate to think Canada's mission to Afghanistan might be compromised because some big mouthed "journalists" are looking to sell stories.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2006, 10:40:41 by Michael Dorosh »
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Offline Colin P

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Tony
I have met a lot of reporters, most are nice, but rarely understand what they are reporting, they also have to follow the requests of their editors and lose control of a story when submitted. I Have seen a few furious at their own people for the hack job that makes it into paper/news. Editors need to sell papers and will make changes to stories in order to sell, that is the nature of the beast. When reading stories that I was involved, I estimated that the Province generally got 40% of their facts wrong, made wonder about everything else written. Many of the news media here have an agenda also and if you are pro-military or into firearms you are fair game for them.

Offline tomahawk6

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Looks like the family has decided to bar the media from the repatriation ceremonies.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060710/canada_soldier_boneca_060711/20060711?hub=TopStories

Offline tonykeene

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I know, and I understand, that those big headlines look awful.  But the headlines are larger simply because this story is different.  For 16 deaths now, family and friends have said almost the same thing.  He/she loved the military, believed in the mission, etc.  The coverage also has been uniformly sympathetic and positive.  We did not accuse the media of bias, or of having an agenda, when vthose stories were published.

Now, suddenly, the soldier's girlfriend's father has released his personal e-mails.  Why?  He is the one being quoted.  The Ottawa Citizen this morning prints the e-mails, and quotes the girl's father.  The reporters are reporting, they are not making it up.  And the headlines are bigger because, precisely because, this is different.  It goes against the flow.

The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the SUN chain and others have been filled with pages and pages of massively positive coverage from their embedded reporters in Afghanistan.  TV networks have done the same.  For the first time since Korea, the CF are getting more positive, in-depth coverage than they have in decades.  We have created a whole new generation of war correspondents who understand the Forces, use the correct terminology and who support, by and large, our soldiers and their missions.  Coverage of the new CDS has been close to hagiographic.  (Big word of the day!)

The reporters do not have an agenda, other than to report important news.  When someone hands over e-mails or letters indicating a soldier was disillusioned or whatever, they are gonna crank it out, big time.  That's what they are there for.  Had his family handed over letters and e-mails showing him as dedicated to the mission, loving being a soldier (as was done with other casualties) they would have reported that.  And they did.  16 times.

We didn't accuse them of being biased then, we shouldn't do it now.




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Offline Ex-fusilier

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Throwing my 2 cents in here....FYI, I'm leaving for Afghanistan two weeks from today.

First of all, RIP to the good Cpl.  He will not be forgotten.

I also think that some of the media coverage is disgraceful.  I'm sure that there are a percentage of people over there that are'nt happy to be there.  After watching all the coverage on CTV, I think the MND summed it up best, it's the military.  Once you volunteer to go over, you don't have a choice as to what ops you partake in.  I just feel a little disappointed in the media coverage and all the comments coming from his girlfriend's father, etc, etc.  I can understand that they're hurting now, however, this kind of stuff belittles the sacrifice that this mbr made, IMHO.  I think it's going to paint a picture that most of us feel that way to the Canadian public, and from what I've seen with the troops about to depart with me, most of us are chomping at the bit to get over there.  I believe in the mission, if I did'nt, I would'nt have volunteered to go over.  As we well know, there are more than enough mechanisms in place within the DAG process where a mbr can easily get out of a deployment if they want to.  It just made me a little hot under the collar, probably because I'm this close to leaving and you see this type of coverage and know that it's going to affect how we're portrayed to the Canadian public.  Even if we, as soldiers, feel that this mission is wrong, that decision has been made far above our collective heads.  All that's left to do is soldier on and complete the task at hand.  As my grandfather likes to say "When you're in the Army, you're like a limp d**k, you go wherever you're pushed".  Pardon the language, but he is a WW2 vet :D

Just my two cents..

Offline Hot Lips

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Maybe we are bending over backwards a little too far to accomodate the media. I think the media and our relations with them is very important but honestly, kicking troops out of their own lav so a reporter can tag along?

Not cool.  
I can only hope Canadians don't condone putting our troops in more danger than required in order to get a few snapshots and a story from an "embeded" reporter.
Ditto

HL
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Offline tomahawk6

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The media in Canada like the US are left of center and very much the attack dogs of the Liberal party in Canada and the Democrat party in the US. Fairness in reporting is lacking whenever they can slag the Tories or the Republicans. In this case the media is giving the gf's father as much coverage as possible.Where is the self restraint ? The Editor in Chief could post a notice on the front page that they would honor the memory of CPL Boneca by not printing anything that didnt come from the Boneca family.
So instead of seeing a young soldier killed in the service of his country people will see the soldier remembered as something less than what he deserves. Very sad. The media is beyond defense on this and the girl friend's father is an idiot. Releasing email's which are private communication is very hurtful to the Boneca family, their friends and the Regiment he served. The public needs to write in to their papers and demand an end to this so that CPL Boneca can go to his final rest with the honor he deserves.

Offline Teddy Ruxpin

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I violently disagree with "tonykeene".  The media hasn't reported "important news", they've been searching for controversy and leaping upon it like a pack of ravenous dogs when it appears.

There's no - as in zero - attempt to investigate the background to a story.  Instead we get sensationalism, spurred on by a rather dubious source - the girlfriend's father.  Where is the attempt to determine what the selection and training process for Reserve personnel is?  Where is the explanation as to how Reservists are employed in theatre?  Where is the story outlining how soldiers are fed in the field and how they're supplied?  Where are the caveats that the immediate family has not been interviewed?  Surely that is "important news".  How is the publishing of private e-mails - NOT provided by the family - newsworthy?

Moreover, where are our PAFF people to sort questions like this out?

I don't believe that the media has a political agenda.  Instead, they're after sensationalism and controversy in order to pursue commercial and careerist objectives.  They have behaved abysmally towards fallen soldiers' families in the past (recently here in Edmonton) and invariably get both detail and context completely wrong.  More often than not, the media fails to conduct even the most basic of research before publishing a story - to the point where we still see ranks and units misidentified and operations misconstrued.  This is worse than poor reporting, it is selective attention to detail designed to generate controversy.  The media presence in Kandahar isn't called the "death watch" for nothing...

They ARE biased - towards their own agendas - and have demonstrated that bias time and time again.

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Offline Jarnhamar

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I seem to recall talk about reporters, upon hearing of a slain Edmonton soldiers death, canvasing the street he lived on in the early lightless hours of the morning.  Apparently they found out what street he was on but not his address so they took to going door to door.

Quote
the soldier's girlfriend's father has released his personal e-mails.

Personally I think this is horrible.  I understand someones point of view of 'wanting the truth to be known' however I think he is failing to take into consideration what we've already established here.  Soldiers talk crap to relieve stress.

Whether these emails are an accurate or truthful representation of this soldiers feelings I can't help but feel did anyone ask him if his private emails could be read?

It all boils down to whether this fighting someone else's war stuff is something this soldier truly believed and WANTED the public to now or if it was taken out of context.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2006, 11:04:51 by Ghost778 »
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Offline military granny

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Ghost and HL I totally agree with that statement. My son is in the sandbox right now and he dislikes and does not trust the media that is there at all. They have approached him on many occasions to try and get statements from him, from days after his accident till just the other day. And being the military person he is and knowing to respect others he was kind in his reply and just said the only statement I will give you is on how I don't believe that I should have to protect you reporters while I'm outside the wire, if you want more then that go elsewhere.

Why should the men and women have to look after these reporters while they are there? Do they have nothing else to think about besides the well being of them? All of us know they have enough on their minds with watching out for themselves and their brothers at arms.
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Offline Teddy Ruxpin

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Quote
I seem to recall talk about reporters, upon hearing of a slain Edmonton soldiers death, canvasing the street he lived on in the early lightless hours of the morning.  Apparently they found out what street he was on but not his address so they took to going door to door.

It wasn't just talk - it happened.
A man may fight for many things. His country, his friends, his principles, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn.

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Offline Brad Sallows

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As others have noted, an important point to mull over is this: a soldier can be expected to be in different emotional and mental states during various phases of the cycle - pre-deployment, initial arrival in theatre, mid-tour, "short", and post-deployment.  None of these taken in isolation is a correct and complete reflection of the individual except as he might have been at that particular time and in those particular circumstances.  We don't need studies to tell us this; it's common sense and something we have been able to observe for generations and read about in the memoirs of those who have served in battle.

What has gone wrong here is that this one snapshot stands alone as the public testament to a soldier who can no longer represent himself.  Those who have contributed to and created this narrow portrait now have a duty to correct it by learning more, and telling us more, about the life and beliefs and ambitions of Cpl Anthony Boneca.
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Offline George Wallace

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This is turning into THE SECOND NATIONAL DISGRACE IN AS MANY WEEKS.  That should be headline news.  It is a disgrace the way that the 'girlfriend' and her father are making a Political Statement of this and the way that the Press are running with it.
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Offline Chris Pook

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I support Tony in his assertion that the media has given positive coverage of the military and that we didn't accuse them of bias then.  

I suppose that the media must have determined by their usual means that "when someone says (was saying) something that is different, or that goes (went) against the flow, it makes (made ) news automatically."  By that definition apparently the media at large and corporately determined that support for the Forces was newsworthy, unusual, unexpected, surprising. It must have stood out.

Why did the media (again corporately) find support for the Forces surprising?

I also accept the assertion that no editor has told her/his reporters to go out and attack the military, that the only requirement is to find difference - presumably to make their paper stand out and sell more copies.  I also accept the assertion that "The media, as institutions, have a natural liberal tendency in democracies."  which would seem to put them in some dissonance with the authoritarian, hierarchical culture of the military.  They must find much about the military remarkable and noteworthy.  

Is it too far to stretch to ask whether this very lack of understanding results in more questioning which in turn just strike the persons being interviewed as ill-informed, naive or just plain ignorant? After all "They don't have the benefit of 20 years experience in the police, fire department or the military.  They are not trained and experienced lawyers or engineers or anything else.  They ask questions, and they get answers."  

One of the peculiarities of talking to lawyers, engineers, soldiers and, dare I say, media types, is that they all share a common jargon, short hand that comes from shared experience, common education and common understanding from which all internal discussions flow.  The outsider, not being privy to the jargon or the common understanding, inevitably has a choice of taking time to at least learn the jargon of the trade in question or risk being perceived less than favourably.  It seems that "time" is a commodity not available to reporters.  That must contribute to the observation that "They of course sometimes get it wrong...."

I accept that "Most reporters in Canada are young people trying to do a good job." and like most young people in that situation that means impressing their boss in order to keep their pay-check or potentially advance up the greasy pole.  Presumably the fault in producing poorly researched, inaccurate, hastily judged pieces lies with the more experienced editors trying to get "newsworthy" stories on the page.  Or perhaps it lies with the publishers that demand the editor create a presentation that is marketable.  Or perhaps it lies with the market and its desire for news. One might have thought though there was a difference between facts as news and rumour as news.

In any event, regardless of who is victim here: publisher, editor, reporter - possibly even the person being interviewed, I have to feel sorry for the press (at large and corporately).  It must be tremendously trying to go to work each day wanting to do a good job, to get a pay raise and promotion and know that you will never be given the opportunity to get the story right.

I suppose  of course the press could hire more soldiers, engineers, lawyers, etc to write about their fields - but perhaps they wouldn't ask so many questions and would be blind to the working assumptions of their colleagues.  

Fortunately the press is apparently free of such internal challenges.
 


« Last Edit: July 11, 2006, 11:35:20 by Kirkhill »
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Offline tonykeene

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Ghost and HL I totally agree with that statement. My son is in the sandbox right now and he dislikes and does not trust the media that is there at all. They have approached him on many occasions to try and get statements from him, from days after his accident till just the other day. And being the military person he is and knowing to respect others he was kind in his reply and just said the only statement I will give you is on how I don't believe that I should have to protect you reporters while I'm outside the wire, if you want more then that go elsewhere.

Why should the men and women have to look after these reporters while they are there? Do they have nothing else to think about besides the well being of them? All of us know they have enough on their minds with watching out for themselves and their brothers at arms.

Well, the time and trouble it takes to look after reporters in theatre has paid off in major dividends, in huge amounts of positive, factually-accurate coverage from one end of Canada to the other, and around the world.
Reporters bond naturally with soldiers, once they get over the initial wariness.  The great war correnspodents of history have always obtained the common touch by essentially bonding with the soldiers.  They become part of the section or troop after a very short time.  Read some of Christie Blatchford's, or Matthew Fisher's, reporting.

If we told them to go away, they would simply be out there, with a locally hired translater etc, and they would be trying to get their stories from other sources.  Then we'd complain that "they don't tell our side."  They have been telling our side for years now, and we only accuse them of bias when they report something we don't like...in fact the practice of embedding reporters with the troops gives them a bias, a bias in favour of the guys and gals in whose hands their lives rest, day after day.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson once said, when asked why he did not fire a troublesome press secretary: "I'd rather have him inside the tent, pissing out, than outside the tent, pissing in."

By the way, journalists in theatre are a good source of information.  They give as good as they get, and often provide info that helps solve problems and even saves lives.  On many of our past missions, the journalists were in theatre long before our troops arrived, and they knew who was who in the zoo, where the checkpoints and the mined areas were etc.  After working in theatre together, soldiers and reporters often return with a new, if grudging, respect for one another.

I support Tony in his assertion that the media has given positive coverage of the military and that we didn't accuse them of bias then.  

I suppose that the media must have determined by their usual means that "when someone says (was saying) something that is different, or that goes (went) against the flow, it makes (made ) news automatically."  By that definition apparently the media at large and corporately determined that support for the Forces was newsworthy, unusual, unexpected, surprising. It must have stood out.

Why did the media (again corporately) find support for the Forces surprising?

I also accept the assertion that no editor has told her/his reporters to go out and attack the military, that the only requirement is to find difference - presumably to make their paper stand out and sell more copies.  i also accept the assertion that "The media, as institutions, have a natural liberal tendency in democracies."  which would seem to put them in some dissonance with the authoritarian, hierarchical culture of the military.  They must find much about the military remarkable and noteworthy.  

Is it too far to stretch to ask whether this very lack of understanding results in more questioning which in turn just strike the persons being interviewed as ill-informed, naive or just plain ignorant? After all "They don't have the benefit of 20 years experience in the police, fire department or the military.  They are not trained and experienced lawyers or engineers or anything else.  They ask questions, and they get answers."  

One of the peculiarities of talking to lawyers, engineers, soldiers and, dare I say, media types, is that they all share a common jargon, short hand that comes from shared experience, common education and common understanding from which all internal discussions flow.  The outsider, not being privy to the jargon or the common understanding, inevitably has a choice of taking time to at least learn the jargon of the trade in question or risk being perceived less than favourably.  It seems that "time" is a commodity not available to reporters.  That must contribute to the observation that "They of course sometimes get it wrong...."

I accept that "Most reporters in Canada are young people trying to do a good job." and like most young people in that situation that means impressing their boss in order to keep their pay-check or potentially advance up the greasy pole.  Presumably the fault in producing poorly researched, inaccurate, hastily judged pieces lies with the more experienced editors trying to get "newsworthy" stories on the page.  Or perhaps it lies with the publishers that demand the editor create a presentation that is marketable.  Or perhaps it lies with the market and its desire for news. One might have thought though there was a difference between facts as news and rumour as news.

In any event, regardless of who is victim here: publisher, editor, reporter - possibly even the person being interviewed, I have to feel sorry for the press (at large and corporately).  It must be tremendously trying to go to work each day wanting to do a good job, to get a pay raise and promotion and know that you will never be given the opportunity to get the story right.

I suppose  of course the press could hire more soldiers, engineers, lawyers, etc to write about their fields - but perhaps they wouldn't ask so many questions and would be blind to the working assumptions of their colleagues.  

Fortunately the press is apparently free of such internal challenges.
 



Keener

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Has it, indeed, been confirmed that the partner released the e-mails?  I've looked over a ton of stuff this morning, and I can't see that sentence.

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Offline GAP

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Canadian soldier remembered as an 'angel of a person'
Canadian Press -   Globe & Mail  11 July 2006
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060709.wslainsoldier0709/BNStory/Front/Politics/?cid=al_gam_nletter_thehill

Toronto — A Canadian killed in Afghanistan is remembered by family and friends as a outgoing, intelligent soldier who loved his girlfriend and was devoted to his work in the military.

Cpl. Anthony Boneca, 21, a reservist from the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment in Thunder Bay, Ont., died of injuries received in a firefight west of Kandahar City on Saturday, three weeks before he was to return to Canada.

Quote from article:
Mr. Boneca had been able to enjoy a brief break from his harsh duties in Afghanistan — he and his girlfriend recently travelled to Italy and Greece on a two-week leave, Ryan said.

He sent an e-mail to friends last week, saying the pair had the time of their lives on the trip.

“Wish I didn't have to go back to work. It's so hot here now you can barely handle it,” he wrote.

“I know you're all watching the news and know what's going on here, but don't worry, I'll be OK.”


More on link...but not much....Note: if you go to the link...read the comments...they sure closed them quickly.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2006, 11:50:37 by GAP »
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Offline Teddy Ruxpin

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If you're having a bad day, don't read the comments attached to this latest story...
A man may fight for many things. His country, his friends, his principles, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn.

Dulce bellum inexpertis.

Offline camochick

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 I think there is a shared responsibility between the press and this young woman and her family. The media didnt have to run the story but the girlfriend didnt have to run to them to tell it. I think it's sad that they are dragging this young man's memory through the mud. I know things are said overseas out of frustration that are not necesarily what a person really thinks. My husband has vented to me on numerous occasions, but that doesnt mean he doesnt believe in what he is doing. He just needed someone who really cared to listen to him.
  I think it's ridiculous that she is claiming they didnt know how rough this tour could be. They didnt hide it from us. They told us straight out that there would be casualties, and anyone with half a brain could turn on the news and see the situation wasnt the best over there. My husband has been to Kabul and he has said that Khandahar is a totally different story, but he is in the infantry, this is his job. He adapts to it and does what is needed of him. And in the end he is proud of his contribution, as we all are.
  The media needs to showing all sides of this story and not just the ranting of a few people who are consumed in grief and loss. These people do not represent the feelings of most families in this situation and it's sad that this is what people are going to see. Shame on all parties involved.
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Especially since comments are now closed....
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Offline armybuck041

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Whats done is done now and its very unfortunate that it ended up this way in the media.

Although Cpl Boneca exibited all of the quasi normal behavior of a soldier who was in the final stages of his deployment, I seriously doubt that his family and those who cared about him understood that his reaching out and negativity of what he was involved in during the final stages of deployment are normal for allot of soldiers. The most important thing is that he was there to stack the door and sweep the building, regardless of his personal views on the deployment.

I don't think anyone has come up with a perfect solution for getting through those last couple of weeks of deployment, but most of us, myself included, have said allot of not so well intentioned things due to the stress of being so close to "quitting time". We have all seen the guys who spoke of putting in remusters and releases etc only to be revitilized after some time off after the deployment. Some need more time that others, but most come back ready to do the job. The CF must have spent a ton of money studying this and killing us with pre, during, and post deployment surveys.    

The media should definately bare some shame for tarnishing what I believe was Cpl Boneca's finest hour, but what they have reported, spun or not, was his words relayed through his family members who he kept in touch with by phone and e-mail. Unfortunately, if the last words to his family regarding the deployment were not positive ones, these are most likely what his grieving family will be clinging to.

The biggest lesson we as soldiers need to take away from this is how we project ourselves and our experiences to the members of our families waiting on the homefront.

As this theatre continues to develop and we are asked to work even further outside of our comfort zones, we need to really think about what we pass along to our family members, and what is best sorted out through discussion amongst peers in theatre. A few well placed words can be the difference between pride and despair to those who don't see the same light we do.

Out to me.
Gone but never forgotten: Sgt Shane Stachnik, Killed in Action on 3 Sept 2006, Panjwaii Afghanistan

Offline probum non poenitet

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In the end, even if (and I stress IF) he hated and feared where he was and what he was doing, he had the courage to keep at it.
Talk to veterans of any of Canada's previous wars - most of them despise combat and what it does to people.
When the dust settles from all this, I think it will be summed up by what Thucydides said over 2,000 years ago:

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.
What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.
- Pericles

Offline Cloud Cover

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The biggest lesson we as soldiers need to take away from this is how we project ourselves and our experiences to the members of our families waiting on the homefront.
As this theatre continues to develop and we are asked to work even further outside of our comfort zones, we need to really think about what we pass along to our family members, and what is best sorted out through discussion amongst peers in theatre. A few well placed words can be the difference between pride and despair to those who don't see the same light we do.

Out to me.

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Living the lean life

Offline silentbutdeadly

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So armybuck your saying we shouldn't talk to our families about whats troubling us overseas? clarify?