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The Star: An "Investigation" into Afghanistan and Violence in Canada

40below

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milnews.ca said:
I have no beef with the reporters who do the job, I have a beef with those who, in your words, write while "uniformed, lazy or ignorant" re:  what they're covering.  Without as full a picture as one can collect, how can one explain it properly? 

Well, not a lot of reporters are 'specialists' - most are general assignment (GA), which means today it's a house fire, tomorrow it's city council, next day it's a university funding announcement, to be followed by a police-involved shooting. I'm not an expert in structural fires, municipal governance, post-secondary funding or ballistics analysis, but I don't HAVE to be. I just have to know someone who IS and ask them intelligent questions if I don't understand something.

The budget ain't there at most outlets to add a military specialist to a staff, nor is there a lot of call for it in cities without a substantial CF presence. The secret to reporting is to do your homework, ask questions and put in the legwork. Many don't - I've seen stuff coming out of Afgh that makes me cringe professionally as well as personally. I've always found it's just as easy to get it right. And even of the handful of beat reporters who cover the military in Canada for teh debbil MSM , I can't think of one that ever wore the uniform - not that that is necessarily a hindrance, provided you can do your job properly.

That said, it's a difficult beat. There is next to no public access or transparency to DND the way there is with a city council, a university, a hospital or just about any other institution you care to mention, you can't just wander around a base looking for stories without getting picked up by the MPs, the process to get clearance to talk to someone who wants to talk to you can be ludicrously complex and is entirely shut down during an election, there's OPSEC and everything else, and it is damn difficult to deal with these people – there isn't a 13-year-old girl in the world with thinner skin and feelings that bruise more easily than your average Maj.-Gen when they don't like a story, even when there's nothing actually wrong with the story. They're entirely too used to dealing with people in their COC, and more than once I've had to whip out a notebook and sketch out a basic wiring diagram ("Look, I'm not IN it!") to illustrate that point.
 

Jammer

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I would argue that members of the media would be more welcome if they were willing to participate in some of the activities that military member do every day.
All to often I have seen reporters prance about while embedded with us who have a sense of entitlement, and then bitch  that they are not getting the "whole story".
Folks like Rosie Dimanno, Christie Blatchford, Lisa LaFlamme, People who have more nads to get dirty and walk the walk get the best stories because they have never betrayed the trust of the people they are writing about.
 

Harris

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40below said:
I've covered maybe one or two cases involving Canadian (and American) soldiers in court in Kingston (surprising, but it DOES happen) and the delegated officer is always in uniform. They don't usually attend routine matters such as remands or scheduling dates, as they can pick that up with a phone call five minutes after it happens (and these days the accused is only there by video link from lockup) but they're always there in uniform taking notes at pretrial, trial and disposition.

All the times I've done the duty, it's been in civies (At my CO's direction).  Admittedly, with the exception of the lawyers, I'm usually the best dressed person in the court room. It appears criminals don't subscribe to the dress for success theory.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Everyone one of the inmates I'm looking at right now would jump on the "PTSD" train at the drop of a hat if they thought they could score lenency out of it......................and the media would lapdog them up also.

I'm certainly not saying PTSD isn't a problem, but like lots of things, the idiots/dipwads/f#@#heads will use the specture of it to save themselves.

I wish I could post more details [I can't] but suffice to say one "resident" already tried that last year while here claiming to have been "over there" the year before,.........................about two months later it comes out that he never made it out of Battle School in Meaford and got his release signed while incarcerated here.

I wonder if the Star will have his *cough* story on Page 1 on why the Military is to blame for his troubles. ::)
 

X-mo-1979

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Bruce Monkhouse said:
Everyone one of the inmates I'm looking at right now would jump on the "PTSD" train at the drop of a hat if they thought they could score lenency out of it......................and the media would lapdog them up also.

I'm certainly not saying PTSD isn't a problem, but like lots of things, the idiots/dipwads/f#@#heads will use the specture of it to save themselves.

I wish I could post more details [I can't] but suffice to say one "resident" already tried that last year while here claiming to have been "over there" the year before,.........................about two months later it comes out that he never made it out of Battle School in Meaford and got his release signed while incarcerated here.

I wonder if the Star will have his *cough* story on Page 1 on why the Military is to blame for his troubles. ::)

Thanks.Thought I was the only one for a while.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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X-mo-1979 said:
Thanks.Thought I was the only one for a while.

Only one incarcerated here? ;D

Right now you would be, ......six months ago you would have been # 4.
 

schart28

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Here is all the series


1. An Afghan veteran's rage http://www.thestar.com/article/650299
When Canadian military training backfires ... on us An exclusive Star series investigates how the war in Afghanistan is creating a dangerous new class of offender in Canada – and finds growing evidence in jails, courtrooms and homes across the country

2. How to throw a lemon grenade http://www.thestar.com/article/650530
"I know it sounds a little preachy, but these are the things I do to feel normal... " writes Glenn Brownhall. Brownhall is a former army private who served four months in Afghanistan starting in late 2003. As a soldier with the infantry, he witnessed destruction and death. He was assaulted by his own men, has a bad back and a limp, and takes high-power painkillers. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. In his email to the Star about how to cope with PTSD, he continues:

3. Vet by vet, a portrait emerges http://www.thestar.com/article/650531
Achingly tragic stories came first in reluctant trickles. Then, a gush of emotion

4. Would a better man have died? http://www.thestar.com/article/650529
Haunted by unanswerable questions, a former infantry corporal flatlines through life's blessings

5. A veteran's life of self-medicated torment http://www.thestar.com/article/650528
One man anesthetizes his return from Afghanistan with anything he can find

6. Home is new Afghan war front http://www.thestar.com/article/649681
More than 26,000 Canadians have served in Afghanistan. In the first of a three-part series, we tell the story of one soldier's troubled return
 

Bird_Gunner45

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40below said:
That said, it's a difficult beat. There is next to no public access or transparency to DND the way there is with a city council, a university, a hospital or just about any other institution you care to mention, you can't just wander around a base looking for stories without getting picked up by the MPs, the process to get clearance to talk to someone who wants to talk to you can be ludicrously complex and is entirely shut down during an election, there's OPSEC and everything else, and it is damn difficult to deal with these people – there isn't a 13-year-old girl in the world with thinner skin and feelings that bruise more easily than your average Maj.-Gen when they don't like a story, even when there's nothing actually wrong with the story. They're entirely too used to dealing with people in their COC, and more than once I've had to whip out a notebook and sketch out a basic wiring diagram ("Look, I'm not IN it!") to illustrate that point.

I have to agree complete.  For every yin, there's a yang. In the news world, it seems like that for every FOX news there's a MSNBC.  The CF has received an outstanding amount of POSITIVE feedback from various news outlets since the start of Afghanistan.  That said, the job of the PAOs is to be the even keel between the "far too positive" articles and the "far too negative" and provide the facts.  In this story it seems like the PAO's dropped the ball.  Perhaps these guys are faking PTSD (which is completely shameful) or maybe they're not. Who knows? The disconcerting thing is that the programs and sheer amount of assistance available for pers dealing with PTSD/OSD wasn't mentioned by the military.  In conclusion, if we are going to take the positive stories and the benefits of them (Most of us have had someone say "thank you", buy a coffee at Timmy's, etc) than we have to be willing to take the odd bad one.  Take the lump, make the counter argument, and reflect on the positives.
 

George Wallace

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Bird_Gunner45 said:
........  In conclusion, if we are going to take the positive stories and the benefits of them (Most of us have had someone say "thank you", buy a coffee at Timmy's, etc) than we have to be willing to take the odd bad one.  Take the lump, make the counter argument, and reflect on the positives.

I agree that we must take the bad stories along with the good............ but wait a minute; where are those good stories?  This looks like a smear campaign, not just a few bad stories.  Is the Star becoming nothing more than the National Enquirer (Toronto)?
 

George Wallace

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schart28 said:
Here is all the series

Thanks.  Too bad I started reading some of the comments.  Revolting, to say the least.  Another platform for the Nation's Nutcases.
 

Bird_Gunner45

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George Wallace said:
I agree that we must take the bad stories along with the good............ but wait a minute; where are those good stories?  This looks like a smear campaign, not just a few bad stories.  Is the Star becoming nothing more than the National Enquirer (Toronto)?
[/quoteC]

The Star is just a Liberal outpost... if they get back into power than the military and Afghanistan will become pallitable again... just like how Afghanistan is GTG by MSNBC now in the US.  I remember good stories appearing in the Toronto Sun, PLUS they have the sunshine girl.
 

X-mo-1979

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Bruce Monkhouse said:
Only one incarcerated here? ;D

Right now you would be, ......six months ago you would have been # 4.

Ha ha.
No Bruce I came back from tour and decided body slamming babies and doing cocaine was bad.
I can only imagine the light sentence someone would get for murder with PTSD.Look at the US salior who got stabbed to death in Halifax.That guy who stabbed him got 5 years...after doing this out on parole for stabbing 2 people.
Throw in PTSD you'd be doing "time served".

How you down beat people in there Bruce is beyond me!
 

Jammer

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...you could take the one time payout like a friend of mine did and by a nice 35ft boat.
 

HItorMiss

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My question is, there is a phone number at the bottom of the very first article. Have any of the vets here contacted the reporter to refute or at least enlighten this media rep as to the fact that for every 1 issue there are 100's of none issues, guys who have ligit cases of PTSD who get all the help they need and them some. Maybe some one getting this help would/could call him and show him the other side of the story and of course enlighten him as to the fact that many cases of "PTSD" are simply f**cktards using it as a new excuse to cover their indescretions.
 

Scott

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Not to be flip BM, but do you think he'd care after getting his first into print?

It's been said before, what sells more?
 

HItorMiss

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Then perhaps finding a different media outlet to refute the Star? What media outlet doesn't like making the other looks foolish.
 

X-mo-1979

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BulletMagnet said:
My question is, there is a phone number at the bottom of the very first article. Have any of the vets here contacted the reporter to refute or at least enlighten this media rep as to the fact that for every 1 issue there are 100's of none issues, guys who have ligit cases of PTSD who get all the help they need and them some. Maybe some one getting this help would/could call him and show him the other side of the story and of course enlighten him as to the fact that many cases of "PTSD" are simply f**cktards using it as a new excuse to cover their indescretions.

Why wouldnt I write them or call?
Cause I would have said what you said above.These people are simply.....

Plus I'm sure a Paffo can take ****tard and make it sound more appealing.
Why are they not doing it is beyond me.
However I also don't see it as my job.If they want to give me officer pay to tell the media what I thought I'll gladly take it. ;)

Otherwise I'll deploy and come home to my happy healthy life/family.
 

McG

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Brihard said:
...that more of our buddies are ending up in the criminal justice system after a deployment - seems to be valid.
Is this a valid assertion?  Are there statistics to back such a conclusion or merely anecdotal evidence?  There are plenty of numbers in the article, but where are the numbers to support this specific claim?  I think the author has employed misleading vividness and you have fallen to the availability heuristic.
 

The Bread Guy

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Well, well, well, isn't THIS an intriguingly timed development - maybe casts some rationale for the lead-up stories, not to mention the wrap-up "lookit what WE did" story today?

"Ottawa, June 17, 2009 - The House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence has released its report on the provision of health services to the Canadian Forces, with a focus on post-traumatic stress disorder, entitled DOING WELL AND DOING BETTER (.pdf). The study, begun in February 2008, conducted an objective examination of the root causes of main difficulties facing military health care in Canada today. The report offers 36 recommendations to the Government...."
 

the 48th regulator

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http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/652775


Heal our soldiers,

MPs tell military TheStar.com - Canada - Heal our soldiers, MPs tell military Counselling for substance abuse, domestic violence among recommendations from defence committee

June 18, 2009
David Bruser
Staff Reporter

The military should do more to help soldiers suffering from psychological injuries by offering counselling for substance abuse and domestic violence, says a new report by federal MPs.

Those recommendations, and 34 others, were made yesterday in a report presented to the House of Commons by the standing committee on national defence.

"There are problems when they come back (from war). They often fall into drug and alcohol abuse and this transfers into violence for the family," said committee vice-chair Claude Bachand, a Bloc Québécois MP. "And they have a hard time getting treatment."

The findings come only days after a Toronto Star series, "War at Home," found a growing problem of post-tour violence that is landing Afghanistan war veterans in jail and their victims in hospital. Some of the veterans interviewed in the stories struggle with alcohol and drug abuse. Many went to war without a criminal record but now report to a probation officer or child services worker, or both.

The Star's stories prompted the Commons standing committee on veterans affairs to launch its own probe. That work will likely not begin until September, and should differ from the defence committee's efforts by focusing on Afghanistan war veterans who are no longer employed by the military and are living far from soldier support networks.

Warrant Officer Roger Perreault, who was injured by an improvised bomb explosion in 2006, is impatient for the veterans committee to get to work, saying he fears that "upon release, there (will be) no support."

Perreault hits his wife Fran in his sleep, and his post-tour behaviour has pushed his eldest child, 15-year-old Marissa, to seek counselling. He has a desk job on CFB Petawawa but considers his career over.

Meanwhile, the defence committee report called for the military to open its doors to registered marriage and family therapists and other professionals not typically found in the military health-care system.

It also said the military should explore how better to prepare soldiers for the trauma of war. In the Star investigation, retired colonel Pat Stogran – who led the first group of Canadians in Afghanistan in 2002 – said he had been arguing in vain for such a measure, including subjecting soldiers to virtual-reality representations of warlike conditions.

The committee report comes after a year of research and interviews.

Since Stogran took the first group of troops into Afghanistan seven years ago, 26,800 Canadians have been deployed and 120 have died, the most of any Canadian combat mission since the Korean War. More than 400 have been injured by improvised explosive devices, mines, rocket attacks and direct combat.

At least 1,000 have suffered severe psychological trauma.

© Copyright Toronto Star 1996-2009 



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