John-Ward Leighton CD

AFGHANISTAN SEVERELY WOUNDED VETS

JOURNAL ENTRY 22/07/2013, 04:30 hrs: my digs, 18ºC slightly hazy and an hour until the false dawn, mood 50/50

There was a time when I really didn’t think much about war and its consequences For close to fifty years I put my sixteen years of service out of my mind and aside from attending Remembrance Day ceremonies didn’t spend much time thinking about it.

For a lot of my comrades however their service to the nation meant more than it did for me. Then in 2006 I became curious about the fortunes of people, my comrades, that I hadn’t seen in fifty years so I joined the Vancouver Island Branch of the Queen’s Own Rifles Association and started attending their annual get together in April of each year.

As well as my old friends I hooked up with close friend and fellow poet Billy Willbond who got me to join him in his charity work for ICROSS and tried to get me to join the Peace Keeping Association that also contributes time and money to our charity work in the third world.

I’m somewhat ambivalent about my own service because I actually had a lot of fun and feel somewhat silly when people approach me when I’m dressed in my regimental and thank me for my service. I didn’t do twenty and out so the pension issues for the guys who did didn’t affect me.

This morning at nine o’clock, however, its time to show the flag, I will be attending the press conference at the Court House on Smithe Street that the law firm mounting the class action suite for the severely wounded from the action in Afghanistan. They have been cut off from a medical pension by the Conservative government when it passed into law the so-called Veterans Charter. Which turned a medical pension into an insurance scheme with a maximum pay out of $200,000,

Most the severely wounded, those who have lost limbs and or the faculties of sight and hearing need special accommodations and services that cost a pretty penny, i.e. Where in Canada can you buy an ordinary house or condo equipped for disabled persons for $200,000? And where do those suffering from PTSD get the help they need when the mental health regimes in every province are in a shambles?

And how does just the ordinary costs of keeping the wolf from the door, food, shelter and clothing when you have no income and it takes three months to get on welfare and navigating the labyrinth of yet another hard hearted bureaucracy.

The Afghan adventure was an exercise in support of the American Empire and will be the first war since we became a nation that we have lost. The whole exercise was a farce from start to finish and definitely not worth the cost in lives and treasure that we put into it.

Now it’s time for us to step up as a nation and support our wounded veterans and not compound the mistake.

Author’s Note: no good deed goes unpunished: it wasn’t a press conference, it was sitting in a court room listening to lawyers read precedents from other court cases for three hours at which point I’d had enough and fled the scene.