Canada Fighting - Injured Soldiers

Posted on Friday, November 03 at 15:22 by bracewell
They say that tampering with military medical records is commonplace in order to deny injured members their pensions and benefits. Dumont cited the case of an unidentified soldier, who was injured on a training exercise in 1981. The commanding officer of his unit allegedly ordered medical reports shredded because he didn't believe the man's claim. "Luckily the person who was ordered to destroy these papers did not do it and kept them in the file."

In 2000, a military board of inquiry heard how documents were deliberately removed from the medical records of peacekeepers serving in Croatia, who later claimed they had been exposed to toxic material. Simon Boies, a reservist who served in Afghanistan in early 2004, said he fought with Veterans Affairs for two years over a stress-related pension, but was told his file was missing (it was eventually found.)

Further, they were not adequately prepared for their missions in Somalia, Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia, and were given no help when it became apparent they had developed stress-related disease.

Boies, trained for a mission as a driver on the relatively benign roads of the Yugoslavia, said he found himself ill-prepared for the treacherous conditions of Afghanistan and has suffered for it ever since. "I wasn't prepared; I had just finished my driving course. I arrived on the mission in a dangerous area with no experience as a driver.”

This lack of preparation was further echoed with the death of 21-year-old reservist Anthony Boneca in Afghanistan this summer. His wife-to-be said that the military didn’t provide him with the proper training and that the young man shouldn’t have been on the front line. "All that went on and the treatment they were getting by the Canadian army and by the people over there, wasn't what he bargained for," she said. "They'd go out on tours … they'd be out for 22 days [with] not enough rations, not enough water.”

Dumont said, the conflict in Afghanistan is leaving more people with post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that causes extreme depression, exaggerated feelings of threat and difficulty socializing. Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a Canadian Military Ombudsman report says, “touches up to twenty percent of the Canadian Forces.” He noted “And those soldiers are your sons, your brothers, your daughters, your uncles."

Boies added “I'm sick, I need help. It's sad to say, but I am not receiving any, except from my friends. For now, I don't have any family, I have tried to commit suicide on a number of occasions. I lost my spouse and my daughter, my friends, even my family. Right now, I live in a trailer. I have just enough money to survive, buy cigarettes and food and move around when I need." Boies returned from Afghanistan in 2004 but it wasn't until February of 2006 that he was able to claim a disability pension of $650 a month.

Dumont is featured in a documentary, “Crash Landing”, (shown on CBC’s Passionate Eye) which explores Canada’s refusal to care for injured soldiers. The film examines the high personal price of Canada’s peacekeeping missions in Africa, the Middle-east and Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

A special screening of Crash Landing in Ottawa was hosted by Senator Michale Meighen and the highly decorated Senator Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire. Dallaire’s own recollections of Rwanda served as a perfect introduction to the film: “I became suicidal because there was no other solution. How do you live with the memories of the pain, those sounds, those smells? How do I deal with that deafening silence that haunts me day and night? ”

“You only need to keep ‘em happy, ‘til they’re no good for combat. After that, they’re just dog-faces - so you make dog food out of ‘em.”
- ex Military Intelligence officer

SOURCES:

Former soldiers want Ottawa to address stress claims

Ex-soldiers seek truce with Ottawa

Tim Hortons in Afghanistan could cost taxpayers

CRASH LANDING

Canadian Forces Battle Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Veterans call on Ottawa for better post-mission care for soldiers

E-mail Sent to Members of the Canadian Parliament

Note: Former soldiers want O... Ex-soldiers seek truce... Tim Hortons in Afghani... CRASH LANDING Canadian Forces Battle... Veterans call on Ottaw... E-mail Sent to Members...

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