Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hidden Costs of Harpers War

The Harper government does not release the numbers of Canadians wounded in Kandahar.

Now most injuries not reported

A new policy has clearly emerged. Deaths are still reported but injuries are not, unless one of two scenarios exists. The first is if the injury is so severe, it may very well result in death. The second is if journalists already know about it. If a journalist happens to be in a convoy that is hit and sees the injury, they’ll obviously know about it.

Injuries are increasingly frequent these days. As many as four roadside bomb strikes happen each week. Soldiers are being injured in the process, some of them seriously. Some of them will lose limbs. Others will have their lives irreparably damaged. We won’t know. Whether we should know is another question.

So what’s changed? There is the argument that politicians — fearing a further loss of public support for this mission — don’t want to reveal the true number of injuries. Another school of thought is that the injuries have become so routine, the military doesn’t view them as a “new development” and thus not newsworthy (or publicly releasable). A final argument is that there is now so much violence, the deployed soldiers’ would prefer to reduce the publication of bad news that will further worry their families back in Canada.

As the medevac crew was launched on one medical mission after another, we repeatedly saw Canadian soldiers being loaded and unloaded.

The point is this: soldiers have died in this place, but many more have been injured. The United States, which is engaged in its own largely unpopular war in Iraq, still releases injury statistics. Canada does not.

The long term impact of this war is veterans returning with post combat syndrome. Once upon a time it was called battle fatigue, and those who suffered from it were often summarily executed in the field during WWI. We have come a long way since then. Hardly it remains a hidden injury of war and like other injuries occurring to our troops it is to be covered up from the public according to the Harpocrites.

Nearly 400 of 2,700 Canadian soldiers who have served in Kandahar province might have come home with mental health problems, according to a report by the office responsible for the health of deployed troops.

The heavy toll that the war in Afghanistan has taken on the minds and bodies of Canadian troops has been revealed in data, documents and interviews provided by the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command.

In addition to the 63 Canadian soldiers who have been killed in Afghanistan since February 2006, 243 have been wounded, according to the data.

Waiting lists are stretching from a few weeks to months for Manitoba soldiers seeking psychological help, say officials at a Winnipeg clinic.

Referrals from the Canadian Forces are up 78 per cent over last year, officials at the Operational Stress Injury Clinic in Winnipeg said Friday.

Operational Stress, sometimes known as combat stress, is the term used to describe any persistent psychological problem resulting from military service, including post-traumatic stress disorder.


Harpers War Costs Another Canadian Life




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1 comment:

Pamela said...

Not surprising that the Harper government would try to sensor that information. Unfortunately investigative reporting is dead. Journalist tend to only report what they are spoon fed through press releases and statements.

Is that information available through Access to Information I wonder? Would be interesting to report some of those numbers.