Monday, June 20, 2011

Common Coves Like Us

An excellent piece in the Ottawa Citizen yesterday should cause Canada to pause and re-evaluate some of its policies in the near future, specifically that of the Universal Service principle, which states that all members of the military must be prepared for active deployed duty at any time, and encompasses basic training, fitness, and availability (speaking only of the regular forces, of course).

An ex-ombudsman who worked with the army, specifically overseeing troops sent to Afghanistan in 2002, spoke out against the policy, adding that there were overweight soldiers in Ottawa's military headquarters who could not pass the fitness standard, thus disqualifying them from active duty. He theorized that it was simply bureaucratic posturing that kept the standard in place, forcing out soldiers who were willing to work, but unfit by way of injury.

Setting aside the question of whether proximity would encourage more compassion, forcing out soldiers who wish to continue serving is fiscally irresponsible. Soldiers, especially those who have served overseas, represent a valuable resource that cost a substantial amount to train. Discharging this resource might create a more 'picturesque' army, but ignores the other benefits.

The other reason for the discharge could, of course, be the morale of the troops when confronted with the image of being trained by a person with a visible injury from duty. It can increase comfort with the fear of injury by showing that such a condition is not the end of the world, but also increase anxiety.

All in all, the policy could be beneficial if our army was smaller and could not afford finding positions for wounded servicemen, or if the number of wounded were higher (currently 40 soldiers' files are under dispute) and would put a strain on the other soldiers, but in this case, this is needlessly self-serving, representing either vanity or a misguided superstition about 'bad luck'.

In other news, I am debating adopting a Chinese Blogger, essentially giving them space to write their own blog without fear of censorship from their own government. Let me know Dear Reader's thoughts on this.

The title is from Robert Service's poem, "The Ordinary Man". Excellent Poem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Never realized that was "official" policy and think that it's an absolute waste of, at the least, time and money spent training, etc. and at the worst, a waste of talent and potential.
As for the "adoption" do you ever plan to travel there? There would be consequences.
lol, mapa