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Dissonance And Disrespect: The Soldier’s Complaint

Loyalist, over at Dissonance And Disrespect today notes how the media has jumped all over comments that the late Anthony Boneca made regarding the Canadian mission in Afghanistan and his role in it. I agree that it is a shame that on the day that his body is returning home we have to read about a low-level squabble involving his own family that is playing out in media releases and interviews that he might or might not have been disillusioned by his role in the mission. Right now, they should be looking inwards to help one another and not to the media to defend him or the military, or the mission, or whatever it is they feel that they have to do right now.

For those that haven’t seen the reports, shortly after his death his girlfriend and other friends were interviewed and they told the media that he wasn’t happy over there, that he felt unprepared for the situation, and that he was going to leave the Reserves when he returned home. Yesterday, his father, in a press release, told the opposite – that his son was proud to be helping out the people of Afghanistan and that he loved being in the army. The media has even gone so far as to use this to question the role of the Reserve troops in the mission, prompting response from the military and the Minister of Defense. Perhaps this is a question that should be asked, but does it have to come up now?

That this has made the news has mostly to do with the fact that we are divided as a nation over the mission and anything to do with it is deemed inherently newsworthy. Of course, there is also the press’ fixation with all things dead (“if it bleeds, it leads”).

As for Cpl. Boneca’s views of the war and his role in it – who knows? It is entirely possible that he told different things to his father and his girlfriend, in fact, it is entirely likely. And it is equally possible that he was telling the truth to both of them – fear, pride, and feelings of inadequacy can go hand-in-hand when someone is placed in a stressful situation.

Who knows, and really, why is it our business? If this is a prelude to a discussion on the value and importance of the mission, or the role of the Reserves in it, then fine – but give the family some space and time. The media needs to stop trying to get the scoop sometimes, IMO.

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4 thoughts on “Dissonance And Disrespect: The Soldier’s Complaint

  1. Excellent post.
    MSM (and some bloggers) should be very ashamed for the additional anxiety they caused a grieving family.
    I think the ‘access denied’ to the media was in response to the disrespect already shown to the family.
    Limited access at repatriation, from a distance, no interviews, no access to funeral.

    Thx for the good post.

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  2. His Uncle Bill also told the media about the notes he received from Toney with doubts and complaints. Its bigger than just firends and a girlfriend.

    In his position I might tell my parents onething so they don’t worry and my favourite Uncle and my buddies something else, so someone knows the truth.

    And wislon, don’t be a dink, this has nothing to do with the ‘access denied’ controversy – there has been not previous ‘disrespect’ shown to the families and none in this case. The media is reporting what they have been told by friends and family. Just because you don’t like it, does’t mean it should not be said.

    I support the mission in Afghanistan but if what Cpl Boneca wrote is true, we are mishandling it and dooming the success. Isn’t success in Afghanistan what we are going for, or is it just to make our government look tough?

    I think this only helps.

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  3. Mike,

    I honestly don’t think that it should matter to us what he said or to whom he said it – at least not right now. If he has valid concerns about his training or the mission, valid enough that they warrant investigation, then I’m all for reporting it. But just not now.

    For the record, I’m for media access to the repatriation, provided the media leaves the family alone, and I’m against the mission for reasons which I’ve gone into long ago in these pages. This reporting is in my eyes, as wilson suggests, an unfortunate reminder as to why some people would argue to limit media access.

    Success in Afghanistan might well be the goal, but I have an idea that this is not the way to go about it. Oh well.

    Oh, and please, no name-calling. I know “dink” is weak and fun, but still, I’d rather keep the comments absolutely free of ad hominem attacks, no matter how light.

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