I’ve spent enough time ‘in theater’, and have a good enough memory to remember, who was and who wasn’t there with me. And I can tell you unequivocally that not one of the bureaucratic bastards who make decisions for our returning veterans ever stood by my side when the shit hit the fan. Every veteran out there is nodding his head right now, because every one of them knows it too. Those of us who fought and died together have a bond that only we can understand. I know that sounds like boilerplate bullshit, but it also happens to be true. We also know that bureaucratic bastards aren’t unique to government: there are plenty of them that make it through the recruiter’s office. Furthermore, plenty of them end up gracing the halls of academia and thus being commissioned into Her Majesty’s Canadian Armed Forces, where they will end up in key decision-making positions and can dick-dance away a 30-year career making life difficult for the rest of us. Even if you’re a commissioned officer, you know those of whom I speak.
The burden of bad management seems to fall most heavily on those who have released from the military and are now attempting to create civilian lives. This goes doubly for those with physical or psychological wounds, of which there are many. What I want more than anything right now is to speak to veterans, both retired and serving, to try and root out some intellectual rot that I’ve seen setting in across our ranks.