Sunday, March 04, 2007

Where's the Captain on This?

One of the things that wasn't asked of General Rick Hillier might have been, if to-day's news had happened a few days ago.

Everybody knows that it takes a warm-up period for normally peaceful countries to gear up for a war, particularly if you're a nation coming out of a military "Age of Darkness". Canada has been no exception to that. But there are a couple of glaring spots of unpreparedness or incompetence that needed addressing.

The first occurred when the first wounded appeared in European hospitals. Some Col. Blimp type realized that these lads were no longer 'in danger' from further enemy action, in fact they were in a safe theater - Europe. And so it was right and proper to reduce their pay to reflect the absence of 'danger'. Deductions were made at a time when soldiers' families, and soldiers themselves, perhap, were facing life-altering decisions. Needless to say this caused no small ruckus - even among anti-war types. General Hillier stepped forth and said this would not happen. After three months it worked its way through the middle managment at Defence headquarters, and emoluments were restored to the wounded.

The latest gaffe first hit the news a month or so back. Widows of servicemen killed in Afghanistan were finding out that a common clause in Canadian insurance policies - the ones about being void under some conditions, like a war, were going to have them continue to pay down mortgages for which they'd bought motgage insurance at rates common to non-military personnel. This, too, caused no small amount of national consternation - but little in government or headquarters circles. Banks and insuring institutions began to recant, or deny, their stands - one bank waiting 3 months before it told a woman they had no such clause in her policy - 3 freaking months! This too received no comment from command levels, or the government. Now even further along, we find that mortgage cover remains a purely voluntary act of 'good will' by banks " to support the troops" but, in practice, is not the least bit 'automatic, or timely and widows continue to suffer to some degree. It ain't military business but somebody should tell banks that, if they're going to charge military personnel for mortgage insurance that in practicality will have a differential coverage, it should have differential price for them.

General Rick could have, should have popped-off about this, as he has about so much else. This would have done his soldiers more good.

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