Veteran war journalist Scott Taylor speaks in London
On Monday, the Canadian Club of London hosted Scott Taylor, Canadian military journalist, editor and publisher of Esprit de Corps magazine.
Taylor specializes in military journalism and war reporting, including coverage of wars across Africa and the Middle East.
In September of 2004, while in Iraq to report on the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Taylor was kidnapped along with Turkish journalist Zeynep Tugrul.
They were held for five days, beaten and tortured, before being released with virtually no money.
Taylor has never shied away from taking the military to task for its mistakes.
But the editor of Esprit de Corps understands the challenges presented by the Universality of Service rules.
"Military commanders, they want to care for their troops but regulations are such, I mean the bureaucracy is sort of this chasm that they all fall into and it's difficult to change," says Taylor
Universality of Service means military personal must be able to fulfill any service required of them.
But recently, many, including Londoner Andrew Knisley, were released from the military just weeks before getting in the ten years of service needed to get their pension.
Knisley lost his leg to an improvised explosive device on routine foot patrol in Afghanistan.
Taylor believes work is being done to look after people like Knisley and he believes they have value to the military.
"If you stay on a base, these guys are protected and they're respected, and that service is there. It's completely different. So, it needs to be addressed and I think there's the will there, but so far they haven't found the way."
As far as Canada's time in Afghanistan, which will come to end next spring, Taylor believes ultimately it will be viewed as a failure, despite whatever effort there was to foster positive relations with the Afghans.
"The forces that we trained, the face of the Karzai government is the police and the security forces, he's hated, they're hated. We created a hated security force to prop up a hated regime. That's not a win," Taylor adds.
While Taylor believes the Afghan mission will be viewed as a failure, he doesn't believe that should reflect poorly on the men and women who served there.
"The reason why they can always hold their head high is because they went in the service of Canada. The Canadian government of the day dispatched them, they did their duty, they did it honorably, they came home," he says.