Ottawa author and war correspondent Scott Taylor is publisher of Esprit de Corps magazine.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a documentary, which is going to put together all the footage that we’ve shot on the last five trips into Afghanistan, making a script and then getting it ready for broadcast in late September or early October on CPAC.
What was your reaction to the WikiLeaks release of Afghan war documents?
Well, for those of us who cover this stuff very closely, there’s nothing really new. There’s some detailed revelations about police abusing civilians and murdering their colleagues, stuff which would seem shocking unless you’ve been there.
Our purchase of new F-35 fighter planes is a big domestic story. What should we watch for this fall?
Definitely this is another political story. This has nothing to do with the needs of the Air Force. There’s no pressing need to replace the CF-18s, which we just spent billions refurbishing and upgrading to their current state. They’re good until 2017. In terms of immediacy, we have more pressing problems facing the Armed Forces.
Your name, Scott, makes Serbs laugh. Why?
“Skot” translates directly into “jerk.” It came in handy a lot of times. There was a lot of tension when I was covering the NATO bombing of Kosovo. Being from a NATO country, suspicions of me being a spy would dissolve the minute they realized that nobody would be so stupid as to pick “Codename: Jerk.”
Most people don’t know you played drums in a punk band. What can you tell us about that?
Good times, my friend. You look back and it wasn’t the glory days — they were never that great — but I still get the hankering from time to time. We played the Toronto bar circuit for a couple of years, opening for such greats as Teenage Head on occasion. Visions of stardom were dancing in our heads, but common sense finally prevailed. When it came time to go into debt to buy equipment, I pulled the plug and joined the army.
What were you called?
The Offenders, and we lived up to our name.