Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Why Does the Military Hate the Troops?

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

"I tried to do my best and serve my country. I was unfortunately hurt in the process. Now they're telling me they want their money back." -- Jordan Fox

Jordan Fox accepted a $10,000 signing bonus from the US Army. Then like so many of our troops in Iraq, he got blown up by a roadside bomb. He suffered back and head injuries and lost vision in his right eye. His injuries left him unable to pursue his dream of joining the police force... and continue serving in the military. He was sent home 3 months before his contract was up. Then he got a bill from the Pentagon for nearly $3000 of his signing bonus. They want their money back because he didn't fulfill his entire contract.

Jordan Fox is not alone. According to reportage from KDKA, thousands of injured troops are being denied signing bonuses because of injuries that cut that service short. It would seem that sacrificing vision, limbs, and futures, in the service of their country, is not enough. The government would also like them to relinquish money they promised to pay them for risking death and disfigurement, in the first place.

When I first heard about this story, earlier today, I thought, the Pentagon will fold on this one. The publicity is just too heinous, especially when they are still waving signing bonuses under the noses of potential enlistees, in their desperate effort to meet enlistment quotas. Cave they did, but so far, only in the case of the young man who has gotten media attention. (Power of the press, we call it.) According to this follow-up report from KDKA, they will not explain whether Fox's bill was sent in error, nor on the status of the thousands of other injured vets who are reportedly being denied what was promised to them.

Jason Altmire, a freshman Congressman from Pennsylvania, last month introduced a bill called the Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act. Altmire is, of course, a Democrat, because, as we know, Republicans only care about the troops when they are using them as set dressing and propaganda tools.