Wounded US Troops and Pay Cuts!
I seldom get really angry, but I am royally pissed off (and I seldom curse) tonight for a couple of reasons. On the NBC news tonight there was a story about a marine who lost hazardous duty pay when he shipped home from Iraq in a stretcher. I decided to blog about this as I think Vets get the shaft far too often. Then, in doing some internet research I discovered that the impetus for tonight's "news" was from a newspaper story back in October. Many then (as now) were blaming the Bush Administration for "disrespecting" the vets or talking about supporting the troops on one hand, and cutting their pay on the other.
Couple of things then I'll get to the point of this entry. 1. Loss of combat pay when you leave a combat area is not a policy of Bush and Company. It has been in place pretty much since WWII I understand 2. Troops can apply for up to a 90 day extension and 3. the griping about the Pentagon looking at cutting combat pay is bogus. Congress decides the budget and the Pentagon MUSTlook at all possibilities in allocating the dollars.
Having said that, now I'll rant... Cutting the pay for any damn reason when a soldier has been severely wounded and his wounds require removal from the theater of operations is absolutely absurd.
I propose the following and I'm hoping that bloggers everywhere will pick this up and spread the word. I'm also hoping that every reader of blogs will write his or her congressman and senator and get this or something similar done now:
- Maintain Combat pay for every wounded soldier until they are released from medical care and returned to active duty or discharged from the service because of their injuries.
- Ensure that soldiers who are partially disabled (loss of a foot say) have the ability to stay in the service if they desire and if their military occupation speciality (MOS) is needed. If not, provide additional training where appropriate and where the individuals capacity/ability do not jeopardize the mission.
- Figuring out how a serviceman's family is taken care of in the event of catostrophic disability or death.
- Pulling some really creative thinking types in on the problem including finance types, rehabilitation experts, physicians, occupational therapists etc. and taking a really solid look at their recommendations
There are those who will scream about the cost. My own response? So What! These wounded servicemen and women have given everything they have in the defense of their country. We cannot do less! We Cannot
UPDATE (12:47 PM jan 03, 2005): John Moore (http://tinyvital.com) had some interesting things to add to this, as a result I have changed the number 2 suggestion and added 3 and 4 above to reflect his thoughts. I love it when a plan comes together.