Saturday, October 15, 2005

What Does It Mean to Support Our Troops?
Crass exploitation of US soldiers

Those chicken hawk civilians at the Pentagon, who never having served a day in the military themselves, have had the gall to equate criticism of the Iraq War with failure to support the troops. These are the same men who went to war without sufficient body armor, so that soldiers who want a shot of surviving their tour of duty have to buy their own. Many humvees also lacked the needed armor. Now these Pentagon goons have the unmitigated nerve and insensitivity to charge wounded veterans for equipment lost during their injury and other unbelievable items. Yesterday in the WP, an article described the "Financial Friendly Fire" faced by hundreds of disabled vets.

His hand had been blown off in Iraq, his body pierced by shrapnel. He could not walk. Robert Loria was flown home for a long recovery at Walter Reed Army
Medical Center, where he tried to bear up against intense physical pain and
reimagine his life's possibilities.

The last thing on his mind, he said, was whether the Army had correctly adjusted his pay rate -- downgrading it because he was out of the war zone -- or whether his combat gear had been accounted for properly: his Kevlar helmet, his
suspenders, his rucksack.

But nine months after Loria was wounded, the Army garnished his wages
and then, as he prepared to leave the service, hit him with a $6,200 debt. That
was just before last Christmas, and several lawmakers scrambled to help. This
spring, a collection agency started calling. He owed another $646 for military

"I was shocked," recalled Loria, now 28 and medically retired from the
Army. "After everything that went on, they still had the nerve to ask me for

Although Loria's problems may be striking on their own, the Army has
recently identified 331 other soldiers who have been hit with military debt
after being wounded at war. The new analysis comes as the United States has more
wounded troops than at any time since the Vietnam War, with thousands suffering
serious injury in Iraq or Afghanistan.

It really makes me sad and mad to see soldiers used as disposable commodities in a unnecessary and costly war. Only people who have never experienced war (and whose children never will) can be so callous about those who give so much to serve our nation. As the recent presidential photo op shows, our troops are also utilized as props in the continuing effort to prove this war is worth about 2,000 dead soldiers and many thousand more severely injured.

PS: I don't know why my block quotes are getting so messed up. I'm still not a pro.


At 6:14 AM, Blogger Linux Unix said...

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