My vocabulary is too limited to express my disgust with the American military establishment. You will not believe this report from a very reliable political blog. The Canadians among you may not realize that military recruiters routinely offer "signing bonuses" to new enlistees. What the recruiters don't tell the recruits is that they will only get to keep the bonuses if they complete their tours of duty. If they are seriously wounded and discharged early, they are expected to return a portion of their bonuses to the government.
Are you *$%@!%ing me?
Last month, a Congressman from Pennsylvania introduced a bill in Congress to change this policy, but the bill has not been passed yet. The current policy is outrageous, immoral and despicable! To what new depths will the American government sink next? Can it possibly get any worse? I'm having an Alice in Wonderland moment. I also think I'm going to throw up.
Update: November 22, 2007
The US military has responded to the national news coverage regarding attempts to recoup bonus money from wounded soldiers. Check my initial post above, including the link, then check the link in this update.
Obviously, the US military has egg and other vile substances on its face over this issue. Dave and I speculated that the difficulty could lie in a decades-old policy that was unclear and which has, in a number of cases, been applied inappropriately. I read another plausible explanation by a government employee on how it could be a computer glitch. He suggested that a poorly structured program may search for all soldiers who have not finished their tours of duty, then automatically generate the same letter for all of them. Obviously, the step that's missing, if this is the case, is to uncover why people have left early, then either ignore the names of the wounded, or generate the letters for people who have gone AWOL, been dishonorably discharged, etc. I believe the legal, policy and technical changes required to correct this will be made quickly. My heart goes out to all those veterans who have been caught up in this horrible snafu.
I disagree with the Iraq War, but I want our active soldiers and vets to be treated with the respect, honor and decency they deserve. If the government wants to raise my taxes to pay for newer, bigger, more devastating war toys, they're going to have to work really hard to sell me on that priority. If they want to raise my taxes so that military personnel can have decent wages, living accommodations and benefits, all they have to do is show me where to sign. The establishment can start regaining my confidence by fixing the current signing bonus fiasco.