The script is on the way for “Hunting Grumpy Old Men,” about two geezers aiming for quail, accompanied by a band of quiet Secret Service agents. When the quail moved, one grump — the one who exuded familiarity with weapons in promoting warfare — shoots his 78-year old & slightly deaf buddy who was daydreaming about a golf cart (and the quail escaped, rope still attached to his neck).
The buddy will have no problem paying unexpected costs, say the scriptwriters: he’s not employed by the Army.
On the same day, the attorney father of a West Point graduate was interviewed on television about his son, whose arm was shattered in Iraq last year. He could not clear Fort Hood, TX, without first clearing a bill for his Kevlar vest and attached canteen pouch, removed by the medics. The Army refused a check from his father, so he had to solicit loans from friends, paying cash rather than spending another couple of weeks at Fort Hood while paperwork was processed. Only after the story made the news and senators inquired did the Army agree to reimburse him.
“The Army’s callous attitude toward Rebrook and other soldiers like him reflect the hypocrisy behind President Bush’s war. The White House spouts noble words about patriotism — then bills a wounded soldier for his ruined body armor.”
Editorial, Charleston Gazette, Feb. 7, 2006;
Publicity and assistance from senators has forced the Army to reexamine & clear some bills, and they are relatively small, for example, for reimbursement of enlistment bonus when medical discharge prevented completion of the term, or for overpayment due to reduction of pay rate when leaving the combat zone.
“But why should a soldier who’s made such an extreme sacrifice be treated so shabbily in the first place?”
Editorial, 1-21-05, www.Texasobserver.org
For most soldiers discharged into civilian life minus all pre-war mind and body, a rich future is still a dream. They shouldn’t have to clear Fort Hood in a war with bureaucracy.
Of course, money can never replace a lost limb or shattered mental ability. That’s why the benefits paid are always insufficient. Therefore, debts created for any reason and billed to any soldier who has suffered permanent damage should be immediately reviewed with extreme generosity, and not sent to Collection. That’s a small tip o’ our hats.
If I can think that up, why can’t our Vice President? He knows more about the billions spent for Iraq. He’d know how to set aside a few bucks for a casualty slush fund. If he can’t earn his keep, maybe he should retire to pasture or wherever the quail went.
As we watched last night about the Wounded Warriors Project, my husband and I said that this is all Vietnam deja vu. Were the 50,000 casualties in Vietnam for nothing? Is this what we get from an administration whose individuals lack service experience?