Thursday, April 27, 2006

The latest outrage

The Washington Post reports on the GAO finding nearly 900 examples of soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan being harassed by the government for debts incurred after the soldier is discharged. To further literally add insult to injury, most of these cases involve soldiers who are wounded in battle.

In one case discussed at the end of the article, the actions taken by the government to collect a debt from one of these veterans resulted in the family sending their 11 year old daughter to live with relatives out of state because they could not afford to keep her. This truly is an outrage. Our government is responsible for splitting that family up after that child's father served overseas! Family values can not possibly mean conducting business like this.

These soldiers in large part are being tagged for debt owed to the military because they lose an upgrade in pay after leaving a combat zone. The military has an antiquated computer system that often does not down grade their pay for several pay periods. So when the government realizes they are paying these wounded fellas too much they try to collect the overage. The reports also notes a minority of such occurrences as happening when the government bills for everything from medical bills (wha?!) to equipment left on the battlefield (again... wha?!).

Clearly this is not the fault of the soldiers. As Michael Hurst, a one time Army finance officer is quoted in the article: "It's a complete leadership failure," he said. "We can't expect the soldiers to notice mistakes in their pay that the paid professionals have failed to notice and correct." With this in mind I propose that any further harassment/billing of veterans first be submitted to that soldiers former payroll officer!

Frankly I find it outrageous that the Pentagon can waste billions of dollars on sweetheart deals with Haliburton and Star Wars, but they sic collectors on men and women who have been maimed while serving overseas. Clearly these veterans are not obscenely wealthy, paid lobbyists, oil tycoons, Bush Pioneers or Halliburtonistas, so they can not expect respect or consideration by this administration. The only way this ever becomes an issue is for it to be brought to the attention of Congress in an election year.

Support our troops. As in... honestly support them with policies that help them. Don't just talk and bluster about how you support the troops, then sic the collectors on them. Shame!

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]