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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 01:36 PM
Original message
Ya' can't make this stuff up . . .
About a year ago I wrote a piece about the Pentagon charging soldiers for equipment lost on the battlefield. That equipment included body armor cut away by medics treating wounds. Im not sure if they billed for the pants that held those two legs blown off by an IED but it got so bad the estates of dead soldiers were being billed for lost equipment before Congress slapped the civilian leaders at the Pentagon around and made them stop.

Well, theyre at it again.

In order to make enlistment quota the Army has been offering a $10,000 enlistment bonus and in August a quick ship bonus of $20,000 to ship out immediately. Bet that really irritated the guys who signed up in July. Theres a catch though. Seems if you get shot up so badly that you cant serve out your full enlistment they bill you for the bonus. To be fair its pro-rated for time served, so if youre wounded in the first six months of your enlistment they only bill you $8,300, or $16,600 if you got the quick ship money. Im not sure how they handle it if a soldier is killed outright but I assume they take it out of death benefits.

Right after Veterans day I published a piece about veterans and pointed out that 120 veterans commit suicide every week, twice the rate of non-veterans. When CBS asked the VA if there was a problem Dr. Ira Katz, head of VA mental health, said they didnt have statistics but assured the reporter that there wasnt an epidemic. So CBS did their own survey and guess what? If you limit the data to veterans between 22 and 24 years of age the suicide rate is four times that of non-veterans. Its only a short-term problem though because Mr. Bush has assured the world that the United States has no plans for permanent bases in Iraq and well leave as soon as the job is done. Besides, the UN mandate for military action in Iraq expires Dec. 31, 2008.

Well, not so much.

Mr. Bush and Prime Minister Maliki have agreed to formalize an accord before July 2008 that will create economic, political and security ties between the two countries. Translation: permanent bases and US soldiers on the ground forever. Its important to note the word accord. Usually this is done through a reciprocal treaty but treaties require Congressional aproval. With this accord Mr. Bush has saddled the United States with an open-ended commitment to a military presence in Iraq forever. That kinda kills the argument about how the next Democratic President will get us out of this civil war, doesnt it?

And then theres Blackwater. Remember when that bunch of cowboys shot a dozen or so civilians in front of Iraqi police and local politicians? Remember that the Pentagon outsourced the investigation . . . to Blackwater? Remember how Rep. Waxman got all bent out of shape and demanded an inspector general investigation of the incident? Things arent moving too fast in that investigation. It seems that the head honcho at the IGs office is a fella named Cookie Krongard. It also seems that his brother, Buzzy Krongard is on Blackwaters board of directors. Thats okay though because Buzzys lawyer said they dont get along with each other and the government should just stay out of family squabbles. Really, he said that. So after almost a year with no progress in the investigation Cookie has recused himself, Buzzy has resigned from the Blackwater board and the Justice Department will conduct an investigation. Hope it turns out better than Fredos investigation of Abu Ghraib.

Ya just cant make this stuff up.

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2... wounded vets charged for enlistment bonus

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20... quick ship bonus

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/13/cbsnews_inves... suicide epidemic among vets

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iSM7vHKwA2jXdCvhrXU... Bush, Maliki sign deal for permanent bases

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071126/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/s... Blackwater investigation

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119525504613896250.html... Buzzy Krongard quits Blackwater
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
1. "Let the marketplace decide." Ugh.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
2. I'm appalled
this just blows me away
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 02:07 PM
Response to Original message
3. 
jr does not have the authority to unilaterally enter into treaties. I n other words FUCK YOU GWB.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
4. A couple of questions --
1. Am I right in thinking that the Pentagon has changed its policy regarding billing for return of bonuses? I seem to recall there was a huge media flap about this and as a result, the Pentagon came around.

2. WHO is it who put these procedures in place -- that the troops had to pay for missing or damaged equipment?

3. Does the congress have any power over changing these 'rules'?

4. What can we do?

I can't help but think if this - and the other horrors and atrocities - were more widely known by the people, there would be an ENORMOUS outcry (much like the instance I THINK I recall) and changes would have to be made.

I just can't understand how human beings could implement these measures and be able to sleep at night or kiss their kids.

I am absolutely horrified and sickened by all of this.

Thanks.




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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I'll try to answer.
Chuck Schumer is working on the bonuses. If his bill passes as is bonus money would be paid if a soldier is discharged honorably regardless of timing.

The charging for missing equipment has been around for a long time, but mostly for non-combat loss. In the early 80s policy changed and troops were given a uniform allowance to replace clothing and were charged for lost equipment without regard to how lost. I'm sure there were allowances made for combat conditions but that was after my time.

Congress does have power to impose it's will on the Pentagon. If nothing else it has the power of the purse. This sort of thing happens in the implimentation of policy and interpretation of policy until somebody, like a congressman, makes a stink.

You can pick up your phone and give your elected representative an earful of how we're treating our vets. 11% of population, 26% of the homeless, 2-4 times the non veteran suicide rate and drug use far beyond any in the civilian world. 20,000 brain injuries not diagnosed by the Pentagon.

And the beat goes on.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Thank you. Again, I am just flabbergasted that good people let this take place.
I know Biden has spoken -- passionately! -- of the horrific way we treat our soldiers and veterans and addressed the heartbreaking suicide rate as well as the post traumatic stress. I'm assuming the candidates feel as strongly. These subjects are 'on the table' and I have hope that our next President will pull the rug out from under all this crap and ensure these wrongs are addressed. I won't forget.

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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 02:51 PM
Response to Original message
7. Everyone should read this post (tho' they probably won't because of the title).
Excellent documentation, BTW.

Wish most of our DU posts were put together so well.
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Thanks for the kind words. Any advice on writing catchy headlines
would be most appreciated. Maybe I should use gun control or religion in every title . . .
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. How about "While Blackwater makes billions, our soldiers must pay for their own body bags."
That's the best I can do without my morning coffee.

Thanks again for the thread and the documentation. I am sending it to a brother today.
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zabet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
8. k & r
This is one of the many reasons
I donate to our VFW. It is sickening
how our wounded veterans are treated.
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pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
9. If we hadn't been in the Twilight Zone for 2,484 days, I'd be shocked.
(Math based on period of time between the infamous SCOTUS decision on Dec. 12, 2000, & today's date.)
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Olney Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-07 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
11. How many more are going to die for the chimp's "freedom agenda."
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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 03:57 AM
Response to Original message
12. This is the corporate mentality running the country.
In corporate-think, people are merely "inputs", or "assets", or "resources", or "expenses". In the corporate world, you do whatever you can to cut expenses, since that increases profit, and then the executives can justify giving themselves more perks and bonuses.

The corporate mind is the same mind that invented the famous phrase over the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp: "Arbeit Macht Frei". This can be translated as "Work makes you free". So many people were worked to death in the camps, in addition to those who were outright murdered, that the disposal of so many dead bodies become a serious expense and logistics problem. That is when the corporate mind found the solution to be the building of the crematoria.

People should not be surprised at the military's treatment of its soldiers or its veterans. When they were still uninjured and healthy, they could contribute to the "bottom line" so they were considered inputs or resources to be at least minimally cared for. Once they were injured, they became expenses and liabilities and were to be treated accordingly.

If you understand and accept corporate-think, you will understand the logical correctness of the military's treatment of its soldiers.
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