Believe It, or Not

I really would like to know exactly who was behind this:

The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.

To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.

Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.

The article linked said that veterans have received letters from “the military” — I assume the Department of Defense — demanding a return of a portion of their sign-on bonus. Spencer Ackerman says he has attempted to get a response on this from the Pentagon. But, apparently, this has been going on for a while, under the radar. Last month Jonathan D. Silver wrote in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The problem, as U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire sees it, is that soldiers wounded in Iraq are being denied bonuses when their injuries force an early military discharge. …

… “Hard as it may be to believe, the Department of Defense has been denying injured servicemen and women the bonuses that they qualified for,” Mr. Altmire said.

Altmire, a Democrat, has sponsored legislation to ensure the wounded and discharged vets enjoy the benefits of their entire bonus.

Not even rightie bloggers are defending this policy, but while leftie bloggers are blaming the Bush Administration, rightie bloggers mostly blame “bureaucracy.” Maybe this policy did not originate in the White House, but someone at some level of management, somewhere, must have authorized the policy. The letters didn’t write and mail themselves.

Tim at Balloon Juice:

Someone please explain to me why Malkin and Bob Owens work themselves into a feedback screech about Scott Beauchamp rather than crap like this.

Good question.

10 thoughts on “Believe It, or Not

  1. Yes, this administration sure does support the troops… This is outrageous. And in the new WH budget, the Veterans Administration is scheduled for less money and to continue getting less money every following year. Again, just when the wounded troops will need the most support this administration is planning for it not to be there. Faceless bureauracy, my eye… What is Congress going to do about this issue?

  2. Tim at Balloon Juice summed up my reaction perfectly. The rightie shriekers are a pack of flamin’ hypocrites. Not that I didn’t already know.

    Billions for Halliburton, but screw the maimed soldiers. Obscene.

  3. this is not new policy and has been happening for years now. it just floated up to the top of the pile again.

  4. Don’t forget that (it appears to me) more and larger bonuses have been offered in this illegal and immoral war because the armed forces are not meeting their recruiting quotas. So, they entice poor young men with lots of money; but take it back when they get injured.

  5. I’m so pissed off over this that I emailed my senators. Ben Nelson is on the Armed Services committee, but of course his head is filled with wood chips and hamster dooty, so that email was probably a waste of time.

    My other senator, though, is Chuck Hagel. I’ll keep you all posted.

  6. I sent Chuck Hagel a letter several years ago in protest of the Iraq war. He actually sent me a favorable response. Imho, Hagel is one of the few honorable Republicans, as was Lincoln Chaffee

  7. Screwing enlistees out of their bonus is a military tradition. Back in 73, the military restructured the formula used to calculate the bonsus, which cut it to a fraction of what the recruiters showed before we signed a contract.Changing the formula was legal but as a class-action case made it to the Supreme Court, the Navy lost because the bonus, and the manner it was calculated was part of the recruiters manual. In other words, there is precident that the military is bound not only by the letter of the contract, which no one has the chance to read, but by the spirit of the agreement and that could get the Army in trouble in a class-action suit if no one mentioned you have to survive to the end of your contract to collect.

  8. Back in 73, the military restructured the formula used to calculate the bonuses….

    American combat troops left Vietnam in early 1973. We’re now ending the fourth year of another very unpopular war. Time to raise hell about what is a grossly inappropriate “precedent” under the current circumstances. Hold the yellow-ribbon crowd’s feet to the fire.

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