Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cheating the wounded

Local Pittsburgh reporter Marty Griffin, via the Carpetbagger Report, is breaking a damn interesting and shameful story concerning a local vet who was discharged from the Army due to his injuries incurred from an IED attack in Iraq:
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.

One of them is Jordan Fox, a young soldier from the South Hills....

Fox was seriously injured when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle. He was knocked unconscious. His back was injured and lost all vision in his right eye.

A few months later Fox was sent home. His injuries prohibited him from fulfilling three months of his commitment. A few days ago, he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back.
This is chickenshit.

He signed a contract that contained the enlistment bonus and through no fault of his own he was discharged. And this is a pattern of behavior on the part of the US military to be penny wise and platinum foolish. Last month I noted two instances of the same behavior; writing deployment orders for a Minnesota National Guard brigade that had the longest sustained combat deployment of any active or reserve component manuever brigade so that the mobilization order was one day short of what was needed for the Guardsmen to have access to full G.I. benefits, and then the bouncing of soldiers who are suffering from mental health problems that being in combat has most likely had some causatory factor for 'pre-existing conditions'. This dodge puts people who otherwise would have qualified for DoD and VA medical care on their own after a combat deployment.

This pattern of behavior is a great way to ruin a complex social system. John Boyd made the important point that success runs through people first, ideas second, and equipment third. Routinely demonstrating a lack of loyalty and reciprocation of sacrifice destroys success.

Steve Benen is reporting that freshamn Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA-4) has met with this soldier and is introducing a bill to resolve this problem:
Mr. Altmire’s legislation, the Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act, would require the Defense Department to pay bonuses in full within 30 days to veterans discharged because of combat-related wounds.
As a side note, this is slightly interesting from a political junkie angle as Jason Altmire is pulling a smart move on getting ahead of the story's curve and furthering his growing reputation of doing good constituent service which should help him in his probable tough re-election fight. Even more interesting is that Rep. Altmire's district is to the north of Pittsburgh, while the soldier's home is strongly implied to be south of Pittsburgh which is the turf of Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA-18) who looks to be facing his first serious Democratic challenge in years.... interesting

No comments: