Democrats & Liberals Archives

Salt in every soldier’s wound

You sign-up to serve your country. You’re trained to defeat the enemy. You’re shipped off to some distant war ravaged land thousands of miles away from your family. And when you are seriously wounded enough to warrant a discharge, how does your government support you? They ask for their money back.

Jordon Fox,(LINK) a soldier from outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., was injured by a roadside bomb that destroyed the vehicle that he was riding in. He suffered multiple serious injuries including the complete loss of vision in his right eye. Jordon sat in Army hospitals for months before being sent home by the Army. After arriving stateside, the Army sent a letter to him, not thanking him for his dedicated service to his county. No, the Army sent a letter asking for their money back.

Thousands of wounded soldiers, like Jordon Fox, are being asked, if not forced, to return their signing or recruitment bonuses given to the soldier at the time of their enlistment. Yes, you heard that right; when men and women of this country lose their arms, legs, hearing, eyesight or any other horrifying injury that prohibits the soldier from serving our their term, the government is ordering that the bonuses be given back..

Talk about getting it from all sides.

The Army chalked up these incidents as mistakes. (LINK) According to the Army, the soldiers were asked to send back their ‘battlefield pay’ not their signing bonuses. The Army’s account differs from Jordon’s letter that states the signing bonus of $3,000 must be returned. But really, does it really matter? Battlefield pay or signing bonus, these soldiers shouldn’t have to return either.

Unclear about how many actual soldiers are being asked to return their money, Army spokesman Paul Boyce said that this problem was a screw-up from bean-counters in Army hospitals. Boyce said that some of the soldiers asked to give back their money were waived on the spot, but the vast majority of the cases remained in limbo.

In this nation, we’re asked to support our troops on a daily, if not, hourly basis. Many of those stateside, donate money, time and effort to make sure that those serving halfway across the world are not forgotten but are honored.

Many protest this government’s policies and decisions and ask for the troops to come home. The protesters are sometimes met with angry sentiment accusing the protesters of ‘emboldening the enemy’, ‘being unpatriotic’ and ‘not supporting the troops’. The protesters say they want to support the troops by brining them home. The war supporters claim that the utterance of such a request is an act of not supporting the troops.

I guess the government has different definition of support.

How does taking money out the pockets of wounded soldiers support the troops? What does this say to those currently serving abroad?

Let’s honor our troops not by superficial magnets on our SUVs. Let’s support them by doing the right thing. Call your congressperson today and tell them that wounded soldiers deserve our government’s ability to do the right thing. And the right thing, in this case, is to let them keep their money.

Posted by john trevisani at November 24, 2007 9:21 AM
Comments
Comment #239113

John, why should anybody write their congressman about an accounting error that’s already been taken care of? According to your link, about 300 soldiers were mistakenly sent this letter and are already being allowed to keep their money. So what should we be complaining about exactly?

Can we expect more scraping around the bottom of the barrel like this for things to criticize the administration and military over, now that Iraq is taking a turn for the better?

I suggest that this should be next story Democrats try to work up outrage over.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 24, 2007 11:19 AM
Comment #239114

Unfortunately this isn’t anything new. The government has required that the Military recover bonuses from GIs that haven’t finished their enlistments sense at least around the time of the Vietnam War. They didn’t give enlistment bonuses then but if a GI reenlisted they were given a bonus. If they were then sent to Vietnam and received the $1,000,000 wound they would be asked to return the bonus.
I have always thought this was stupid and still do. It aint the fault of the GI they were unable to finish their enlistment. They youngsters were wounded doing what they were told. They were serving their country in a war zone and I’m sure none of them wanted to be wounded. Why require them to give back any pay or bonuses they’ve received?
My nephew received a letter from the Marines ordering him to return his bonus when he was wounded in Iraq. He got a lawyer and the Marines backed off. But the thing is, he never should have got the letter in the first place. And neither should any other wounded GI.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 24, 2007 11:25 AM
Comment #239116


L.O.: This is not an accounting error. It is a cost saving strategy. The Veterans Administration is using the same strategy by sending wounded veterans letters telling them that their wounds are not service connected.

The government has already made it possible for every American to avoid serving their country and if we continue to treat our soldiers and veterans like we are treating them, we are insuring that fewer and fewer will volunteer to defend us.

Posted by: jlw at November 24, 2007 11:59 AM
Comment #239118

This is the typical pattern exhibited by conservatives. Is the administration demanding wounded vets return their signing bonuses? Oh, just an acconting error!

It is estimated up to 60,000 vets will have suffered brain damage from exposure to IED blasts. They will not be counted among the wounded, nor will those with PTSD.

And when estimates for the total cost of Iraq, which is currently over $500 billion (all borrowed), start factoring in the cost of VA medical care, you know what will happen. More denial. Remember, these are the exact same people who told us the invasion of Iraq would pay for itself!

Up to 1/3 of homeless people are vets. You know how conservatives describe these homeless people, of course. They’re just people who made “bad choices.” They did not have the wisdom to pursue “other priorities.” These vets exposed themselves to horrendous experiences, making some unable to re-integrate into civilian life, breaking up families, resulting in vets who escape into alcoholism & drug use, or worse, suicide.

L.O.,
Did you read your own link about how great things are in Iraq?

“Dhurgham Majed al Malik, 48, whose family has arranged burial services for generations, said that this spring, private cars and taxis with caskets lashed to their roofs arrived at a rate of 6,500 a month. Now it’s 4,000 or less, he said.”

So, according to this one fellow, 4,000 people a month a being buried in just this one city. Najaf. That is a burial ground for Shias only. And that only counts the Shia bodies which are found, and whose families have access to transportation, and the financial means to transport them, and who live in places where safe transport is even possible.

That is a shocking statistic. 4,000 per month.

I have seen estimates that Iraqi deaths now exceed one million. Links like the one you provide make it seem very plausible.

Posted by: phx8 at November 24, 2007 12:29 PM
Comment #239121

Phx8, because Najaf is the holiest cities for Iraq’s Shias, they are shipped there to be buried from all over Iraq. Often they’ll be temporarily buried somewhere else if they can’t be buried in Najaf right away.

Not all are buried in Najaf, but 4,000 deaths month among the largest ethnic group in a country of 30 million is not a “shocking statistic.” Your assumption is apparently that nobody dies in Iraq of natural causes anymore.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 24, 2007 12:55 PM
Comment #239123

LO:
i suggest you re-read the articles. There was no ‘accounting error’. The Army back-pedaled ‘saying’ it was bean counters that made a mistake and mislead the press by saying the soldiers were asked to give back battlefield pay. But the letter (shown in the video included in one of the cited articles) was clearly directing Mr. Jordan to give his BONUS money back.
Believe what you want to believe.

Posted by: john trevisani at November 24, 2007 1:21 PM
Comment #239125

All of you who are so determined that pockets of secured areas are a positive sign of the war going in (the right direction?) now, might want to read this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/world/middleeast/24iraq.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

Posted by: Jane Doe at November 24, 2007 1:27 PM
Comment #239126

L.O,
That is true, the article fails to mention the natural death rate, or put the numbers into any kind of larger context. We can only infer.

It is propaganda, nothing more.

Just another “feel good” article, albeit a morbid one, intended to extend the war into another administration, perhaps fulfilling the Neocon dream of permanent military bases and control of oil reserves, all as the result of invasion and conquest, a grotesque textbook example of imperialistic aggression.

Meanwhile, a new warlord has arisen in Baghdad, Abu Abd. He was a military officer under Saddam Hussein, and he is uniting a faction of Sunni nationalists (Baathists, 1920s Revolutionary Brigades, and others), and, armed by the US, is going after the Salafists Jihadis (Islamic State of Iraq, Al Qaida in Iraq, and others).

But make no mistake. These nationalists are not friends of the US, and they do not share the US agenda beyond exterminating religious fundamentalists. Saddam Hussein was always very good at that.

The Shias under Al-Sadr have enforced a cease fire, and their Mahdi Army consists of some very crazy people, including a faction from the millinarial Army of Heaven. They are rural fundamentalists, they are the most popular group in Iraq, and they want elections for individuals, not lists. They are nativists, they do not like Iranians, they do not like Jews, they do not like Sunnis, and they most certainly do not like Americans.

Pursuing this war is utterly foolish.

Posted by: phx8 at November 24, 2007 1:32 PM
Comment #239127

Also for your consideration:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071124/pl_nm/iraq_usa_democrats_dc_1

Posted by: Jane Doe at November 24, 2007 2:05 PM
Comment #239133

I’m surprised that this article is comming from the left. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the left’s position on money that all money belongs to the government?…They seem to act that way to me.

Posted by: tomd at November 24, 2007 3:38 PM
Comment #239141

Tomd:

Perhaps as you read more you will discover more about how wrong your ideas about the left really are.

Posted by: womanmarine at November 24, 2007 5:24 PM
Comment #239161

Tomd,

WomanMarine is right, they just want half.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2007 12:05 AM
Comment #239162

BTW, don’t forget that the democrats are the ones who cut veteran pensions by 40% to help pay for the New Deal. Oh, the love of the military by the left…

What I find amazing is that here were have a perfect example of GOVERNMENT inability to function effectively once it gets oversized, that the problem is identified and no one is required to pay back the money, yet what do we hear?

Thousands of wounded soldiers, like Jordon Fox, are being asked, if not forced, to return their signing or recruitment bonuses given to the soldier at the time of their enlistment.
(backing that up with…?)
This is not an accounting error. It is a cost saving strategy.
(backing that up with…?)

Two quotes of definitive statements with NOTHING to back it up or any evidence to even suggest that the statements are accurate…

Gotta love the hysteria of the left.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2007 12:13 AM
Comment #239164

Rhinehold,
Ever hear of the Bonus Army? Republican president Herbert Hoover issued orders which resulted in the US Army attacking the protesting WWI veterans. This was one of the ugliest moments in the history of the last century, brought to you courtesy of the GOP. It happened because the vets had the temerity to demand early payment of their benefits, in 1932, right in the midst of the Great Depression. MacArthur thought they were Communists.

It took a Democratic Congress to take actions which eventually resulted in the VA and the GI Bill of Rights.

Posted by: phx8 at November 25, 2007 12:45 AM
Comment #239166

Wounded soldiers asked to return signing bonuses
Posted November 20th, 2007 at 12:40 pm


When Jordan Fox was serving in Iraq, his mother helped organize Operation Pittsburgh Pride, which sends thousands of care packages to U.S. troops from his hometown, which prompted a personal “thank you” from the White House. When Fox was seriously injured in Iraq, the president sent what appeared to be personal note, expressing his concerns to the Fox family.

But more recently, Fox received a different piece of correspondence from the Bush administration.

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.
http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/13660.html

Posted by: Jane Doe at November 25, 2007 1:10 AM
Comment #239168

Any large bureaucracy makes stupid mistakes. These look like they are on the way to being corrected.

We have to work with the rule of law, honoring commitments on all sides

Posted by: Jack at November 25, 2007 2:36 AM
Comment #239174

Rhinehold:

Thousands of wounded soldiers, like Jordon Fox, are being asked, if not forced, to return their signing or recruitment bonuses given to the soldier at the time of their enlistment.
(backing that up with…?)

http://kdka.com/kdkainvestigators/military.signing.bonuses.2.571660.html
This link was already posted in the first post. Additionally, it was also referenced in the second article.

Posted by: john trevisani at November 25, 2007 10:50 AM
Comment #239177

phx8

“This is the typical pattern exhibited by conservatives. Is the administration demanding wounded vets return their signing bonuses? Oh, just an acconting error!”

no this is a typical of an overbloated big gov’t run orginization that has lost touch with reality, and cares about nothing more than hanging on to as much tax money as possible. of course this would never have happened under liberal rule, right?

get real this kind of crap has been going on for a long time. it hasn’t just started since reps. were in power. the problem is the gov’t has gotten far to big to be of much use to anyone except it’s need to go larger, and exercise even more control over the general populace.

Posted by: dbs at November 25, 2007 11:38 AM
Comment #239178

phx8

“Republican president Herbert Hoover issued orders which resulted in the US Army attacking the protesting WWI veterans. This was one of the ugliest moments in the history”

he ordered the military to keep order. in hindsight it was a huge mistake. it was ultimately mac arthur that allowed the situation to get out of control, and you could argu that it should have ended his career, but to the best of my knowlege hoover never authorized the brutality that took place in that park. it’s funny how you choose to blame the gop, rather than recognize the the root of the problem which was, and still is a gov’t that is out of touch with the people it is supposed to serve. i will agree though, that incident was one of the most disgusting abuses of gov’t power that has ever occured in this country.

Posted by: dbs at November 25, 2007 11:55 AM
Comment #239186

Dbs & Rhinehold,

There are a number of people, both Democrats & Republicans, who did not exactly shine when it came to the Bonus Army issue.

The point is, we are going to be facing a similar issue with the Iraqi veterans. Not specifically bonuses, although the original article points out an example- but an enormous and justified demand by veterans for compensation, in particular medical care.

Because of a greater understanding of PTSD and a growing undertstanding of the varieties of brain damage caused by IEDs, the number of “wounded” will skyrocket as the realization spreads. It is a not-so-hidden cost of the war.

No matter how you cut it, this cost will have to be addressed by government, and it will have to be paid for with taxes- my money and your money. If there is any decency in us when it comes to footing this cost, we would be wise to prepare for a very, very steep bill.

Posted by: phx8 at November 25, 2007 12:51 PM
Comment #239188
This link was already posted

No John, there is nothing in that link detailing anyone being forced to pay back anything. Please provide me anywhere where this was being forced please, as was suggested.

No matter how you cut it, this cost will have to be addressed by government

Yup, don’t recall anyone saying it shouldn’t be though…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2007 1:07 PM
Comment #239204

Rhinehold:
From the link: “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.”

demand. (n.d.).
To ask for urgently or peremptorily: demand an investigation into the murder; demanding that he leave immediately; demanded to speak to the manager.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved November 25, 2007, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/demand

i realize at this point some will play the game of semantic ping-pong, claiming that demand isn’t forced. But when the IRS demands that you pay back taxes, they forcing you.

Posted by: john trevisani at November 25, 2007 4:18 PM
Comment #239208

John,

And again, you ignore that you said they were being forced. No one has been forced to do ANYTHING here regarding the funds.

When was it demanded? A letter was sent out, admitted by the US Military as being a mistake, wanting the money back.

Has anyone sent lawyers, police, legal papers, etc demanding the money? Was anyone who was sent a letter forced to turn the money back via the law?

If you want to make this more than it is (which is par for the course) that’s your right. But do NOT get offended when no one takes anything you say seriously again.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2007 4:41 PM
Comment #239210

Speak for yourself Rhinehold. I will take John seriously anytime he posts.

Posted by: womanmarine at November 25, 2007 4:55 PM
Comment #239213

I agree with womanmarine and beyond that, it never ceases to amaze me when there is little to support an argument that the only rationale is to spin it to death !

Posted by: Jane Doe at November 25, 2007 5:21 PM
Comment #239216

?

Spin what, Jane Doe?

The lack of support is in the initial accusations that:

1) Soldiers are being forced to pay back anything

2) It was done on purpose and not simply a clerical mistake as was stated by the military.

If that is spin, you know, asking for proof of something being accused, then paint me a spinner!

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2007 5:45 PM
Comment #239218

How many times will you have to see it before you accept it?

“He was discharged in September, two years before completing his enlistment period. Now, the Department of Defense is demanding pay back the $3,000.”

“I was very shocked that I actually had a bill in the mail of them telling me I owed them money, because I wasn’t able to complete my full term,” said Fox.

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) ― 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.

Posted by: Jane Doe at November 25, 2007 6:14 PM
Comment #239219

I don’t believe that will go any farther than the earlier multiple attempts to explain that there are methods short of armed confrontations and commando raids that do, in fact, justify force. I don’t know anyone receiving an order from their highest level authority who would consider just poo-pooing it away and tossing the document.

Posted by: Jane Doe at November 25, 2007 6:18 PM
Comment #239230

Jane Doe,

You might want to read what I write…

No one is saying that they didn’t receive the letters. However, some are asserting that some have been forced to pay the money back (none have that I’ve seen) and that it was done purposely instead of being a clerical error (again, no evidence at all to this).

I can say that Hillary Clinton is running for president because she wants a crack at some revenge by performing oral sex with interns herself. While it IS true that she is running for president, my assertion to the reasoning cannot be backed up. Some may agree, some may disagree, but there is no FACTUAL EVIDENCE for that. And if I were against her running, my assertion would just fuel the anti-Hillary side of the aisle and cause more problems then if I had just stayed on the fact and didn’t try to whip up hysteria by over-exagerating or purposely misleading what has happened…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2007 8:59 PM
Comment #239231
I don’t know anyone receiving an order from their highest level authority who would consider just poo-pooing it away and tossing the document.

What an idiotic statement.

(serviceman) What? They want me to do what? That’s just wrong.

(DVA) Hello, Department of Veteran Affairs, how can I help you?

(serviceman) I just got a letter about you wanting my signing bonus back, what is that all about?

(DVA) Oh, I’m sorry you got that. It was a clerical error on our part, please ignore the letter. We will be sending out another letter in the next few days explaining this more in detail. Again, we’re sorry you got that letter.

(serviceman) Oh, ok. Thanks for letting me know that…

Are you really suggesting that people have gotten this letter and not called to question it? Or if for some reason they did return the money, didn’t see the reporting on it and call in to get their bonus back?

And why is it that any sense of reasonability is absent on the far left and far right of the spectrum these days? I mean, there have always been loonies (ie, government was involved in 9/11, Afghanistan pipeline is why we attacked Taliban, We need to see all emails to protect ourselves from the terrorists, etc) but it just seems that lately reasonableness has been what is missing the most from any debate about ANY topic…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2007 9:05 PM
Comment #239236

I’m sorry Rhinehold, but I obviously failed to get the message that designated your interpretations and opinions as the only ones that are logical or legitimate.

Posted by: Jane Doe at November 25, 2007 11:03 PM
Comment #239239

I’m sorry Jane Doe, but I obviously fail to see where I told you that you had to have my opinion. I simply state my opinion, why I think it, what I think of your stated opinion and why I think yours is wrong.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2007 11:23 PM
Comment #239250

Rhinehold: ‘Force’ is a synonym for ‘demand’.

Posted by: john trevisani at November 26, 2007 8:36 AM
Comment #239251

If they are in a hospital or rehab - they should NOT be getting combat pay. That is for time in combat. We are in a perpetual and mindless competition to see who can be more supportive of troops and yes - it is costing too much.
Obviously the enlistment bonus is a different story and that was a mistake if it was asked for back.

Posted by: Schwamp at November 26, 2007 8:43 AM
Comment #239253
‘Force’ is a synonym for ‘demand’.

Soooo, if I ‘demand’ that you give me 1000 I’m forcing you to do that?

I’m sorry, but I just don’t agree with your statement, though if YOU believe it to be true I can see where you got confused.

force (v) - Synonyms: compel, oblige, make, drive, impose, coerce, constrain
demand (v) - Synonyms: request, petition
Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2007 8:53 AM
Comment #239255

Rhinehold:
You say tomato, i say tomato.
—-
Main Entry: force
Part of Speech: verb 1
Definition: obligate
Synonyms: apply, bear down, bind, blackmail, burden, cause, charge, choke, coerce, command, compel, concuss, conscript, constrain, contract, demand, draft, drag, dragoon*, drive, enforce, enjoin, exact, extort, fix, impel, impose, inflict, insist, limit, make, move, necessitate, oblige, obtrude, occasion, order, overcome, pin down, press, pressure, pressurize, require, restrict, sandbag*, shotgun*, strong-arm*, urge, wrest, wring
Source: Roget’s New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)
—-
Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Posted by: john trevisani at November 26, 2007 9:12 AM
Comment #239285

Rhinehold

you obviously are missing the point old chap. if it was an accident, then it’s of no use to anyone looking to use it to prove how mean spirited those waskely wepublicans are. if john kerry was president it would have obviously been a mistake, or an oversight, and we wouldn’t be arguing this point ;)

Posted by: dbs at November 26, 2007 4:51 PM
Comment #239426

god bless this mess

Posted by: kevin at November 27, 2007 6:04 PM
Comment #239479

Does it really matter whether or not this was deliberate of if it was a “clerical error”? What matters is that it is a travesty that our young men and women, wounded in combat, are being billed by the government for getting hurt. Even if it only ever happened to one wounded vet, it is wrong, and anyone poo-pooing this story obviously has no emotional ties to someone in harm’s way over there.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at November 28, 2007 2:18 AM
Comment #239515

Leatherankh,

No one is suggesting it wasn’t wrong, but the suggestion that we should man the phones and put an end to the travesty that was already admitted as a mistake and ended already… just seems like creating an atmosphere of hysteria that you seem to have bought into.

Perhaps, if the government weren’t trying to be the ‘althing’, it would realize it should just do what it should do and do it well. Then things like this wouldn’t happen so much…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 28, 2007 2:55 PM
Comment #239545

Rhinehold, where did you get your information that this travesty has “ended already”?
I know there is a bill to be submitted that will do that very thing. That is really pretty pathetic that keeping the military from screwing the wounded troops has to be legislated.

Posted by: Jane Doe at November 28, 2007 7:46 PM
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