This Is How We "Support Our Troops"?
Haven't spent much time lately talking about the Iraq situation, as I figure by now everybody either is already bored by it (despite the fact that U.S. troops are suffering one fatality per day on average, dealing with 120 degree heat, short-rations, a disgruntled and highly suspitious civilian population, ongoing harrassment from guerilla insurgents, not to mention constant extensions of their already overly extended tours of duty). Regardless of how you may personally feel about whether or not we should even be there at all, or about the disingenuous methods BushCo. used to make their so-called "case for war", even the most die-hard peacenik understands that the poor grunts on the line are doing what they enlisted and trained for, and that they deserve our support and respect.
It's a bloody difficult job, under some of the worst circumstances imagineable, and yes mistakes have been made, and we should be investigating these, and if necessary punishing those responsible for conduct unbecoming. On the other hand, when I read something like this, I'm amazed those GI Joes and Janes are exhibiting enough discipline not to point their M-16's on their own commanding officers. Now, the good news is that The Pentagon has seen the light -- or more likely heard the rumbling groundswell of public opinion (not to mention the sounds of tens of thousands of already impoverished military families standing outside the gates with torches and pitchforks) and decided not to push for rescinding the combat pay increases. But, what does it say about the Administration's committment to our troops that it takes this kind of outpouring of anger to get them to back down on something that by all rights should have been a no-brainer in the first place?
Current estimates from the Congressional Budget Office indicate we are pouring roughly $1 BILLION per month into the Iraqi incursion, but the Pentagon (and presumably the White House, which has their fingers in every other pie, so why NOT this one?) says they "couldn't afford" to cough up a measely $300 mm per YEAR (BTW this works out to an average of about $225 a month additional per enlisted person in the Theatre of Operations, which includes Afghanistan as well as Iraq) for Imminent Danger Pay and Family Separation Allowances for those most at risk? Are they freaking kidding us??? So the military has to make due with six fewer F-18 Hornets next fiscal year, big deal. Just means less opportunity for AWOL to jump into his custom-tailored flight suit for another photo op, so far as I'm concerned. For crying out loud, when the Army's own official newspaper, The Army Times comes out with an editorial against the proposal (which is an almost unheard of occurance), you know somebody's FUBAR'ed this one big time.
on 9:24 AM