Skip to comments.One Reporter's Opinion - Pay 'em Well or Give 'em Hell!
Posted on 08/28/2003 8:25:31 PM PDT by janetgreen
It is this reporter's opinion that the San Francisco Chronicle dropped a bombshell when it reported that the Pentagon wants to cut the pay of its 148,000 U.S. troops in Iraq whose jobs involve unimaginable risks, who contend with danger and threats upon their lives, not to mention guerilla style attacks, homesickness and 120 degree + heat.
Unless Congress and the president take quick action when they return after the Labor Day weekend, our American GIs in Iraq and the 9,000 in Afghanistan will lose a pay increase (approved last April) of $75 a month in "imminent danger pay" and $150 a month in family separation allowances.
The Defense Dept. supports these cuts, saying its budget can't sustain the higher payments amid a host of other "priorities." What are these priorities? What could possibly be more important than compensating these young men and women who volunteer to defend our country?
It is predicted that it will take several tens of billions of dollars to reconstruct Iraq - that the price tag is almost impossible to exaggerate. And Iraqi oil revenue will not cover the cost, which is on top of the $4 billion monthly bill for military action.
Imminent danger pay given to Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force members in combat zones was raised to $225 from $150 a month. The family separation allowance goes to help military families pay rent, childcare, and other expenses while the military men and women are away. It was raised from $100 a month to $250. The Pentagon sent Congress an interim budget report saying that the extra $225 monthly for two pay categories is costing an additional $25 million more a month - $300 million for a full year.
Those are the facts and figures - the financial cost of the effort in Iraq. But what about the human toll? As this is being written, two U.S. soldiers were killed. One died in a roadside bombing in Fallujah, three others were wounded.
A second death came in an attack on a military convoy in Baghdad. A third soldier died from a non-hostile gunshot wound.
The deaths brought to 281, the number of soldiers killed since the war began. Since the president declared major combat over - mission accomplished - on May 1st, 143 have died. In all actuality, five more of our GIs have died since "mission accomplished" than had died during the first phase of the war. We're averaging one or more deaths each day - at the hands of bombers and snipers.
At this moment, we have U.S. military representation in 120 countries around the world (in addition to the 148,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and the 9,000 in Afghanistan) and we want to cut their pay!? Tell that to the little wife back home, struggling to feed and care for herself and a couple of kids. Try to explain to her our government's expenditure of billions of dollars in a foreign land she had previously never heard of.
The Independent Army Times, widely distributed among Army personnel, blasts the Pentagon, the White House and the Congress. The paper editorializes that Congress was wrong to make the pay raises temporary and the Pentagon is wrong to call for a rollback. This is the voice of the military speaking.
How can we explain to the families of military personnel the president's statement before a veterans' group that, despite mounting U.S. casualties, the U.S. will not relent in its war against terrorism, that Iraq has become a "point of testing" in the war on terror and vowed, "There will be no retreat."
Perhaps Rudyard Kipling said it best in his poem, "Tommy" -
it makes the point that when war is declared, the flags unfurled, the bands play, the boys and girls march, the tanks roll, the planes fly and the ships are on their way.
It's a fervor of patriotism and a march to victory. But having accomplished the mission, the military people may be all but forgotten.
"For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!" But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot; An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please; But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!"
We're told the war is not over. Now it's our turn to stand up for those who fought for our freedom - some of whom paid the ultimate price. Appeal to your Congress-people and to the president to pay them well. Compared to the billions we're spending for military action, it's a mere pittance.
Let's bring them home and give them their due.
It appears a few perfumed princes were trying to please their ex demorat masters (you know how house slaves get) and thus this littl story was borne.
Didn't mean to post "garbage". This article by George Putnam was dated today. I'll contact him and let him know that section9 said he was wrong.
Be Seeing You,
Yeah, this post was from last week, the 16th. It was an RNC document from a Pentagon briefing that you didn't see in the media:
IMMINENT DANGER COMPENSATION WILL NOT BE REDUCED
Undersecretary Of Defense For Personnel And Readiness David Chu Confirms Compensation Will Not Be Reduced. "I'd just like very quickly to put to rest what I understand has been a burgeoning rumor that somehow we are going to reduce compensation for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is not true. We are not going to reduce their compensation. · What I'm saying on the record for Iraq and Afghanistan, absolutely yes, we are going to continue compensation for those folks." (Department Of Defense, Press Conference, 8/15/03)
Even If Congress Allows Temporary Allowance Provisions To Expire In September, Defense Department Has More Effective Compensation Measures To Use. "The department has a variety of pay and allowance powers already with which it plans to maintain the compensation of those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan should the current allowance provisions expire. · But actually we would prefer· to use those other compensation powers as our way of ensuring that we target these compensation benefits on the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. · We have hardship duty pay · we have some incentive pay with which we can compensate people in Iraq should these allowances fall back to levels prior to April of this year when Congress enacted new levels with which we can and will · maintain compensation in Iraq. " (Defense Undersecretary David Chu, Press Conference, 8/15/03)
The writer of the original article probably never saw this. I don't blame him. Any American would be outraged if they found that combat pay was being cut for the infantry. But the fact is, it isn't being cut at all.
Be Seeing You,
My father allways said the government will never pay me my military retirement.
I always countered that Congress would never NOT pay a soldier that was trained to kill from a distance.
Cool...Who was that masked man?
I don't know.
Your guess is as good as mine....
Be Seeing You,
The press is lying. Transcript of press briefing Aug 14, 2003
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