Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Join the National Guard, Spend Two Years in Iraq, Get Stabbed in the Back

This is how the Far Right “supports” the troops:

2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard spent almost two years deployed in Iraq. It was the longest deployment of any ground combat unit.

When they returned to the States, they found out that they were — JUST BARELY — not qualified for the educational benefits they thought they'd be receiving under the G.I. Bill.

In order to receive the G.I. Bill and other benefits, this unit would have had to be gone for 730 days. By the sheerest of coincidences, they were gone for only 729 days. Sorry — Disqualified! Move along, nothing to see here.

1st Lt. Jon Anderson said “It's pretty much a slap in the face. I think it was a scheme to save money, personally. I think it was a leadership failure by the senior Washington leadership... once again failing the soldiers…I had 23 guys under my command. I promised to take care of them. And I'm not going to end taking care of them when this deployment is over, and it's not over until this is solved."

Anderson’s fellow platoon leader, John Hobot, said “I would assume, and I would hope, that when I get back from a deployment of 22 months, my senior leadership in Washington, the leadership that extended us in the first place, would take care of us once we got home.”

So far the Army hasn’t responded to any questions about this.

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Blogger Randal Graves said...

It's funny when a guy needs 500 at-bats for an extra million and ends up with 499. This doesn't qualify as funny. Fucking Republican rule lawyering. You serve in a hostile zone, for 12 months, 2 months, a week, who fucking cares. You qualify.

Apparently, supporting the troops only means you hold them upright as props to advance your agenda.

October 4, 2007 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: Yup, props, that's it. That's their one and only purpose. The more battered and disabled a soldier is, the better a mascot he'll make.

October 4, 2007 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger dguzman said...

"Surprise!" Amazing.

I wonder if anyone will help them get those education benefits.

October 4, 2007 at 1:59 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Dguzman: Not a bit surprising, unfortunately. Both of Minnesota's senators are acting outraged by this and are promising to look into it. We'll see...

October 4, 2007 at 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can wonder is, what have we become that we can do this to our troops? This violates everything we've ever stood for, which pretty much sums up W's presidency, now that I think about it.

How long before we rise in our wrath and throw the bastards out?

October 4, 2007 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger PoliShifter said...

So sad.

What's worse, when all is said and done...*if* we ever leave Iraq and all our troops are home. The Repugs will be the first to bitch and complain and the cost of VA benefits as well.

We still aren't fully fuding the VA.

I know people who after 2 years are STILL under review for disability.

My friend's son joined the Army and got injured during training. Ripped up his shoulder. Nerves were shot. He was undeployable. His mom was glad but half his buddies were killed in Iraq a few months later.

Anyway, he spent 2 years on base doing nothing. He couldn't train, nothing. Waiting to be discharged. Waiting for the paperwork, the doctors, the paper pushers to decide how disabled he was and how much benefits he should get.

I understand that it's going to take a few months to fill out the paper work, get your case reviewed, etc. But 2 years?

They run it like an HMO in the sense that they are looking for any reason to disqualify you from your benefits.

First they simmply just try to discourage you figuring if you're not "really" desperate then you'll just go away. The desperate ones will hold on and be tenacious.

The only rationale can be to save money, that the VA doesn't have enough money to service all the vets, that Congress is saying "this is all the money you get" and the VA is telling their administrators to avoid putting out cash as much as possible.

It's sick and sad. Fire Blackwater. Fire all PMC's and give that money to the VA.

October 4, 2007 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: "What have we become" -- that's the question. This is Dumbya in a nutshell. It's definitely time to throw those bastards out.

PoliShifter: I've heard and read stories just like that about Iraqi soldiers. Shitty medical care, being left in limbo while the paperwork grinds on and on, etc. And on top of that, wounded soldiers are often ostracized and accused of malingering; they're just "pussies" who can't take it. (I think Gun Toting Liberal wrote about that a few months ago.)

It's really sick that the same people who dream up these wars won't take care of the soldiers who come home wounded or disabled. And yes we need to fire all those contractors and give the money to the VA.

October 4, 2007 at 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well they should've gotten their first clue when the administration tried to save money by cutting combat pay to everyone except those actually getting shot at. Never mind if you are still under threat of insurgents.

We really should have expected this. The Republicans have been chipping away at New Deal Programs for over 50 years including "gasp" the GI Bill


October 4, 2007 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Yeah, there have been clues like that all along. I have no idea why anyone enlists any more, no matter what the salary or bonus incentives. To Republicans, the GI Bill and other veterans' benefits are all just part of that creeping socialism that's been destroying America since the 1930s. They don't seem to grasp (or care) that chipping away at veterans' benefits kind of flies in the face of all their rhetoric about "supporting the troops."

October 4, 2007 at 11:08 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

I think that's the biggest shocker, that people would still enlist, knowing what's ahead of them. You could be the biggest right-wing apologist around, but once you've outlived your usefulness to this administration, they'll drop you a hot potato. Then they'll pour the boiling water on your head.

October 5, 2007 at 4:51 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: That's the Bush Administration. Once they don't need somebody any more, whether it's a soldier or a high-ranking cabinet member, that person is toast.

October 5, 2007 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

I'm ... speechless. Wait - no I'm not.

Goddamnit. Just goddamnit.

I want whoever did this - whoever at the Pentagon or wherever it was - who put pen to paper to authorize this - to be court-martialed. Of course, he wouldn't/couldn't have done it without a wink and a nod from higher up, but still, he should be publicly identified and at the very least demoted down to potato peeler.

You know that post you did the other day about the so-called Eagles attacking Carlos Arrendo(sp?) at the peach march? I wonder what those assholes would say to this new outrage by their heroic leaders.


October 5, 2007 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Candace: That's an interesting question, how the "Eagles" and flagwavers would react to the plight of soldiers and veterans. I don't remember ever seeing a rightwing blogger or columnist saying anything about this. They have nothing but hatred and venom for anyone who questions Iraqmire, but when it comes to soldiers and veterans getting screwed over -- nothing but silence. Go figure.

October 5, 2007 at 4:47 PM  

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