Saturday, June 18, 2005

Penny Foolish, Pound Really Dumb 

There are times I wonder if we don't have the Bushco Regime figured all wrong. What are the odds that they're really closet Progressives, so dedicated to the cause of anti-imperialism that they've figured out that the only way to bring down the American military is to wreck it from within?

Because that's sure what they seem to be determined to do....

(via Greensboro NC News-Record)
Those bills continue to mount for both families, but they don't appear any closer to receiving the $1,500 to $1,700 that each says the government owes them than they were when Nathan Vosler and Bert Wray came home from Iraq in December with their outfit -- the 30th Enhanced Heavy Separate Brigade of the N.C. National Guard.

Vosler and Wray and hundreds of others members of the brigade have yet to receive thousands of dollars in expense and travel money owed them by the Department of Defense.

N.C. National Guard officials say that at least 400 troops are owed an average of $2,000 each, for a total of at least $800,000, but the numbers may be considerably higher.

...The GAO found in its study of eight selected Guard units (none from North Carolina) that "numerous" soldiers experienced "significant problems" due to delayed or unpaid travel reimbursements, "including debts on their personal credit cards, trouble paying their monthly bills and inability to make child support payments."

They were among more than 186,500 Army National Guard troops mobilized since Sept. 11, 2001.

The majority of the 30th EHSB shipped to Fort Bragg to train and await deployment to Iraq. About 1,200, however, including Vosler and Wray, were shipped to Fort Stewart, Ga., because there was not enough housing at Fort Bragg for the entire brigade.

Vosler, Wray and other members of the 30th EHSB spent almost five months at Fort Stewart waiting for their orders to Iraq. The facilities were terrible, they said. The Guard troops often had to eat MRE's, or military field rations, rather than prepared-from-scratch mess hall meals eaten by Regular Army troops, they said.

N.C. National Guard Sgt. Sidney Baker, who served with Vosler and Wray, said living conditions for the Guard at Fort Stewart were "extremely inadequate so far as sanitation and cleanliness were concerned."

"I've seen nicer conditions at shelter homes," he said. "The Guard is treated like the bastard child in the military." [snip]

The experience has left a bitter aftertaste regarding the military.

"There's no quicker way to destroy morale than to not pay a soldier," Bert Wray said. "A sergeant major was offering $15,000 to re-enlist. Not a chance."

Nathan Vosler has more than a year to go before his stint with the Guard is up, but he has no intention of extending. His opinion of the military has changed completely, he said. He just hopes he doesn't have to go back to Iraq before he gets out.
Reading this story I was irresistably reminded of an old poem, which Brautigan rather oddly called Shellfish:

Always spend a penny
as if you were spending a
and always spend a dollar
as if you were spending
a wounded eagle and always
spend a wounded eagle as if
you were spending the very
sky itself.

corrente SBL - New Location
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