This Should Come As No Surprise
by James Glaser
December 16, 2008

The Pentagon is continuing on with its practice of screwing the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who volunteer to protect our country to save money in their budget.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

In a little-noticed regulation change in March, the military's definition of combat-related disabilities was narrowed, costing some injured veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits - and triggering outrage from veterans' advocacy groups.

The Pentagon said the change was consistent with Congress' intent when it passed a "wounded warrior" law in January. Narrowing the combat-related definition was necessary to preserve the "special distinction for those who incur disabilities while participating in the risk of combat, in contrast with those injured otherwise," William J. Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense, wrote in a letter to the 1.3-million-member Disabled American Veterans.

So, it wasn't just the Pentagon that wanted to save money at the expense of our troops. It looks like Congress is ready to hurt them, too.

Here is the deal. The Pentagon is saying that service members who are injured in, let's say, a truck accident in Iraq, are not entitled to the same disability compassion as somebody injured in combat.

Pentagon officials argue that benefits should be greater for veterans wounded in combat than for "members with disabilities incurred in other situations (e.g., simulation of war, instrumentality of war, or participation in hazardous duties, not related to combat),"

Now if you are on the way to a fire fight and your Humvee is hit by a tank trying to get to the same place, and you lose a leg, and have serious brain injuries, you won't get the same amount of disability pay as someone whose truck was blown up by a land mine buried under the road and is hurt the same way. Same injury, different compensation.

This should surprise no one. People in the military are really second class citizens in America. Remember our military is "all-volunteer," and mostly made up of lower income Americans, minorities, and foreign born individuals looking for a way to get citizenship.

Rich people's children don't join up unless they are looking for a future in politics and think military service will help them. Others who want to fight and make money, join outfits like Black Water Security and become high paid mercenaries..

So, if the Pentagon and Congress what to cut down on what their wars cost us long term, they have to do something about the life-long disability they are paying to the tens of thousands who get life-long injuries. Remember, now with modern medicine on the battle field, more troops are saved than in other wars. That means higher costs in care for the troops saved, for the rest of their lives.

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