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Is THIS What They Mean By Supporting The Troops? 
26th-Jul-2007 08:48 pm
Army's 'Debt Of Service' Leaves Vets Perplexed
Unbelievably, Soldiers Must Pay For Damaged Equipment

Servicemen and women who made huge sacrifices fighting in the war and now paying yet another price, even after coming home.

One soldier in particular is currently battling against a new “debt of service.”

Brian Rodriguez is a fighter, an honorably discharged soldier who’d been deployed in Iraq.

“I was a combat engineer,” Rodriguez said. “We deal with land mines, explosives.”

He fought for his nation, only to return to his homeland and wage a fresh battle.

Former Army Specialist Rodriguez started getting bills for $700 for lost or damaged government property this summer. Although he was discharged some four years ago, bills recently arrived demanding payment, but giving no details on what or why — nor do they offer a way to dispute the charges.

“For doing my job you’re going to bill me?” Rodriguez said.

Source: http://wcbstv.com/seenat11/local_story_204222600.html
27th-Jul-2007 05:15 am (UTC)
Even if this is Standard Operating Procedure for the military, it is un-freaking-believable.

Every time I read about the Pentagon nickel-and-diming it on issues like pay for "in-theater" personnel or proper medical care for returning vets, and then see the HUGE amount of profiteering done by companies like Halliburton and its former subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root and other contracting firms that have been sucking America dry through this military disaster, it just makes my blood boil.

I wish it did the same to the rest of the American citizenry.
27th-Jul-2007 01:19 pm (UTC)
Even if this is Standard Operating Procedure for the military, it is un-freaking-believable.

Sadly, it's not at all un-freaking-believable. There's a long and established tradition, spanning decades, of the US government fucking over those who serve, before, during, and after. Why should the latest item, whatever it happens to be, come as any surprise to anybody?
28th-Jul-2007 01:13 am (UTC)
This story doesn't actually say what the equipment he's being billed for is or the circumstances, to key pieces of information. In the case (I've never heard this before) of families being billed for destroyed body armour, okay, that's ridiculous. However, if this guy, not in the course of combat or some other extenuating circumstances, simple lost kit for which he's accountable, then why the surprise? You sign for it, you're liable for it. I had the horror of discovering recently during a training exercise that a very expensive radio for which I signed had "disappeared". It was found in due course by the individual I had given it to for a patrol operation, but not before I had agonized over what it was worth and been hammered on by various individuals for "not keeping a grip on my kit". Removing the context here to fuel outrage doesn't strike me as being too justified.
28th-Jul-2007 07:38 am (UTC)
“For doing my job you’re going to bill me?” Rodriguez said.

I tend to think he was doing George W. Bush's job. He should forward the bill to him.
30th-Jul-2007 08:46 am (UTC)
The same armed forces that force mothers to buy their sons kevlar vests because they're too cheap to provide them.

The same armed forces that trick shell-shocked veterans into signing declarations that they had problems before they enlisted, so they can be denied medical coverage for pre-existing conditions - saving the VA millions of dollars.

And this surprises you?

There are credit reporting laws. If the government dares submit these debts to a credit bureau, the victims should get lawyers and demand proof of the debts, or else they can charge the agencies involved with credit fraud (or whatever this particular abuse happens to be called).
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