Sunday, May 25, 2008

Time for Our Government to Start Supporting the Troops

This Memorial Day weekend, remember our troops who are tirelessly fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 160 Michigan soldiers (here is a list of those who have died for our freedom from MI) have been lost in the War on Terror and the number of American casualties has climbed past 4,000. Yet, many members of our armed forces are frustrated with our government’s unwillingness to stick to its half of the deal. Some of our soldiers have been lied to by recruiters about the amount of money they would receive for college and the support they would receive as veterans of war. This government has had a hard enough time funding body armor and adequate health care facilities for our soldiers, yet, it routinely "misplaces" large sums of money appropriated for the war effort. Now the government refuses to pay the bill for having a well trained, standing army. Private employers are not allowed to get away with not paying the promised compensation to employees (see Fair Labor Standards Act), so why should the government? There is hope however. This week the United States Senate, in a rare show of bipartisanship, passed a funding bill for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan 70-26 that increases the benefits under the GI Bill for all soldiers who were active after 9/11. This support includes funding for college tuition. President Bush continues to threaten veto, but if these numbers continue in the House then Congress may be able to overturn. Surprisingly, JOHN MCCAIN DID NOT SUPPORT THIS BILL. The bill goes before the House next week. Let's make our voices heard and keep our Representatives responsible to our troops.

Additionally, our soldiers are being stop-lossed and forced into an extension of their active duty service. The president is granted this power under 10 U.S.C. § 12305(a), which states, “... the President may suspend any provision of law relating to promotion, retirement, or separation applicable to any member of the armed forces who the President determines is essential to the national security of the United States.” Soldiers are being told that their service will be over after a specific period of time; however, always remember to read the fine print. In the Armed Forces Enlistment Contract, paragraph 9(c) states that “In the event of war, my enlistment in the Armed Forces continues until six (6) months after the war ends, unless the enlistment is ended sooner by the President of the United States.” Not only are our soldiers not being payed as agreed, the government has used deceitful contractual language to extend the duration of contract. In the law of contracts, individuals only have to pay damages to the other party if they choose to breach the agreement. Unlike normal contracts, a soldier's breach of contract means court martial. If the government wants to enforce these contractual agreements then they should be bound to the same principles of private contract that our soldiers are bound to as well as all Americans. Let's do right by our fighting men and women. These people deserve our support and admiration, and I for one refuse to let my country shove these people off the side of the cliff like it did with the American Vietnam Vets. Let's remind our legislators of our soldiers on this Memorial Day.

- Keith

1 comment:

Outlaw Knits said...

yes...we must support crazy ass dan and his newfound marine-ness