by John Hawkins | November 7, 2005 9:17 am
This sounds more like a bureaucratic snafu than the Department of Defense acting in bad faith, but the results are the same:
“Department of Defense decision to renege on war-time promises to pay bonuses to more than a dozen re-enlisting Washington National Guardsmen has sparked outrage from prominent elected officials and state National Guard officers working to rectify the situation.
According to a state Guard spokesman, Maj. Phil Osterli, at least 15 Washington National Guardsmen and women signed re-enlistment forms promising them a tax-free $15,000 bonus in return. Many of them were stationed in Iraq at the time, he said.
But Pentagon officials have said in published reports that the bonuses were canceled because they duplicated other programs and were prohibited.
…The state Guard is fighting the Pentagon’s sudden reversal on the issue. Osterli said the state Guard’s recruiting and retention commander, Maj. John Sharrett, is in Washington, D.C., arguing to National Guard and Pentagon brass that the reversal is unwise and unfair.
“We’re clearly concerned about this issue and want to make sure these soldiers get what they deserve,” said Osterli.”
The military can’t promise bonuses and then renege on the deal. That would be unacceptable under any circumstances. But for the Pentagon to do this to soldiers who have risked their lives serving in Iraq is particularly outrageous.
Someone at the Pentagon needs to yank their head from their posterior and get this taken care of ASAP. These soldiers deserve better than what they’ve gotten so far and certainly, the Pentagon knows that. So, it doesn’t matter what paperwork has to be done or if some penny ante rule has to be bent, just take care of business and get these soldiers the bonuses they were promised. That’s the right thing to do.
*** Update #1 ***: The second from the last paragraph was edited for clarity’s sake.
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