Friday, February 18, 2005


Your government doesn't:

Hundreds of Army Reserve and National Guard troops returning home after being wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone months without pay or medical benefits they were entitled to receive, military officials and government auditors said Thursday.

...Several wounded troops testified before the House panel Thursday. A Special Forces soldier who lost a leg to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan said he did not receive $5,000 in paychecks. Another veteran with knee and back injuries said he was forced to move in with his in-laws after missing paychecks totaling $3,886.

Allen, a 14-year Army veteran who serves with the National Guard's 20th Special Forces Group, has a brain injury and other injuries to his legs, back, neck and eyes resulting from a helicopter accident and a grenade blast.

But Allen said it wasn't until he returned home for extended treatment that his "real troubles began."

He had to reapply for coverage every 90 days and was at times denied pay, medical coverage and access to his military base.

After visiting his family in New Jersey for a week after his yearlong combat tour, his leave was cut short and he was ordered back to Ft. Bragg, N.C., because a commander could not find his paperwork.

When his wife went into premature labor in August 2003, she was turned away from a military hospital because his active-duty extension had not yet been approved, Allen said....

Army officials told the House hearing that they had resolved many of the problems cited in the GAO report related to benefit eligibility for part-time troops. Daniel B. Denning, acting assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, said the influx of wounded was "loading our system like it hasn't been loaded since World War II." ...

However, the GAO found that recent changes had not resolved underlying management control problems. In September and October, for example, the Army did not know how many soldiers were on medical extensions or how many had returned to active duty, the study said.

The Bushies started talking about the Iraq war at the beginning of 2001. The insurgency has been rampant for nearly two years. And the system still hasn't been rejiggered to deal with reality?

And yet conservatives still write, and buy, books like this and this. I got your "dereliction of duty" -- right here.

(Story also here.)

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