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November 25, 2008

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AAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKK!

Can anyone find a citation of the Law(s) and Rules & Regulations pertaining to just what is happening here? I'd like to take a look at both the law(s) and regs the Pentagon is using.

Also does anyone know if the person or persons responsible for these actions ever served in a combat zone?

Also does anyone know if the person or persons responsible for these actions ever served in a combat zone?

Balloon Juice looked into Carr's background, and he seems more like a desk jockey...

I don't know how to express my anger to this without saying things that would possibly put me on the Secret Service's radar. I guess I'll just echo Sebastian.

AAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKK!

Thbbbt!!!

Thanks for highlighting this hilzoy.

Minor quibble – Bill Carr has been a REMF at DoD forever, both in and out of uniform. He predates Clinton so I’m not sure characterizing this as “the Bush administration deciding to nickel-and-dime wounded veterans” is valid. That’s not to say that Carr made the decision all on his own, but he was certainly involved in it. I’m thinking that the problem here is more a REMF who’s worked in personnel his entire career than anyone higher up making this call to save a few bucks by screwing wounded troops.


I’m thinking that the problem here is more a REMF who’s worked in personnel his entire career than anyone higher up making this call to save a few bucks by screwing wounded troops.

OCSteve,

Point well taken, but you also have to factor in the budgetary climate in which this ruling is taking place. The Army is looking to pinch pennies anywhere it can because we chose to wage a war without increasing taxes to pay for it.

And that is the fault of the Bush admin.

Also, what Sebastian said.

it's also wrong to make disabled vets jump through hoops

For reasons that should be obvious.

Why should they pay for broken tools that can't be fixed when there are plenty of perfectly fine tools that can be wielded to advance their ends?

ThatLeftTurnInABQ: I can’t say for sure it wasn’t about all about cost, but I’m familiar with the breed. It’s the wording I twigged to: “"special distinction for those who incur disabilities while participating in the risk of combat, in contrast with those injured otherwise".

I suspect it’s one of those good intentioned ideas that sounds great to the REMF sitting in DC (for a couple of decades) that goes horribly wrong by the time it filters down through 20 layers of bureaucracy.

Keep in mind the intent of the “wounded warrior legislation”. For “injured combat veterans” it was meant to expand and speed up treatment, simplify the process to get disability pay, and all around just make it easier for injured vets.

But including language such as “injured combat veterans” is a veritable directive to the weenies in personnel. Their task then becomes first of all to be sure there is a clear category labeled “injured combat veterans” – and that means there must be other categories to distinguish “injured veterans” from “injured combat veterans”. Getting those boxes set up and properly labeled is job one.

And at a high level it doesn’t sound bad at all. I mean a lot of us could agree that the wounded veteran returning from the front line deserves some priority for services over the guy that trashed his knee playing basketball off duty.

But by the time you implement that (without clear guidelines of course) and it filters down the layers you get some idiot deciding that taking cover in a mortar attack is some lesser level of “combat”. It’s not meant to be malicious; it just naturally works out that way. And Personnel has a special knack for it. Now that it is getting some attention I’ll bet you see corrections to the policy very soon – as in “That’s not what we meant you idjits!”


It’s how you get decisions like this:

"We are a professional Army and professional units don't conceal their identity by wearing masks," Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a spokesman for the U.S. military, wrote in an e-mail. He expressed appreciation for the service and sacrifice of the interpreters but said those dissatisfied with the new policy "can seek alternative employment."

Total suckitude. AFAIAC, if you're in the military and are sent to a combat zone, whether you are in a support position or not, you are in combat. Dudes, if they're being shot at, it's combat! The karma these folks are building up, it's amazing. Also, what OCSteve said. He's calmer than I am today.

***WHAT??!!!???***

as if any proof were needed of the mendacity of the gop in general and the bushies in particular.

somebody really rich (george soros??) needs to put this into full-page ads in every daily newspaper - the remaining ones - and especially rupert's papers!!

OCSteve said... I suspect it’s one of those good intentioned ideas that sounds great to the REMF sitting in DC (for a couple of decades) that goes horribly wrong by the time it filters down through 20 layers of bureaucracy.

Sorry, but with the track record that this administration has in screwing over our troops, I don't believe this was an accident. After the lack of body armor, after Walter Reed, after multiple reports of the military making wounded troops pay more and more costs, the best you could say is that it the administration had willful ignorance to the plight of injured vets.

Would it really be that hard to have somebody in charge of looking at policy changes that impact our wounded? Not if you gave a s**t about them.

Is this the same federal government that you folks want to put in charge of everyones healthcare?

LFC: The administration doesn’t get a pass, for sure. But none ever should. Pick a war, any war, and check out how veterans were treated. There’s just nothing new here. But there is blame to go around and not all of can fall on Bush anymore. That changed 2 years ago, and it changes completely in 2 months. I really hate to defend this administration on anything anymore, but they don’t get all the blame here.

Look, I think HR1538 was a good bill, with good intentions. I applaud Skelton and Levin for getting it passed. Bush signed it – he did not veto it, and that’s about the last place in this process you could put the blame on him. But when you move from bill to “personnel action” in the military stuff happens. And I agree with you that there should have been some follow up beyond just passing the bill. That’s what the Senate Armed Services Committee (Levin, and if McCain was going to take a day off the campaign trail it could have been for that) and the House Armed Services Committee (Skelton, Hunter) exists for. Among their responsibilities:

Pay, promotion, retirement, and other benefits and privileges of members of the armed services.

Filner is chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Here is his list of all the great stuff “this Democratic Congress” achieved this year for veterans. Akaka has the Senate side of that.

It’s these committees, chaired by Democrats, that have the power to call DoD on the carpet for stuff like this. I hope that they do.

No, this is George W. Bush's federal government.

"Is this the same federal government that you folks want to put in charge of everyones healthcare?"

There is that - even with Nate's caveat - but consider two things:

As OCSteve points out, there's at least the hope that public pressure (and democratic processes) can fix this specific screw-up (and -over); not something you have even that much hope for with commercial healthcare; and

With all its limitations, screwups, etc. imagine how vets would be doing without the VA?

Bush signed it – he did not veto it, and that’s about the last place in this process you could put the blame on him. But when you move from bill to “personnel action” in the military stuff happens.

He's the Chief Executive of the federal government and Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces, right? I'd say that when you move from legislation to actual policy the stuff that happens is entirely his responsibility. Does the buck stop anywhere?

He's the Chief Executive of the federal government and Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces, right?

OK, too broad on my part. As CiC, certainly he could do something, by executive order if nothing else. I’m really not comfortable to be in the position of defending him anyway.

So I’ll just go back to intent – I don’t believe this situation came about due to bad intent on anyone’s part: not Skelton and Levin for originating it, not Congress for passing it with broad (unanimous?) support, not the 4 separate Democrat controlled committees that oversee the health and welfare of troops and veterans – and not Bush personally or “the Bush administration” generally.

It’s just the “road to hell” principle as applied by Personnel at the DoD.

And because I don’t believe there was any bad intent I believe that it will be quickly resolved now that it’s becoming public.

I say this as someone who cares very much about these things. I’ve just also been on the receiving end of DoD “personnel actions” that make no sense whatsoever to anyone in the real world…

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