This is ... difficult to contemplate:
On Saturday, a U.S. Marine was killed in Helmand province. On Sunday, four troops were killed by an IED in southern Afghanistan. Until the shutdown ends, none of their families can expect to receive the “death gratuity” of $100,000 promised to immediately reach them within 24 to 36 hours. Grieving families also cannot expect the military to cover all the usual costs of family travel to meet their loved ones returning home for burial in American flag-draped coffins through Dover Air Force Base. And if the shutdown continues into November, monthly survivor benefits are in jeopardy because the Department of Veterans Affairs has warned it will be out of cash to pay them.The money will be there eventually, but in the early days of shock and grief, these families will have to worry about how to get by with a paycheck that's ended abruptly, funeral expenses, and now, thanks to House Speaker John Boehner refusing to hold a vote on a clean continuing resolution, a government shutdown that looks likely to stretch on. There are so many cruelties to the shutdown; sending people to be killed and then leaving their survivors struggling to get by is a terrible one.