Say you do your tour in Iraq, and you are lucky enough not to come back injured and have to face the still broken VA's hospital system stateside. Say you also come back with all your marbles intact after seeing the hell on earth that is war. Say you even have plans to get a better education when you get home, to make more of yourself after you have given everything of yourself to your country. Well, guess what, you are still screwed.
In yet another brilliant move in assholery, National Guard troops are being denied benefits after the longest deployment of any ground combat unit in the Iraq War. This unit, the 2,600 member strong Minnesota National Guard (Is it me, or is the GOP really trying to piss off their convention state?), was in Iraq for 22 months after being kept there for President Bush's surge.
But when they got home, they had a special kiss of fuck-offedness from the Bush Administration and the Army. The troops are now being denied their GI Bills for furthering their education. See, their orders were written for 729 days, had their orders been written for 730 days, just one more day, they would have qualified.
National Guard Troops Denied Benefits After Longest Deployment Of Iraq War
by Rhonda Erskine
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (NBC) -- When they came home from Iraq, 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard had been deployed longer than any other ground combat unit. The tour lasted 22 months and had been extended as part of President Bush's surge.
1st Lt. Jon Anderson said he never expected to come home to this: A government refusing to pay education benefits he says he should have earned under the GI bill.
"It's pretty much a slap in the face," Anderson said. "I think it was a scheme to save money, personally. I think it was a leadership failure by the senior Washington leadership... once again failing the soldiers."
Anderson's orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days. Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school.
Both Hobot and Anderson believe the Pentagon deliberately wrote orders for 729 days instead of 730. Now, six of Minnesota's members of the House of Representatives have asked the Secretary of the Army to look into it -- So have Senators Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman.
And they wonder why recruitment is down.
Not only should this be fixed and full GI Bils granted to all members of the Minnesota National Guard, but the performed prince who deliberated wrote the orders to deny them their benefits should be tarred and feathered in public. Or demoted to buck private, and placed in the line of fire in Iraq far from their bureaucratic desk, far from where any real danger can come to them.
Maybe then they, and the rest of the leadership of the armed forces, will finally understand the bullshit they are putting the troops through, troops who are dying for this country.
Grant GI Bills to these heroes now. Not after a lengthy public relations investigation. Not after a lot of showboating about how much one party loves the troops more than the other. Not after using it as a campaign ploy.
Grant GI Bills to these heroes now.