The Shortchanging Of Our Citizen-Soldiers

In April of 2005, Sgt. Joe Baumann and his California National Guard unit were deployed in Bagdad when an incoming AK-47 round ripped apart his abdomen.  While ricocheting around, the bullet also ignited tracer rounds that set the then 20 year old on fire.  Baumann now “…walks with a cane, suffers from back problems and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder that keeps him from sleeping and holding a job”, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times by Rone Tempest, he also has flashbacks, trouble with concentration and memory retention, and has anger-management problems, according to an article by Erin Allday in SFGate the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle.

There is no surprise around here that he has anger-management issues, anyone would who was transported from civilian life to the streets of Bagdad, two years after victory was declared, so he could be targeted by a sniper and suffer traumatic and debilitating injuries, and then return home and learn that the United States Army wants to kiss him off with a check for a pitiful $8,000.00, or in his words,

The Army acts like they just want you to get out the door as fast as possible at the lowest possible cost without taking into account how you are going to live for the rest of your life. Here’s your $8,000; just go.

An army Physical Evlauation Board rated his disability at only 20% and in their wisdom decided 8 grand would cover his troubles, both up to this point, and for the remainder of his life.  If the three officers of this board had ruled his disability at 30% or more, Baumann would be eligible for military retirement pay, family health care and PX and commissary privileges for life.  Apparently the army is stretched for money, just as many units were sent in to combat not properly equipped with armor, many of our citizen solders and career military are being shortchanged in terms of medical care and just compensation when they return stateside and try to return to a more or less normal life.

What is wrong with this picture?  The answer is simple: an Administration in Washington that does not use common sense or its conscience in making decisions, but which is driven solely by a political agenda, resulting in mismanagement in everything they have undertaken during the past six years.  Fat cats in Washington, D.C. drunk on power and responsive only to the big business interests who profit from the war and their domestic and international policies, fat cats who have exercised a pervasive strategy of undermining our rights and freedoms and pissing on the constitution, without putting any of their own skin in the game.

It is time for the Legislative branch of the government to find some backbone and hold the Administration accountable to the American people and take back the consitutionally guaranteed freedoms that have been systematically undermined by “loyalists”.  The subpoening of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers in the face of President Bush’s defiance is a start in the right direction, let’s hope that this is just the beginning of better things.

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6 Responses to The Shortchanging Of Our Citizen-Soldiers

  1. Stanley says:

    Bush and Cheney need our youth for their middle east cannon fodder. But after they have shot them out and the two war criminals they have no further use for them, or the cost of helping them put their shattered lives back together again, they are ignored at best and mistreated at worst.

  2. RTO Trainer says:

    What is wrong with this picture?

    What’s wrong is that the author has little knowledge of the Constitution or the workings of the US system.

    He pins blame on the Executive where the fault lies with Congress. Congress determines the budget for AMMED and VA. Congress makes the rules and regulations for the Army and Veteran’s Administration.

    If the money isn’t there, if the rules don’t work well, it’s not the fualt of those who are trying to make due with what they have, it’s the fualt of those who dole out the funds and make the rules, rules they can adjust at any sign of injustice or inequity.

  3. Big Fella says:

    The congress, both before and after the last national elections was willing to provide the funds, the Executive branch, which all reports to the president, has mismanaged the war, and overseen the mismanagement of the military medical system and the VA.

  4. RTO Trainer says:

    Uh. It doesn’t work like that.

    The Executive doesn’t get to send money back once allocated by Congress.

    If the Congress had apporpriated a sufficient sum, things would be quite different. Even better, had Congress members actually cared about conditions at AMMED and VA hospitals and such they’d have exercised some level of oversight.

    Instead, now that there’s a “crisis” (read; now that someone’s been caught in it), they are falling over themselves in a race to be seen as responsinve and caring. Which is better? Preventing the problems by being involved and infomred, or swooping in to fix it after the fact?

    It must be the latter, so much the better if they can point fingers at others for what is their own fault.

  5. Stanley says:

    Who only woke up to this whole mess and finally fired the administrators of Walter Reed after these incredibly embaressing stories were published in the newspaper?

    Who is responsible for running these organizations and answers up the chain of command to?

    It hasn’t been a lack of funding that caused these elected war criminals to completely overlook the fact that “their” appointed administartors were putting our wounded service men and women in rooms that had hot and cold running rats and mold for wallpaper. Or that these same incompetents were making it impossible for badly wounded vets to get the aftercare they needed. All of that falls directly under the purview of our “Commander in Chief of War Crimes”.

  6. Pingback: BFD Blog! » The Shafting Of Our Career Soldiers: Continues Unabated

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