Combat Soldiers Being Billed for War-Damaged Equipment
When Bush and Cheney said they were going to run the govt like a business, they apparently included ripping off their consumers and employees in their prescription. What with Halliburton, KBR, Blackstone, Custer Battles, et al, up to their ears in fraud, theft, and over-charging for everything, it should perhaps come as no surprise that the Cheney-inspired, Bush-built military is now actually – I feel I have to assure you I’m not making this up – billing combat soldiers who served in Iraq for lost or damaged equipment. From CBS-TV in New York:
A 2006 government report found more than 1,000 soldiers being billed a total of $1.5 million. And while fighting overseas put their lives on the line, this battle on paper could cost them their future by ruining their credit. Rodriguez will be reported to credit agencies next month.
“It makes a terrible point about the nature of military service today,” citizen soldier Tod Ensign said.
Ensign is a veteran’s advocate. He says this is all part of the military’s push to be run more like a business.
“They’ll just pound him and call him, call his employers, and make his life as miserable as they can until he pays up,” Ensign said.
Testimony before Congress detailed in a report found that “although unit commanders and finance offices are authorized to write off debts for lost and damaged equipment … they have not always done so.”
“It happens too often and it’s just disgraceful,” Sen. Charles Schumer said. “Here are people who are risking their lives for us and they come home and they’re being treated as if they’re criminals instead of heroes.”
And because they’re the military rather than an actual business, which could never get away with it, they don’t even bother to tell the soldiers they’re billing what the equipment is that they’re supposed to pay for, much less explain how it’s connected to them.
The Rodriquez mention in the above quote is combat engineer Brian Rodriquez, whose job was finding and defusing land mines and IEDs. The Army has been sending him bills for $700 all summer.
Although he was discharged some four years ago, bills recently arrived demanding payment, but giving no details on what or why — nor do they offer a way to dispute the charges.
“For doing my job you’re going to bill me?” Rodriguez said.
(all emphasis added)
Yeah. War is a business, pal. Troops that don’t pay with their lives or limbs have to pay some other way. Get used to it. This is govt-as-business, it’s what we said we wanted. Well, we got it. Like it?
What, you think corporations pay their own expenses? Hell, no. Corporate tradition: Pass It On. Customer pays, and if the customers won’t, the employees do. That’s life in Bush America. Hope you enjoy it.
(Via Crooks and Liars)