Ask­ing vets to re­turn bonuses is out­ra­geous

Can you be­lieve the Pen­tagon is telling as many as 10,000 Cal­i­for­nia Na­tional Guard mem­bers that they have to give back sign­ing bonuses they got 10 years ago for re-en­list­ing dur­ing a war? No way. When Congress re­turns, it needs to drop the bick­er­ing du j

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OPINION -

An au­dit turned up some $22 mil­lion given out er­ro­neously as in­cen­tives dur­ing the re­cruit­ing frenzy a decade ago when it was clear the Iraq war wasn’t end­ing. The money was sup­posed to be used to re­tainNa­tional Guard mem­bers in cer­tain spe­cial­ties, but it was of­fered more widely, and the pa­per­work was doc­tored. A re­cruiter has been sen­tenced to 30 years in pri­son for this.

Tax dol­lars paid im­prop­erly should be re­cov­ered in most cases. But these peo­ple based life and death de­ci­sions on this money, of­ten around $15,000. It was a col­lege fund for a child, or the last stretch of sav­ings needed to buy a home. Hard to turn down, even at the risk of get­ting blown up in the desert.

The Pen­tagon can’t re­fund the time sol­diers spent in Iraq or Afghanistan be­cause of that bonus. Some came home phys­i­cally or emo­tion­ally scarred; some never came home. They held up their part of the bar­gain.

Cal­i­for­nia Sens. Bar­bara Boxer and Dianne Fe­in­stein are fight­ing for the vets. In the House, Demo­cratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Repub­li­can Ma­jor­ity Leader Kevin McCarthy are of like mind. Let’s do this. — San Jose Mer­cury News,

Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Com­men­tary >> Charles Krautham­mer

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Robert D’An­drea, a re­tired Army ma­jor and Iraq war vet­eran, holds a frame with a photo of his team on his first de­ploy­ment to Iraq in his home in Los Angeles. Nearly 10,000 Cal­i­for­nia Na­tional Guard sol­diers have been or­dered to re­pay huge en­list­ment bonuses a decade af­ter sign­ing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times re­ported Satur­day.

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