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On the Periphery of Policy: Response to An American Betrayal

by gene hudgens  
11/22/2007 / World Affairs

America is the most wonderful nation in the world and deserves never to be discredited. Our military personnel, veterans, and retirees are among the most wonderful productive and patriotic citizens in America and deserve full credit for all the benefits they've been promised by our government.

The men and women in the U. S. military dedicate their lives to protecting the United States and its interests and all Americans should be grateful for the peace and freedom we all enjoy as a result of the tremendous past and present sacrifices of military service members.

America is the golden example of freedom and all Americans live in freedom today primarily because they are protected by their American military. Our patriotic, God fearing, military has always done its duty and protected America since the birth of our nation. The members of our military have never let the American public down. However, the policies denying veterans their promised benefits, including life-long healthcare, are now letting the American military and its veterans down.

It seems that many Americans feel that their military is treated all too well. This sad and dangerous observation has been, and is presently, encouraged by unpatriotic,destructive elements of our American society.

The American media can carry the first-place winner's trophy for failing to do an honorable job of keeping the American public educated and informed with true, honest, and professional reporting pertaining to its military. The media has proved more than once that it has the ability and power to convince or brain wash the American public on any issue. In fact, psychological studies, such as Bandera (1974) have shown that individuals model attitudes and actions based on what they observe via media. A classic anonymous quote holds the essence of this fact: "Do not fer the enemy, for they can take only your life. Fear the media for more."

But let us not forget the following four paragraphs written by Charles Province---

"It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who have given us freedom to demonstrate

It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us a right to a free trial

It is the soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves under the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

General Vo Nguyen Giap, leader of the North Vietnam military, wrote in his book, "How We Won The War", that the Communist's would have lost the war in Vietnam had it not been for the U. S. media's coverage of John Kerry's anti-war movement, Jane Fonda, and the other unpatriotic demonstrators that jumped around on the streets of America like monkeys.

General Giap explains he did not have the ability to militarily defeat 500,000 troops, but that this was not his aim. His intention was to break the will of the American Government to continue the warin which he succeeded with the assistance of the American Press. He explains that the Communists in Hanoi watched nightly American media sensationalism of Kerry's actions and Jane Fonda's praise of communism and that this media's coverage gave hope and courage to America's enemies.

The communists were elated that the American media was facilitating them. The media and the media coverage of Jane Fonda were causing more disruption in America than Giap's military could ever have achieved in the battlefield.

In the name of NATIONAL SECURITY, its time our media matures and realizes it has a responsibility to repair and reinforce every cracked stone in the foundation of our national security.

The Press certainly has not given the American public an honest full-coverage of all of the important issues pertaining to our American's military. Why is this? Is it because their first obligation is to the wealthy and the politicians? Is it because they feel that the average American is uniformed and will forever continue to accept what ever is printed? Is it because in the past the Press has been able to get away with half-truths and dishonesty?

Perhaps most Americans don't stop to think that every single thing we enjoy today would not be available if our military failed us. Perhaps the wealthy and the politicians don't realize that they likely would not enjoy theirlife styles if Russia or
China was running the show, which they still desire to this day.

Veterans and current service men and women have endured the rigors of basic training, endure the risks of combat, endure the possibility of becoming a POW, and endure the fear of death. No other occupation in America expects thisand no American in any social sector should ever forget this.

Things can change. Unwanted changes can occur when selfish, unrealistic, and uninformed, non-military veterans are allowed to continue to make unwise decisions pertaining to our American military. This currently is happening and the American public needs to wake up quickly.

The cost of our American military is the number two subject in Washington. The number one subject seems to be that wars can make politicians rich and many millionaires richer. Both are facts. Money and contacts makes money and maintaining a military is always expensive.

There are, however, other facts that too many people seldom talk about. The U.S. Armed Forces is the only occupation or profession in America that demands that all of its employees sign a contract agreeing to give their life for their country, to accept the possibility of loss of limbs, eyes, and permanent disability in the line of duty, and to endure hardships and separation from family. No other profession or occupation demands this. Police and firemen are expected to face dangers in their employment, but they can quit or refuse at any momentand only lose their jobs. A military person can go to prison for refusing to follow orders.

For these reasons the U. S. Armed Forces should be one of the highest paid professions in America, but instead many members endure a food stamp salary. Yes, the military pay is too little and unjust because the American public allows this to exist. Why?

The answer is because, unfortunately, but obviously, the general public is basically not interested in its military in the first place (unless they have an immediate fear of something) and secondly they seem to be ill advised or irresponsibly informed with the true facts pertaining to the pay and income of their military. This is a major area where the American Press has failed the general public and their military personnel.

The American public is not dumb, but it needs to be given all of the facts and adequate exact information so that an intelligent decision can be made. Congress and the Press must insure that the average citizen clearly understands that none of us can expect the U.S. military (which is about 1% of the U.S. population) to do all of the sacrificing under the banner of Patriotism only. Patriotism is wonderful, but it does not pay the medical bills, death compensation to their families, injury rehabilitation costs, retirement benefits and other expenses.

This 1% is justified in expecting the other 99% of Americans (that do not sacrifice their limbs and lives for America) to willingly pay any amount of money that is necessary to adequately cover all medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, and to keep our government's promise to all veterans that served twenty plus years of military service.

Those that are considering joining America's all volunteer military are carefully watching to see if the other 99% are willing to do their share now and in the future. They are all aware of U.S. government's foot-dragging and reneging on the promises to the present retirees. The only way to encourage this needed 1% to volunteer for American's all volunteer military is to convince them that the government and the other 99% understands the situation and is willing to pay all bills due. It will not happen if the young people feel that their country does not take care of its veterans and retirees. They can clearly see that if America is unwilling to adequately care for retirees now, then America will mistreat them too when they retire.

Wealthy Americans and politicians certainly do not want to personally be in the active military. This is far below their life style and why should they ever find themselves "in harms way" when the one percent of real patroits do the slave jobs for them. These affluent individuals are certainly not the 'general' public. They understand that their house maids likely have a better income than most military personnel.

Patriotism is not dead, but with only one percent of the American population volunteering for the armed services, it needs to be revived.

Salaries of active duty military personnel are only one expense of having an American military. Retirement pay for those who remain in the military as a career is a justified expense, as is compensation to a wife when her husband dies in defense of our country. Disability compensations for the many that are disabled during their military service are also justified expenses.

The poorly orchestrated war in Iraq has resulted in many terrible injuries and permanent disabilities that will cost the American government (tax payers) billions of dollars in the near future. It's estimated that 16,000 military personnel have suffered terrible physical and emotional disabilities that will require very long rehabilitation.

Twenty percent of this 16,000 have serious brain or spinal injuries that will require life-long rehabilitation and care. This life-long care can cost over a million dollars per person. The numbers are expected to double by 2020. These rehabilitation expenses are and will be bills due and must be paidwithout excuses or delays. These heroes are part of the 1% that actively practices patriotism as they do all of the dirty work for the other 99% of Americans.

Every single American citizen and member of our government should be caring and sensitive to all immediate and long term needs of these disabled military heroes. Everyone should be trying to insure that every injured and disabled military person (active duty, veteran, and retiree) is offered the best medical and rehabilitation treatment available in Americaregardless of the cost. Certainly the 99% of the American population that does nothing for the security of America can at least pay the medical bills of the 1% that endure all of the dangers protecting them regardless of the cost.

Today many seriously injured military persons are returning from Iraq and are unable to receive immediate adequate medical care. There is no excuse for this travesty.

Instead of urgently caring for our injured American military personnel, too many government officials are looking for excuses to cut benefits, citing their option that care is just too expensive. Some try to cloud the issue by saying that the cost of caring for retirees threatens American security because this money is needed to buy more airplanes and pay the bills for our active military. These are very dangerous uninformed individuals.

A peace-time military is expensive and a war-time military is even more expensive. Believe it or notthis is the way it is in life.

One politician proposed a ridiculous bill that would give every injured military person a $50,000--80,000 one time lump sum payment. This would be the total U.S. government obligation to the injured military person. This self-serving politician, as all others, must know that many Iraq war injuries will require medical treatment and rehabilitation that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps over a million dollars during the life time of the injured military person.

Rep. Steve Buyer wanted the Veteran Disability Benefits Commission to consider offering lump-sum payments to veterans with current disability ratings of 20% or less. These "cash now" settlements would have denyed veterans the right to pursuer any compensation claims in the future. We need to remain vigilant in order to protect the benefits our current and retired service members still have, and we need to regain those we've lost.

These politicians are well aware that many persons in our all volunteer military are often from the poorer income and less educated sector of our society. These politicians know well that these persons might over react and see only the immediate dollar signs and grab the money and runwith out realizing the long term suffering they will endure because of their foolish decision.

It is criminal and it is a sin for any person, especially national leaders to ever take advantage of a wounded military person.

One scary thing about this big picture (not wanting to adequately care for our military members and veterans) is that"a straw can break the camel's back". The young men and women in America may just get enough of this hostile nonsense political bull, and stop volunteering for the military. Is it possible that the high unemployment and poor job opportunities are to some extent political gimmicks to encourage young people to join the military?

Do all Americans realize that there are approximately 3,000,000 members of the U.S. Armed Forces and that this equates to about one percent of the U.S. population? Does every American realize that only about one percent of all Americans are engaged in protecting America and protecting all of the other 99% of Americans?

Has the Press insured that all Americans clearly understand this situation? Has the Press emphasized that 99% of the American population does absolutely nothing for the security of America? The answer is no.

The one percent makes the greatest sacrifices to insure that the other 99% have a safe, secure and good life in a free society. Yet often these 99 percent look for excuses to mistreat their slaves.

How can politicians and other government leaders be so unsophisticated as to continually scream that the monetary cost (related to caring for the medical needs of veterans and retirees who suffer from disabilities related to prior military service) is adversely affecting the national defense? A person must be "brain dead" to even entertain such a thought.

Unfortunately many government leaders are willing to do the right thing and use America's military to make the world a safer place to live, but these same government leaders are quicker to say "NO" to adequately caring for the military members it sends to accomplish the missions.

How can the leaders of our government act so quickly to put this 1% of the American population in harms-way, then quickly state their unwillingness to pay for all of the bills for the suffering and disabilities that this 1% endures?

One answer is that presently we have an all volunteer military and there is no Draft to insure that citizens from every sector of our society do their fair share to protect America. Few, if any, family members of the wealthy and politicians are in the military and 'in harms- way'.

Patriotism is great and still alive, but it never pays the bills. Many men and women volunteering for the military will be sent into combat and many will be killed or injured. The injured and the families of those killed want their nation to pay ALL incurred medical, rehabilitation, and pension related expenses from day-one until death. We all feel that the 99% that is never in harms-way or involved in America's military service OWES this to every person that serves in the volunteer military. These are expected, logical and fair bills that must be paid by the American government (tax payers) (the 99% that do nothing dangerous to protect America).

If America reinstates the draft, then all familiesincluding families of the wealthy and politicians will be subjected to possible worry, anguish, and sadness when a family member suffers disabilities or death in the military while protecting America. Until then it's easy for politicians and members of the Press to be care free and unconcerned about individual suffering and expenses, because they are not affected and do not personally relate.

Bringing back the Draft is not necessary if Congress and government leaders wake up and realize that any military (including our all volunteer military) is very expensiveAND if the media educates the American public (tax payers) that they have a choice of paying the necessary bills to entice men and women to volunteer OR reinstate the Draft.

Conscription would reverse what many feel is the most important transformation of U.S. forces since the Vietnam War. However, neither the American public nor the politicians can have the cake and eat it too.

If the DRAFT is reinstated we will see a very different attitude in Washington concerning adequate medical care and disability compensation for veterans and retirees. Only then will the politicians will be able to relate.

Presently the cost of the U.S. Armed Forces is about 3.7% of the U.S. GDP (Gross Domestic Product). During WWII the American people and the politicians found the war costing about 38% of the GNP; yet America survived.

The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness reports directly to the Secretary of Defense and indirectly to the President. He can give them the best logical advice pertaining to recruitment, pay and benefits, and career development of the active military, care of veterans and retirees, the Guard and Reserve, and the DOD civilians. However, he is jeopardizing national security by not insuring that his bosses clearly understand the present problems and dangers pertaining to the urgent needs of veterans and retirees

One might consider that since he reports only to the President and the Secretary of Defense and since they don't appear to publicly disagree with him, perhaps this position is just a political "mouth piece' for themor perhaps they have low respect for veterans and retirees. Let's hope not.

After reading an article by Thomas D. Segel I feel I must ask how any qualified government leader can make statements like, "Benefits that apply mainly to retirees and their families are making it harder for the Pentagon to afford financial incentives for today's military" or "Congress has gone too far in expanding military retiree benefits."

Why do caring government leaders entertain statements like: "They (referring to retirees) are starting to crowd out two things: First, our ability to reward the person who is bearing the burden right now in Iraq or Afghanistan. Second, they are undercutting our ability to finance the new GEAR that is going to make that military person successful five, ten, 15 years from now."

Government leaders must show respect for the military (active and veterans) and ensure everything stated regarding the issues of present cost and future cost of the overall military is a fact. No one can question this. Government leaders must make it so "child" simple that every citizen understands that there is a difference in buying airplanes or caring for humans (the military members; active and retired).

Congress must stop allowing funding for personnel welfare issues to be tied in any way to military "gear and supplies issues". For years Congress has purposely succeeded in confusing the general public, as well as trhemselves pertaining to these funding issues. Any logical layman can see that both pertain to DOD, but are two distinctly different areas and should be funded and discussed independently.

First, Congress needs to revamp all DOD funding Two DOD areas in particuliarneed to be clearly identify regarding funding. These areas are:

(1) Funding for items or issues pertaining to personnel. This includes salary, pensions, medical expenses, and all other "personnel" expenses.

(2) Funding to modernize aging ships, tanks, and planes, repair jet engines, move combat units and supplies, training, equipment modernization and upkeep, installation upkeep, uniforms, feeding the troops, etc.

The costs related to maintaining a military rises sharply each year. The Press needs to be freed from political pressure and allowed to tell the American people the facts"just the facts, Watson".

In 1954, for example, military personnel were so inadequately paid that we existed instead of living. Our salary was inexcusably inadequate, and I have often sincerely asked myself why I ever even considered making a career in the military. I was in the Army for a year when a high school friend wrote me asking how I could ever be so stupid, to have joined the military and chosen a career in which I would not make enough money to have a decent living. He pointed out that he was full time in college and had found a part time job operating an elevator in an office building from 6 p. m. until midnight and got paid twice as much as I was making in the military.

I tried to explain to him that my company commander had recently explained to me that the military paid me less monthly cash, but that I was building-up an annuity now and when I retired I would receive FREE medical coverage for life. He emphasized that the free medical care later would easily make up for the less cash now.

When I retired I was shocked to learn that many members of Congress lied, and denied that any FREE medical care was ever guaranteed. One Congressman even asked me if I had a signed contract from the Government. I explained that when I was asked to risk my life there was no written contractjust an order from a commander. The President of the U.S. is the Commander in Chief of the military and as such is in the chain of command. It's impossible that a President or members of Congress would not have been briefed by Generals pertaining to this issue over the years.

Members of Congress are at one time or another briefed on everything including reenlistment goals. It was common knowledge that without the incentives of Free Medical Care for Life and the G.I. Bill, the reenlistment goals would not have been met. Since 1960, recruiters have made this clear to the media, military generals and government leaders. Members of Congress that deny this either have a very poor memor,or are simply lying.

It's common knowledge that retired civilian government employees receive much better medical coverage than military retirees. Most people don't understand that military personnel and their families are often expected to accept much less than other employed people in our society.

When a military person is killed in action while protecting America, his/her family will receive a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable. Next they will receive $1,700 for burial costs. A surviving spouse may receive a monthly check between $800 and $2,000 until remarrying. And there is a check of $211 for each child under eighteen years of age.

Those that died in the September 11 attack just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unlike military members in combat, these individuals were not in harms way protecting America in any way. They were employed there earning nice salaries for their life styles in a free societythanks to the American military. However, each of their families will receive between $250,000 to $4.7 million in compensation. This is a weird mentality, is unfair, and a real slap in the face to every military member that risked her life so that these individuals can receive such an outrageous amount of money.

Is every American citizen fully aware of this sad situation? How can well informed tax payers stomach an attitude that their government feels it right to pay civilian victims of an act of war more than they pay their military members for giving their life to protect America. These civilian victims were not doing anything to protect America. They were only sitting in offices and drawing a salary. Where is the logic? Where is the fairness?

Overall civilian federal employees are certainly treated much better than military employees. Military people that retire after 20 years may draw between $1,000 and $6,000 a month retirement. Their civilian friends may receive $15,000 a month.

Members of Congress and the senior department heads do unbelievably well. Like all workers they pay 6.2% of the first $90,000 of their earnings, which is the social security maximum. However we must not forget that most of these high-rollers have very handsome annual salaries of over $160,000. So they don't pay any social security on perhaps $70,000 each year. In addition they pay into and are covered by one of two pension systems depending upon which they choose. Figures show that most receive at least $40,000 additional annual annuity here.

The National Taxpayers Union states that these federal employees receive pension benefits that are two to three times more generous than those offered in the private sector for persons with similar salaries. They pay in about 20% towards their retirement and the taxpayers cover the other 80%.

These people are not expected to or required to sacrifice, suffer, or be in harms-way as military personnel areand still they want to deny the military protectors of their life style even a decent living.

I feel certain none of these executives (many of which are likely millionaires) will turn down the wonderful lucrative federal pension and medical benefits they will receive when they retire from civilian federal service. The attitude of many towards military retirees appears to be extremely hypocritical.

Everyone should understand that our national security depends on a strong military, which depends on sufficient personnel in the military. With our present all volunteer military this depends on young people being willing to enter the military.

In his 15 Feb, 2005 article, "Veterans Find Some Things to 'Chu' ", Thomas D. Segel quotes General George Washington: "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their Nation."

One major reason our military experiences problems obtaining and retaining sufficient personnel in our present all volunteer military today is that the young people coming into the military or who are thinking about entering the military are also realizing that our government does not keep promises made to its military members and retirees. They realize that today's veterans were promised FREE medical coverage FOR LIFE after completing 20 or more honorable years of ACTIVE service. They know well that our government reneged on this promise and they feel that any present and future promises made to them will be reneged also.

Even today veterans (many who are too old to expect to draw many months or years of medical coverage) continue to fight to get the free medical care for life that we were definitely promised. Enjoy the following message sent 20 Sep 07.

----- Original Message -----
From: Holis Stanford
To: Col Alrad
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2007 3:36 PM
Subject: AMEN...I second the Motion made by Jim Ret.

Hollis Stanford
CWO US Army, Retired
100% Disabled

How about a follow up on this article pointing out how the greatest generation was swindled out of their earned and promised health care for life. When the Department of Deceit (sic) reneged on the deal, a Medal of Honor recipient sued the government. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said they served their country for at least 20 years with the understanding that when they retired they and their dependents would receive full free health care for life The promise such health care was made in good faith and relied upon. Again, however, because NO AUTHORITY EXISTED to make such promises in the first place, and because Congress has never ratified or acquiesced to this promise, we have no alternative but to uphold the judgment against the retiree's breach-of-contract claim" In essence, the retirees were written off and relegated to the trash heap of history.
We now support the wounded and maimed from current conflicts. Based upon the past history, what will happen to these warriors when the balloon goes up on a new conflict? Will they too be shunted aside and forgotten.
Currently, HR 1222 and HR 1223 have been authored to relieve some of the past misdeeds for the "greatest generation" but lacks support of co-sponsors to get them moving. One of the reasons, no support from the media or civilian community.
Ken will you help your comrades?
Jim Ret
US Army, Retired
Viet Nam Vet

James T. North has often brought issues to the public attention pertaining to government officials not upholding justice and their oath to defend the constitution.

Taking care of all wounded and all veterans can never hurt our active military and can never harm America.

Again I ask why Congress must continually try to confuse the public and themselves by overlapping issues that are really inities in them selves. There need never be an overlapping consideration of the needs of training and equipping the active army with the separate needs of adequate immediate medical care and rehabilitationand adequate compensation for the wounded.

Would any intelligent person volunteer to enter the military knowing he or she would be discarded like a dirty dipper if wounded. "Hello world! Anybody home?"

Why does any government leader label all veterans and retirees as bad individuals who feel the government owes them money for their disabilities and that retirees are disloyal for demanding the government pay the bills due for their disabilities. Unlike any other sector of our society, veterans and retirees have earned this money that is owed them.

Everyone must realize that it is a direct contribution to national defense when our nation honors all obligations to veteransand these are obligations. The eyes of present and potential young members of our all volunteer force are wide open!

Patriotism is wonderful, but alone it does not pay the bills, especially outrageous medical bills resulting from injuries and disabilities incurred whiledefending our nationand defending the wealthyand even defending the politicians that are uncaring.

Our nation is lucky that young people today, like the veterans of yesterday, are patriotic and willing to be part of the 1% that is willing to offer their lives in defense of our nation.

However, these young people are getting smarter too. They more frequently see that the wealthy and the uncaring politicians too often don't appreciate their military's patriotism.

It is sad and dangerous that many wealthy citizens and politicians want the cake and to eat it too.

If a shortage of money really bothers government officials, they should correct the problems that allow hundreds of billions of dollars each year be lost due to waste, fraud, and abuse. When government leaders solve these money problems that they are well aware of, the U.S. government will have zero worries funding every cent needed to pay all bills due regarding veterans and retirees. It isn't smart or fair to attack the near helpless and let the many know rich and powerful criminals go unpunished.

Are the following problems and abuses that are listed on the web true? Is it true that:
The U.S. government still pays the English Royal family money for their U.S. tobacco lands of yesteryear; that some American generals gave war contracts to friends of VP Chaney Group of Companiesand later these generals were given outrageously high paying jobs as head of theses corporations; that fraud was involved when tax payers were billed $300,000,000 for "hurricane" ice that was driven around, stored, and later dumped; that President Bush gave friendly companies a $380,000,000 software contract for the defective software that killed veterans in VA Hospitals; that some oil companies and their stock holders don't pay fair taxes even though they are making the highest profits in history; that billions of dollars, handled by friends of our President, has turned up missing in Iraq; that many very wealthy people do not pay taxes.

Is it true that to save millions of dollars in property taxes, Walt Disney World has cattle grazing on its propertyand Sea World Orlando and Universal Orlando are in the pine tree growing business; that our government feels its better to pay subsidies to wealthier farmers to support the 'factory farms' even if it puts the smaller family farmers out of business; that generous Corporate Campaign Donors save billions in taxes; that Enron paid no taxes in 2000 and received a $278 million rebate; that there are tax schemes were U.S. corporations use foreign countries for the purpose of shielding income from the IRS, even though these corporations have no staff, no offices, and no business activity in these countries.; that our nation's largest corporations and richest citizens receive more welfare money than our social welfare programs; that the Pentagon agreed to pay Lockheed Martin $850 million in "consolidation costs" and then paid $100 million in bonuses to top executives of Lockheed and Martin Marietta for successfully completing the merger.

The list of similar abuses and crimes is seemingly endless and hundreds of more examples could be shown.

Perhaps personal travel at government expense should be halted. The American government seems more willing to come up with billions of dollars to care for illegal immigrants than it is to appropriate money to pay veterans for disabilities incurred keeping America free.

It's inexcusable to cry about a shortage of money for the personal medical, rehabilitation, and disability compensation expenses for active military personnel, Reserve and National Guard personnel, veterans, and retirees. These expenses are justified and America's security is jeopardized when our government questions paying the bills.

There is no shortage of money in the BIG POT. The problem is that Congress refuses to clearly show the American people the total big picture. The cost of America's military must be paid first. The appropriation of these expenses must be clearly shown compared to the total money available in the US each year. When these figures are clearly presented to every citizen the government leaders will obligate to do the right thing.

I again emphasize that Congress should fund all "military related medical" expenses separately in order to eliminate the possibility that individuals will try to confuse the medical issue with any other issue in America.

The American public needs to be educated and alerted by the Press pertaining to the alarming conflicts existing in Washington pertaining to adequate medical care for all military related personnel. The Press needs to educate the American people of the fair and logical need to consider the pros and cons of reinstating the DRAFT.

Arnold Punaro, who heads an independent panel established by Congress to study the National Guard and Reserves stated, "I believe the whole issue of the affordability of the volunteer force is something we need to look at."

We presently have a national emergency. There is a problem manning our volunteer military. Incentives, including tax-free payments for those who re-enlist while in the war zone, have jumped nearly six fold since 2003. Last year ever two out of three soldiers received a bonus to re-enlist in the Army, compared to less than 1 in 5 who received bonuses in 2003.The bonuses get larger each year, because fewer and fewer desire to re-enlist.

Shortages of personnel demanded increasing the tour of duty in Iraq from 12 to 15 months.

The Press needs to educate the American people to pressure Washington to repeal the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act. This is an insane and unjust law that unfairly penalizes active duty military, veterans, and retireesand also adversely effects enlistment and retention of our all volunteer military.

All of this is likely only the beginning. One morning Americas are going to wake up and find their military is a mercenary army which is largely comprised of soldiers that use English as their second language.

It seems that there is already a tremendous increase of non-Americans soldiers in uniformbecause they are offered U.S. citizenship if they serve a couple years in the military.

Government leaders that obviously "aid the cause of problems" need to be replaced.

May we all praise God our Creator and the members of our military (the tiny 1% of the American population) that patriotically sacrifices to keep America free.

This article is submitted by an individual that loves America with all of his heart and whose heart aches when he sees his beautiful America hurting. Without any logical reason America is hurtingand its military and military retirees are hurting.
Gene Hudgens, Sergeant Major, U. S. Army (Retired)

Gene Hudgens honorably served in the U.S. Armed Forces for twenty eight years.

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