Is there a dunce cap somewhere big enough to fit over the Pentagon? Or maybe we can throw them all in stockades and subject them to a good old, medieval “public shaming.” We have to do something, because some of the folks in the Pentagon have either lost their minds, or they’re just really, really bad people.
Most people who live in the United States understand that the military sometimes offers enlistment bonuses when they need to fill out their ranks. And most Americans don’t have a problem with that. We don’t do enough as it is to take care of the people who are willing to put their lives on the line for us every day. An enlistment bonus seems like the least we can do.
And this is just what the California National Guard did–10 years ago. They filled out their ranks to the tune of about 10,000 soldiers by offering up to a $15,000 signup bonus to entice them to re-enlist and go to war in Iraq or Afghanistan.
And that’s what these brave men and women did. They went to war. Now, 10 years later, the Pentagon said “Oops.” It has apparently discovered that some of these bonuses should not have been granted in the first place. They said a lack of oversight caused fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment quotas.
Okay. So, whose fault is that? The soldiers’?
Apparently some people at the Pentagon seem to think so. Now they’re asking for some 2,500 of these bonuses to be RETURNED. Seriously. Who makes this stuff up? This gives a whole new meaning to the term “clawback.” This time they’re clawing the backs of the people who help give us the gift of freedom every day of our lives. As for a lack of oversight, let’s talk about the long list of homeless veterans or the “poorly managed” veteran services that might allow disabled or injured vets to get the medical care they need. Or, maybe we can address the false advertisement that lured them to re-enlist in the first place. An extra $15,000 may not sound like much to those wearing neckties in Washington, but to the underpaid people in cammo, it’s a pretty significant number.
So here’s the deal. You Pentagon people are going to have to make this right. Period.
Yes, the American taxpayer will now be saddled with an extra burden due to your “lack of oversight.” And we will demand you get it right the next time, but it’s not like our tax dollars haven’t gone to far worse causes. Like we all tell our kids, when you do something wrong, you have to do your best to make it right. So do that, please.
And to all you soldiers out there who were stunned and saddened to hear about this devastating blunder, please know that this does not in any way reflect the feelings of the majority of Americans. It’s bad enough when the government does stuff like this to the average Joe. It’s unconscionable when they do it to you. We can offer all the gratitude and thanks in the world, but we know it will never equal the sacrifices you have made on our behalf.
And, Mr. Pentagon, we would also like for you to send flowers with a note conveying your most heartfelt apologies. Better yet, why don’t you just give ALL the soldiers who were caught up in this crap an extra $1,000 just for scaring the hell out of them along with an increase in benefits.
Then, don’t EVER let it happen again.