2007 October 14 Sunday
How US Government Cheated Minnesota National Guardsmen In Iraq

Harvard labor economist George Borjas draws attention to a story about some Minnesota National Guard and how the US government connived to avoid paying them more benefits for an especially long tour of duty.

When they came home from Iraq, 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard had been deployed longer than any other ground combat unit. The tour lasted 22 months and had been extended as part of President Bush's surge.

1st Lt. Jon Anderson said he never expected to come home to this: A government refusing to pay education benefits he says he should have earned under the GI bill...

Anderson's orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days.

Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school. "Which would be allowing the soldiers an extra $500 to $800 a month," Anderson said.

Dr. Borjas notes:

I no longer believe in coincidences when it comes to stuff like this. Whoever wrote the order for 729 days knew precisely what he or she was doing.

What does this say about the Bush Administration and the people in the Pentagon? When America sent soldiers abroad to fight for 1, 2, 3 years in World War II they came back to receive excellent educational benefits. Well, we have many soldiers who have been on multiple 1 year tours of duty in Iraq plus their most recent tours of 15 months and beyond.

This group from Minnesota who just served 22 months includes members who probably have served in a war for longer than the vast bulk of the US soldiers who served in World War II. These currently serving soldiers spent probably much more time in combat conditions than did the average US soldier in WWII as well. During WWII we had lots of soldiers in support outfits away from the front lines who were in friendly territory. The soldiers who marched across Europe didn't even spend 12 months from D-Day at Normandy until Nazi Germany surrendered. Now we have National Guard units spending twice the amount of time the D-Day soldiers spent and cheapskates in the Bush Administration are looking at how to shaft them by reducing their time abroad by 1 day.

Update: It angers me that someone so manifestly unworthy (i.e. George W. Bush) has these soldiers over in Iraq dying essentially to allow him and his allies to save face and to pretend that some good result can come this pointless war. Not only is he expending their lives needlessly and getting many more maimed he's also cheating them of benefits with things like this 729 day deployment.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 October 14 07:54 PM  Mideast Iraq Costs

James Bowery said at October 14, 2007 11:55 PM:

Who cares what happens to a bunch of Minnesota boys? They're the bad guys anyway.

Nobody said at October 15, 2007 6:33 AM:

This kind of shit has been going on long before Bush took office. It is not as common as it used to be, but this kind of petty chiseling does happen. But they made the right move getting their reps involved. But I would not be surprised if the motives behind this were personal. You would be surprised what some asshole who wants to jam you can do with paperwork. They can really give you a hard time and make life very difficult.

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