The plight of U. S. military vets who were enticed with cash bonuses to sign up for extra tours of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago is making the news as the Pentagon is demanding the vets repay the enlistment bonuses. The enticement of $15,000 or more was given as an incentive when the military was struggling to fill its ranks.
Soldiers say the military is reneging on 10-year-old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on veterans whose only mistake was to accept the bonuses.
In 2010, after reports surfaced of improper payments, a federal investigation found that thousands of bonuses and student loan payments were given to California Guard soldiers who did not qualify for them, or were approved despite paperwork errors.
Last October, the Los Angeles Times reported on the devastating impact on nearly 10,000 soldiers who have been ordered to repay the substantial enlistment bonuses, or be slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse.
Some high ranking Guard officers were charged and convicted after pleading guilty to filing false claims resulting in $ millions in payouts. But instead of forgiving the improper bonuses, the California Guard assigned 42 auditors to comb through paperwork for bonuses and other incentive payments given to the soldiers, a process that was finally completed last month. The National Guard Bureau, the Pentagon agency that oversees state Guard organizations, has acknowledged that bonus overpayments occurred in every state at the height of the two wars.
Arizona National Guard members were not immune to this debacle. This past Friday, the Arizona Republic reported on Ashley Christopher, 33, who finds her world turned upside down, after being forced to sell her home to try to repay the bonus she received.
Amnesty proponents John McCain and Jeff Flake are going to bat to help the so-called “DREAMers” — foreign nationals who are currently 35 years of age or younger and claim they were brought here before they were 16 years old by their parents who illegally invaded the United States. Verifying how many came as babes in arms or ably propelled themselves over the border last year at age 34 is impossible to substantiate. We need to call this farce what it is: Stealth Amnesty. It is also a liberal “dream” come true, lacking any means of verification while permanently swelling the ranks of the Democrat Party.
McCain chairs the Senate Armed Services committee. He should be directing his efforts toward American National Guard members who are being threatened by the Pentagon to repay reenlistment bonuses they signed up for in good faith.
John McCain’s abysmal record with veterans is well-known and recently evident during the Phoenix VA hospital scandals, which occurred right under his nose. Why does he choose to allow illegals to capture his attention?