The Cost of Body Parts

(photo credit: Sgt Ian Forsyth)

The word on the street is that Congress is likely to back pedal on the deferred payment cuts via the military Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).  For disabled veterans.  

For disabled veterans.  ONLY disabled veterans.

Yes, you read that right.  They want to keep their promise to our vets.  But only to some of them.  Only to the ones who they feel gave enough in blood, lost enough limbs, or managed to get a proper diagnosis of TBI or PTSD. 

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said today at the Center for the Intrepid while speaking to military amputees and burn victims, “Let me assure you that all disable families – all of you in this room – will be exempted from any adjustments in the rate of growth.”

The problem here is that EVERY service member signed the same deal, made the same commitment, offered the same gamble, made the same choices.  The fact is that all of our veterans have served, and they all have made sacrifices that perhaps can not be measured or defined as “disabilities”.  They still COST the service member:

• The cost of living apart from family for years

• The cost of never owning a home due to frequent moves for mission readiness

• The cost of wear and tear on a body 

• The cost of a spouse having few, if any, job skills because he or she can’t keep a job for longer than 12 months.  And, that’s if someone agreed to hire a spouse knowing they were moving. 

• The cost of your child never getting security in a new school.  Because it’s always a new school.  


 

So, who gets to say the “cost” of losing all of this is not greater than disability? Who gets to leverage one against the other in the interest of Congress?  Who gets to divide the veteran community into deserving and less deserving? Who gets to say betraying our nation’s military in THE single most fundamental way, is NOT worth simply CUTTING COSTS as a whole?  

Should our service members have tried to get shot in order to keep deferred pay promised and earned by them?  Should they have deliberately disabled themselves in order to secure their future?  Should they have been told in advance that in order to keep their pay they’d need to knowingly lose a limb? 

Losing your leg is worth more than losing your sanity? 

Don’t be absurd.  Of course not.  It’s all losing. 

And, this key:  Their pay is not proportional to how much blood they each have shed.  Their pay IS proportional to what they were EACH willing to risk and give up in order to serve their duty. 

Because here is the thing:  This bill?  It authorizes more spending.  Not a single noteworthy cut exists in it.  At all.  Exce pt the one where they pick-pocket military retirees.  It takes some kind of balls to come after a military who has faithfully served this nation for 12 years on more than one warfront.  The audacity of coming after their pay?  Is truly unforgiveable.

And what happens when they run out of military retirees pay to steal from?  They. Are.  Coming.  After. EVERY.  American.  Our veterans are just the first step in a very long road of stones.  

But they have chosen to come after veterans first.  The one group of people who cannot, will not and are legally unable to fight for themselves.  The one group who has given more than most of us will ever give.  The one group who kept their promise of duty to this nation.

Attempting to only keep your promise to SOME of them?  Shameful indeed.

Join the movement today by following us on Twitter @milspousemag and using the hashtag #KeepYourPromise to let Congress know you expect them to repeal the cut to COLA for ALL veterans.  Don’t have a Twitter account?  Now might be the time to sign-up!

 

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