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bootsontheground 04/06/11

Don't Short Change the Troops

John Wayne Walding

Green Beret John Wayne Walding lost a leg in a seven hour firefight with the Taliban on this day, April 6 2008. He treated his own wound and those of his mates, bound his nearly severed leg to his thigh using his boot laces, and hobbled down from the 10,000-foot battle zone under his own steam.

He and nine others of his Green Beret A-team earned the Silver Star that day.

But if our elected officials don't get their act together, heroes like Walding will have insult added to injury when their paychecks stop coming.

As U.S. politicians bicker over where to shave pennies off our hopelessly overgrown budget, a government shutdown looms around the corner.

But it's more than the lions at the national zoo and tourists at the Smithsonian who will feel the pinch if the government's coffers run dry. America's men and women in uniform, who already put their lives on the line for peanuts, will see their paychecks turn to IOU's.

I'm all for balancing the budget - and taking extreme measures to do so. But our nation's defenders' paychecks should be off limits.

Shut down the (worthless) Department of Education. Shutter the national parks, if that's what it takes. Cancel (also worthless) USAid. But pay those who protect us.

Yet even if our heroes in uniform have to fight for free, the paychecks of U.S. senators and congressmen will be unaffected by the shutdown.

Anybody else see something very wrong with that?