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Eyed cut in military pay unthinkable

Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

The very idea that the U.S. military establishment would seek to reduce the pay of soldiers, sailors, Marines or any other member of the military is unthinkable. Yet, that is exactly what is being proposed in Washington as a way to save what, in overall military expenditure terms, is small change at $120 million a year. Americans everywhere should voice opposition to this ill-advised idea.

It seems we can’t get through a few months without someone suggesting cuts to military pay, benefits, retirement, veterans’ benefits, health care or some other compensation paid to our service men and women and our veterans. When each national holiday comes along, the flags come out, and lawmakers and government officials begin saluting our military personnel and military veterans. Frankly, it smacks of phoniness of the worst kind when followed by proposals to cut military pay and benefits.

Military leaders are considering cutting “danger pay” for personnel deployed on active duty to a large number of countries and regions, including the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. The extra pay amounts to $225 per month per deployed individual. Military leaders argue that many of these areas are not physically dangerous, and that soldiers are sometimes allowed to bring their families.

While the danger level might vary from location to location, no foreign deployed member of the U.S. military is immune to physical danger in this age of terrorist bombings and societal unrest that can occur virtually overnight, as we have seen in supposedly peaceful Egypt and Bahrain.

All military personnel deployed away from U.S. soil are making a huge personal and family sacrifice. The few extra dollars afforded them under these circumstances are hard earned. There simply is no excuse for cutting military pay or benefits.

We watch the news with frustration as other government agencies waste huge amounts of taxpayer dollars, such as recent revelations of Internal Revenue Service officials spending millions on lavish conventions and spending large sums on childish videos. We see billions of American taxpayer dollars given to foreign governments, some of which hate us, and yet we try to save money by cutting military personnel pay? There is something very wrong with this picture.

We urge military leaders, Congress and the White House to look elsewhere for budgetary savings. We owe our all-volunteer military a lot more than $225 a month extra pay for being deployed away from U.S. soil.

-The Jackson Sun