The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Pentagon to Veterans:
“Pay Back the Blood Money!”

Oct 31, 2016

The Department of Defense has been demanding that 9,800 California National Guard members pay back bonuses they got to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pentagon officials claim the bonuses were paid by mistake.

A mistake? Thousands of bonuses, amounting to tens of millions of dollars?

No, it was not a mistake. These bonuses were paid when the generals needed more boots on the ground for their “surges”–to fight the rising insurgencies against U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. So they paid the “volunteers.”

Bill McLain, for example, signed up for six more years when he was already deployed in Iraq in 2006, because he was told he would get a bonus of $30,000. McLain suffered serious head and back injuries in 2008, but this did not stop the Pentagon from ordering him to pay back the entire bonus. The Pentagon even garnished his entire monthly paycheck of $3,500 in 2013, just when McLain was about to go to Afghanistan on his fourth combat tour, leaving his wife and two stepchildren behind.

After a Los Angeles Times article in October publicized the veterans’ outrage, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that the collection of the bonuses would be suspended. But Carter and other Pentagon officials said that the “debt collection” would continue after a “review” of each soldier’s case.

When asked about veterans whose credit record has been ruined because of this “debt,” a high-level Pentagon official said, “We do not have authority or the ability to change people’s credit records.”

Really? But these officials did have “authority and the ability” to pay all those bonuses when they needed bodies to throw into their bloody wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It’s disgusting. And so it is, that Bill McLain’s wife, Terese, writes “Blood Money” in disgust on each $100 monthly check she sends to the Pentagon–which the Pentagon happily cashes!