Of all the outrages being committed in the name of government “shutdown” this past week, perhaps the most disturbing have been those directed against the military. By now, we all have pretty well rehearsed the attempt to keep WWII veterans from their memorial. Barring wheelchaired veterans from visiting the memorial wasn’t one of this administration’s best optics. But it’s as if they didn’t really care how it appeared to the public. All they were interested in was inflicting pain:
A couple days ago, however, an even more horrendous outrage came to the forefront: families of soldiers currently being killed in action were being denied death benefits, again ostensibly due to the shutdown. Apparently, the Department of Defense wasn’t sure about how to proceed, given the cutbacks, so it conferred with officials from the Justice Department. That was a big mistake. Our DOJ, still unbelievably suffering under the reign of Eric Holder, concluded those benefits could not be given to the families.
That didn’t seem to bother Chuck Hagel, our fairly new secretary of defense, who did nothing to challenge the ruling. Hagel, by the way, in his seven months at the helm, had never once gone to Dover Air Force Base to commemorate the return of the remains of our servicemen who died fighting for us. As news of the denial of death benefits began to spread, and as public anger over it spread as well, Hagel finally made his first visit to Dover on Tuesday when the latest dead soldiers arrived. Too little, too late.
Republicans in the House held hearings and blistered officials from the Defense Department over their action—or lack thereof. The House then passed a bill to ensure the families of those who died would continue to receive what they were promised. What was the response of the Senate and the White House? Harry Reid basically called it a gimmick and Jay Carney, speaking for the president, said there was no need to pass the bill, as if somehow it would all be taken care of magically some other way.
Fortunately, pressure on wiser heads prevailed. The Senate, with an indifferent Reid formally acquiescing, passed the House bill. Obama signed it late yesterday, even though he had said he wouldn’t. Look for him to take credit for it very soon.
Enough is enough. This administration needs to be called to account for a series of failures, missteps, deliberate falsehoods, and policies designed to turn America into a second-rate nation. The ideology of our elected leader is to blame. However, since he was elected, the real blame falls on the electorate.