Reserve Troops Deserve Proper Compensation
Thank you for “Far From Soldiers of Fortune” (May 12). It points out the dire effect on families in this country of George “Nero” Bush’s phony war in Iraq. The next story you need to write about is how his little war has affected police, fire and emergency services in very destructive ways across America. This affects all of us who rely on these vital services. I believe the only thing that Army Reserve and National Guard members can do about their situation is to vote Bush out of office come November, and I suspect that many will vote against him.
I predict that, come reenlistment time, many will opt out of continued service to their country, which may jeopardize the future of the reserve and National Guard.
Your story noted that there had been legislative efforts on the state level to offer some relief; but I was disappointed at the lack of attention paid to congressional proposals to address the problem. Legislation that I introduced in March 2003 would require the federal government to ensure that its employees who enlist in the reserves and National Guard receive the same pay on active duty as they do in their civilian jobs.
My bill also would reward all employers, including state and local governments, that ensure their employees do not encounter financial burdens when activated.
Last week, the House Armed Services Committee included a provision in the defense authorization bill that does not go as far as my bill, but at least makes it part of the way. The provision bridges the salary gap for activated reservists and National Guard members up to $3,000 per month after 12 continuous months of active duty or if they have served 18 months out of the last 60.
It is unconscionable that as we ask reservists and National Guard members to make so many sacrifices for our country, we ask them to make a personal financial sacrifice as well.
Rep. Tom Lantos
What is our government doing? These people we voted in are rebuilding a foreign country we bombed and are forcing our American farmers and businessmen into bankruptcy.
This is wrong. Doesn’t anybody see that we need to bring our soldiers home? Forget Iraq. We can never forget the lives lost there or the lives ruined here. But we can stop it. If we are not going to do this war right, don’t do it at all.
Support our troops. Bring them home now and hold our government accountable for rebuilding the lives of our servicemen and -women here in this country. We have a priority, and it is here in America.