Hey, you gonna’ pay for that?

Do wounded soldiers really have to pay for their own food?

This story has been getting some airplay recently. It’s reported that wounded troops returning from Iraq are forced to pay for their own meals. Stop the Bleating takes this one head-on (archives apparently bloggered again, so scroll to “I’M A LITTLE TIRED OF CLUELESS PUNDITS”). He points out that the soldiers are given a subsitence allowance, above and beyond their normal pay, and that it covers the meals. Phil Carter at Intel Dump notes:

Just another example of how soldier gripes can spin the media because the media doesn’t know enough about the military to understand what’s really going on. (See, e.g., Paul Krugman’s column several weeks ago about soldiers getting only 3 liters of water/day in Iraq).

People are pre-disposed, and with good reason, to believe stories of government idiocy. But that doesn’t meant that everything you hear is literally true. If these guys really ARE paying for their meals out of their own pocket, and not with money paid expressly for that purpose, something must be done NOW. But if the system really is working as Stop the Bleating and Intel Dump think it is, then it’s working just fine. Congress had better find out what it is they’re voting on before they pull the levers on this one.

Comments

  1. According to my Marine currently in Iraq, supplies of food and water have been too short. This is for the units that roam about like Recon does. The AirForce in their cozy air-conditioned camps have not had the same difficulties nor have the Army at the Baghdad airport with their Burger King. Conditions in Iraq have differed widely since the push to Baghdad when the supply lines were stretched too far and still suffer some problems. Some of my Marine’s soldiers under him, had strep throat and he was very concerned about getting medication for them because they weren’t getting any, is another example. I would be sending water, food and what medication I could get to Iraq if my Marine’s unit was allowed to get regular mail and packages but they aren’t allowed that so he has to only depend on the Military to take care of their needs. ***

  2. I’m more than willing to believe that supplies are short for Marines; they usually are. Logistics aren’t our strongest suit, being that we maintain a higher ‘tooth-to-tail’ ratio than usual for the services. And if you’re Marine’s not getting 3 MREs per day, he shouldn’t be paying for 3 MREs per day. (And he damned well should be getting three squares per day, even if it’s only 3 MREs.) If he’s paying for food he’s not getting–an unfortunate possiblity in any bureaucracy–that’s wrong. But as murdoc indicates, I don’t think that has much to do with wounded soldiers at Walter Reed. ***

  3. This is the part I was responding to ‘Just another example of how soldier gripes can spin the media because the media doesn’t know enough about the military to understand what’s really going on. (See, e.g., Paul Krugman’s column several weeks ago about soldiers getting only 3 liters of water/day in Iraq).’ ***

  4. Matt, during the ‘Push to Baghad’ it was 1 MRE per day. My guy is 6’3′ a good sized guy that watched his body fat ratio religiously before he left, he’s not carrying any extra to really lose. He said that his legs shook during that part of the mission because there just wasn’t enough food. That really bothered me. It has gotten better since that time but 3 squares per day isn’t yet the norm but like you said should be. ***