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Thomas Gallatin / October 26, 2016

The Pentagon’s Bonus Blunder Fallout

Obama’s attitude displays a lack of respect for military personal.

On Monday, we wrote that the Pentagon had ordered current soldiers and veterans mistakenly granted re-enlistment bonuses by the California National Guard a decade ago to repay those bonuses. The news sparked a firestorm of controversy with lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle calling for the waiving of the bonus repayments. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Tuesday, “Anybody who volunteers to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States deserves our gratitude and respect. Period.” On Wednesday, he ordered a temporary “suspension” of the recollection effort.

Not so fast on those waivers, says Barack Obama. His spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters, “I don’t think [Obama’s] prepared to go that far at this point.” That’s not surprising considering Obama’s malicious destruction of military morale.

Consider what resulted from the VA scandal. In 2014, the VA paid out $142 million in bonuses, the same year the wait-time scandal came to light, and no attempt was made to recover those bonuses. In one instance the VA acknowledged that two senior executives had abused the agency’s hiring system in relocating to take new jobs while collecting bonuses amounting to over $400,000, and yet the VA chose not to seek recovery of those funds.

Obama, like many leftists, has an almost palpable disdain for the military. Darin Selnick, a retired Air Force captain and former official at the Department of Veteran Affairs, said, “There is a clear bias against veterans. They [the Obama administration] think veterans should start at the bottom like everyone else. The government culture wants everyone to start from the bottom in government. But it’s not as if veterans never worked for the government. They worked for the Department of Defense.”

Obama has been happy to put the financial squeeze on the military in order to push his political agenda. He has viewed the military as nothing more than a line item in the budget that takes money from his favored redistribution schemes. Democrats have historically enjoyed little political support from the military, because they have often fought against spending on the military. They will go to bat all day long for their union buddies and welfare recipients, but their attitude toward the military is one of begrudging acceptance or downright antagonism. We hope in this case the public outcry and congressional pressure will move the Pentagon to permanently reverse course on its ill-advised bonus recovery order. America’s solders and veterans deserve better.

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