As of print time last week the worst this administration had done in it’s “make em fell the pain” shutdown strategy was to keep WWII veterans from their own memorial and threaten disciplinary action against some Catholic priests.
If you thought it couldn’t go any lower than that, you would have thought wrong.
The very same National Park Service that closed the WWII memorial and blocked highway turnoffs to stop photographs of Mount Rushmore, found an exception for allies in-line with administration policies.
As the general public was still blockaded from their national monuments, the SEIU, the AFL-CIO, and pro-immigration reform groups were granted permission to hold their “Camino America” rally on the National Mall.
An administration that had not problem one keeping WWII vets from their own memorial, allowed a coalition supporting illegal aliens to rally for hours on the benefits of why breaking the law as your fist act into this country should be of no consideration.
It is the kind of behavior expected in third world dictatorships, not a constitutional republic.
But as low as that action was, the administration broke its own record the very same day.
In a move that previous generations could not even imagine as possible, the Pentagon announced that it would not be paying the $100,000 death benefit to family members of fallen soldiers and the grieving would be on their own for burial costs.
The Pentagon hid behind “legal ease” that the “Pay our Military Act” signed into law to avoid just such a thing, wasn’t specific enough in it’s wording and therefore it had no choice but to withhold the payments.
Yet, Edward Liu, the legislative attorney for the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, dared to differ. In his opinion, the Act’s “provide pay and allowances to members of the Armed Forces.” wording was more than sufficient to allow the payments.
On Friday, October 4th, Representative Joe Wilson, acting on a rumor that such a deed was in the works, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, asking what “allowance” the DOD would and would not pay. Wilson included the DOD’s own “Pay and Allowances Summary” from November 2011 clearly showing the “death gratuity” of $100,000 as part of the “allowances” authorized.
Representative Wilson, never got a response from Secretary Hagel.
He learned as the world did last Tuesday, Oct 8th, that the Pentagon had indeed, in one of, if not the most, punitive political moves ever taken by an administration against the military that protects it, denied payment of death benefit “allowances”.
One would like to think that no one could be so cold, calculating and heartless as to consciously approve such a despicable tactic. Yet someone did.
We have never seen an administration quite like this one. We have never had a President who at one moment can give a speech on the need for more civility in our political discourse and in another encourage those calling political opponents anarchists, arsonists, extremists, jihadists, and terrorists.
Yet who are the real extremists?
Those supporting our veterans and military or the ones devising ways to punish them for political points?
And just when did a member of Congress who believes it is immoral and unjust to let Washington’s financial pedophilia against future generations continue unabated become a terrorist for using the very same tactics used dozens of times before?
It all boils down to November 4th, 2008 when one President elect Obama, standing in front of those giant pillars, decreed to us all that our “fundamental transformation” had begun.
I just wish we knew when it was going to end.
(A version of this column first appeared in the print edition of the October 16, 2013 Joplin Globe.)