LETTER TO THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

By Harold Riley

WHY DON’T YOU DO SOMETHING TO HELP THE MILITARY?

Editor:

Is there a “hate military” attitude growing within the “hate America” movement and becoming wide-spread in main-stream liberal media and academia? - Not just toward military retirees but military personnel in general? I think so, and wonder where the conservative, pro-America, pro-military supporters are hiding?

An explanation may be: No reporters in the mostly left-wing major media (CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, et al) with the courage to challenge the editors with a pro-military piece for publication. I don’t know, but I suspect that is the main reason.

When was the last time any academic institution published a piece of research supporting earned military retiree benefit restoration? I don’t recall reading a single theme that supports the idea that warriors should receive, and our government be required, to honor commitments and obligations made to our military retirees, spouses, and widows. A Federal Appeals Court said Congress has a moral obligation to honor obligations made to warriors, which seems to carry little or no weight.

Would anyone have imagined that our own U.S. Department of Defense would suggest our retired warriors earned benefit funding is a drain and threat to national security? Or, that the Department of Defense would reflect a “use and abuse” attitude toward our warriors?

Warriors’ sacrifices are used as props and generally given positive attention when it benefits an individual or organization. We all know what happens on Memorial Day, July 4th, Veterans Day… most politicians use the occasion as a “photo opportunity” and forget the warrior the next day… and any commitments of support made.

An example occurred during the opening of the recent Super Bowl when the “greatest generation” was recognized as preserving “the destiny of our nation”. Given these patriots accomplished the near miracle they are credited, why has the U.S. government failed to honor commitments and obligations made to these heroes? Are they “used bags” to be discarded – a national security threat? Or will Congress honor the obligations our government made to the “greatest generation”?

Do you know WWII/Korea era military retirees, spouses, and widows are still fighting for the medical care they earned and contracted for? Do you know TITLE 10, Subtitle A, PART II, CHAPTER 55, Section. 1074, (b) of the U.S. Code required medical treatment in military treatment facilities for life for WWII/Korea era military retirees?

But in 1995, those retirees, spouses, and widows over 65 years of age were kicked out of military medical care, forcing them to fend for themselves? Tens of thousands of military retirees, spouses, and widows of WWII/Korea era over 65, were faced with a medical pre-condition history. Finding civilian medical insurance at age 65 or older is outrageously expensive, if one can get it - as is Medicare Part B because of penalties involved for not insuring with Medicare when first eligible?

Do you know that retirement compensation for some of our lower ranking military retirees and widows of the WWII/Korea era generation is only $300 or $400 per month? Our government put these warriors and their families in a food or medicine dilemma.

I submit we are in an age with near total opposition to integrity, truth, and adherence to our nations founding moral standards. What better example than our Congress and Administration’s benefit denial and betrayal of our WWII/Korea warriors who left blood and body parts on the battlefield, not to mention spouse and widow sacrifices.

Political explanation for denial: It costs too much.

Who knows better the cost of freedom than those who paid for it with life and limb?

Harry Riley, COL, USA, Ret.
111 Overview Drive, Crestview, FL 32539
850-689-1818
hmriley@cox.net