While I find the mantra of “support the troops” tiresome in that it is a device used to blackmail people into supporting a particular policy, I find the idea of not paying them, especially ones in the field, to be unconscionable.
Yet once again we hear that threat, this time indirectly from the outgoing chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. I don’t mean it is his fault, but he says he does not know for sure whether troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere would be paid (immediately, most likely later, though) if the government defaults on its debts by congress and the president not okaying a raise in the debt ceiling.
Seems to me that while the ultra-conservative and or/ neocon war mongers are the ones who usually use that mantra of “support the troops” as blackmail, this might be a form of blackmail from the other side, even though I doubt the admiral is part and party to it, other than the fact he has gotten no assurances from the administration that the troops would be paid.
Personally I think troops, especially those in combat areas, have to be paid if anyone can be paid.
I could not support any politician, whether he be the president, or he or she a member of congress — Senate and House — and no matter what political party he or she is a member of who had anything to do withholding pay to the troops or did nothing to make sure they were paid.
As a matter of fact, I would expect anyone who had any part in withholding pay from the troops to resign and/or be subject to impeachment (although, technically that may not be an impeachable offense).
How could you pay anyone in good conscience without paying those who put their life on the line in your name (regardless of the merits of the policies that sent them there)?
The story that inspired this blog post is: