Why Doesn’t the Army Support the Troops?

As soldiers stream home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the biggest charity inside the U.S. military has been stockpiling tens of millions of dollars meant to help put returning fighters back on their feet, an Associated Press investigation shows.

The Army’s own charity fund has a nest egg of over $300 million dollars.

“AER executives defend their operation, insisting they need to keep sizable reserves to be ready for future catastrophes.”

Right. We’re fighting two wars, with extended and repeated tours of duty, and you’re setting aside charitable donations, donations exacted from the very soldiers you’re supposed to help, for some future catastrophy.

Hopefully someone in Obama’s Administration is going to look into this very quickly and put those donations where they are intended. Not in some bank vault, but in the hands of the soldiers who risk their all for us.

Your thoughts are welcome.

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4 thoughts on “Why Doesn’t the Army Support the Troops?

  1. I don’t know if I should say ‘worse yet’ or ‘just as bad’ but those soldiers being stop-gapped are not getting paid for it.

    I read the news report this morning but cannot put my fingers on the link right now.

  2. So soldiers are pressured or persuaded to contribute to a ‘charity’ which is supposed to help its own contributors?

    That’s not a charity, that’s an insurance company and like a typical present-day insurance company it looks for any excuse NOT to honor its supposed purpose.

    “Founded in 1942, AER eases cash emergencies of active-duty soldiers and retirees and provides college scholarships for their families. Its emergency aid covers mortgage payments and food, car repairs, medical bills, travel to family funerals, and the like.”

    Now that’s interesting. The 1944 GI Bill notably provided college expenses and home loans, so assuming proper funding the function of the AER should presumably have been reduced to strictly ‘emergency’ aid, or else should have been folded into the GI Bill outright.
    Apparently the presently used ‘Mongtomery GI Bill’ gives soldiers the option to pay $100 per month into an education fund for a year, after which they can draw $1100 (eleven-hundred) per month for full time education expenses. This is separate from the education incentives that are offered at sign-up or re-enlistment. It seems MGIB benefits are usually exercised after discharge or retirement.

    “Look at the stock market,” said retired Col. Dennis Spiegel, AER’s deputy director for administration. Without the large reserve, he added, “We’d be in very serious trouble.”

    We’d be in trouble? By what measure? Who is we?
    Those whom the AER is supposed to serve ARE “in trouble!”.

    Look at the job market, the mortgage market, the credit market, the cost of tuition, the price of basic foodstuffs. Col. Dennis Spiegel obviously still has a job and presumably gets whatever benefits his years of service entitle him to as well. Current veterans (which include full-time, reserve and National Guard) are returning home to deep recession and extremely limited options.

    As the AP article notes there are truly independent charities that are reporting being swamped with demand from service members. For at least the past year there have been plenty of reports soldiers’ families having to rely on local food banks (I’ve actually done that once and not only was it rather embarrassing—though necessity got me past that—it was a crapshoot as to what I was able to get such as canned potatoes, rice and peanut butter which is no-ones idea of dinner), and having been preyed upon by loan-sharks.

    As noted by others here I fail to see how the present circumstances of our veterans could get much worse but if they did, what prospect would the AER funds then have of being sufficient for such even more dire straits? Where would the contributions come from to maintain the fund? How much interest could the funds accumulate when interest rates are at such a low level and interest–earning investment opportunities are stagnant?

    I don’t understand why this ‘charity’ even exists.

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