I read with little amusement the article titled, "Fight Over Military Pension Cuts Continues", by Pauline Jelinek of the AP, that the Daily Times published on Tuesday the 24th of Dec. The article is shallow, full of misinformation and uninformed.

By shallow, I mean that the story completely leaves out, at what cost someone serves. What does it cost a service member? The author should try voluntarily forfeiting her civil liberties ... for years. Let her employer tell her where to live, what to wear, what job to do, when to do it and what her schedule will be. Oh, and by the way, frequently she will be separated for long periods of time from her family, missing weddings, births, deaths and holidays. Living in places where people are trying to kill her. She seems to have forgotten those things in her equation.

By misinformation, I mean that when she talks about the pay, one must be ready to work 24/7. There are no guaranteed nights, weekends or holidays off. It means that there are times when that Army Private is earning about $4.60 an hour...before taxes! Base housing is frequently inadequate or unavailable and you cannot rent in most economies on the pittance of the housing allowance. You pay the balance out of your own pocket.

By uninformed, I mean she simply does not have her facts straight. There is no 30 percent off at the commissary, (by the way, Congress is discussing shutting those down) and there are no "deep" discounts at the exchanges.

What gripes me the most about these changes is that Congress wants to make these cuts after the fact! The Veteran has already paid the price and provided his service and now, after the fact, Congress wants to reduce the benefits. Perhaps The AP should cut Ms. Jelinek's pay for her work, now that it has been published. I also notice that no retired member of Congress is receiving any cut to their pension.

With regard to the pension for life, she states, "Its a practice without parallel in the private sector,..." It's an ignorant comparison. How can you compare civilian life with the military life?! You have to assume that there are parallels and the fact is there are precious few!


Major (ret.), USAF