News & Politics

A Soldier's Story

Why should a soldier who's made such an extreme sacrifice be treated so shabbily?
When challenged directly by a crowd of America's troops about the Bushites' ongoing damnable failure to provide adequate armor for our soldiers, Pentagon chief Donnie Rumsfeld was momentarily speechless. As the crowd murmered, Rummy said: "Now, settle down, settle down. Hell, I'm an old man, it's early in the morning and I'm gathering my thoughts here."


If any of the Bushites need clarity on the scandalous way they treat our soldiers, they need only visit Army Specialist Robert Loria of Middletown, New York. Last February, he was in one of Rumsfeld's unprotected Humvees when it was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Loria's left hand and forearm were blasted off and shrapnel ripped through his body. He spent months in rehab, trying to learn how to live without a hand. Finally, just before this Christmas, he was due to be released and return home when he was hit with another bomb.


Rumsfeld's Pentagon presented Loria with a bill for $1,700, claiming he'd erroneously received family separation pay while in rehab, plus travel expenses connected to his treatment. Also, they billed him for some of the Humvee parts damaged in the bombing that tore off his hand!


Loria was devastated, but the Army brass didn't care, demanding payment before they would release him. Hello. The Halliburtons rip off billions from us taxpayers, but the Pentagon is hounding the grunts! "It's almost like I'm being abandoned," Loria said. "Like, you did your job for us and now you are no use. That's how it feels."


Is that clear enough for you, Mr. Rumsfeld?


Thanks to press coverage and intervention by some members of congress, Loria's nightmarish treatment by the Pentagon has finally ended. The Army was forced to clear Loria's hokey debt and send him home.


But why should a soldier who's made such an extreme sacrifice be treated so shabbily in the first place? And how many others are getting the same back of the hand?

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of "Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush," from Viking Press. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.