Monday, October 17, 2005

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It was almost a year ago Congress passed a law requiring the Pentagon to reimburse soldiers for body armor and equipment they bought for better protection in Iraq.

And nearly a year later the Department of Defense hasn't been able to figure out a way to make this reimbursement, according to an Associated Press story Thursday.

This is an incredible report in two ways.

It is incredible in the first place that soldiers or parents of soldiers have to pay out hundreds or thousands of dollars for additional armor the government has not provided in an attempt to increase the soldiers' safety.

And, secondly, it is impossible to understand why the Pentagon, massive bureaucracy that it is, still cannot -- 12 months after being required to -- figure out a way to reimburse these families.

The AP reported Pentagon officials opposed the reimbursement idea, calling it "an unmanageable precedent that will saddle the DOD with an open-ended financial burden."

It seems to us the real "burden" in this case is on the men and women sent to Iraq to fight this war. They are the ones putting their lives on the line, and if they and their families feel they can add some assurance the soldiers will have greater protection while serving there, the government should pay the cost for that protection.
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