Any doubts that the nation is losing its heart and fiber were shooed away recently when the Pentagon disclosed that it was actually pondering the elimination of what is commonly known as “danger pay” for the men and women in the military. Danger pay, as the Department of Defense refers to it, is little compensation for risking life and limb in defense of this country and its citizens.
It won’t be dropped in all situations. The Pentagon identified 18 countries and five waterways where danger pay would be lifted for defense personnel, most of whom are paid precious little for what they do for their country anyway.
Forget that each president occupying the Oval Office since the days of Jimmy Carter has openly announced that members of the Armed Forces are not safe anywhere on the globe. Forget that incident after incident continues to underscore that declaration.
The Pentagon would want you to forget that. The savings, those behind this latest cut-the-budget scheme say, would amount to about $120 million annually. All branches of the military would lose the danger pay in any of the preselected countries and waterways.
Time would tell whether other countries would eventually be added to the Pentagon’s list. Count on it, though, in a political climate that is pushing the government deeper and deeper into mediocrity.
This might be the time to call members of Congress and tell them that under no circumstances should the pay of military personnel be cut. There is greater demand on these men and women today, not less, and reducing their pay - their ability to support themselves and their dependents - would be morally wrong.
Life is hard enough being thousands of miles from loved ones. We don’t need to make it any harder by making it more difficult for service personnel and their families to survive.