Friday, June 7, 2013

The True Cost of Military Benefits

I'm sure by now you have all heard of Ketchupgate.  It was the response to a Washington Post article describing the militaries lavish benefits and why it's not big deal to cut them.  And while I understand cuts need to be made, that's is not what upset me about the article.

What upset me was the idea that military families are some sort of burden to the US public and that our service members have not earned the benefits they have in the same way others might at their jobs.  The only real difference to me is that no one seems to remember what paid for these "lavish" benefits military families have.  And that is a price that civilians aren't willing to pay.

While you can complain that your tax dollars paid for someones healthcare, consider what earned those benefits.  Someone woke up one day and pledged their LIFE to their country.  Their life.  Not 20 years for some healthcare.  Not a few extra days away from their families for cheaper groceries.  The benefits our military families are receiving have a heavy price tag indeed, it's not financial.

Consider that for a moment.  My husband agreed to pay with his life.  Up to and including the blood that beats through his heart.  And while he did come home alive, at what cost?  What cost did he pay for his nation?  So I read the article in the Washington Post and I have to ask the author: What are you willing to give for healthcare?  For 14 types of ketchup and a steady paycheck?

My husband knew the cost of his choice.  I knew the cost of mine when I married him.  But does that negate the actual cost?  Does knowing you might die mean you have no right to feel that the cost might be too high?  Does knowing your life is what you might give up for others mean that your nation has no need to take care of you?

If we can care for the sick and the tired and the poor, why not the valiant and the honorable and the widows and the retirees?  There are people screaming at the idea of cutting welfare and WIC benefits, but who is advocating for our military?  Who is shouting that the price they pay and their families pay is more than enough?

My husband gave up so much.  He lost so much.  And while this journalist is crying about the benefits he receives, he is not considering the cost.  The true cost.  The actual cost that our military pays every generation, as a debt to a nation that doesn't seem to care.


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