Supporting our hero soldiers…

This could really make you cry:

He lost his arm serving his country in Iraq.

Now this wounded soldier is being discharged from his company in Fort Hood, Texas, without enough gas money to get home. In fact, the Army says 27-year-old Spc. Robert Loria owes it close to $2,000, and confiscated his last paycheck.


Like many soldiers wounded in Iraq, Loria’s injuries were caused by a roadside bombing. It happened in February when his team from the 588th Battalion’s Bravo Company was going to help evacuate an area in Baqubah, a town 40 miles north of Baghdad. A bomb had just ripped off another soldier’s arm. Loria’s Humvee drove into an ambush.

When the second bomb exploded, it tore Loria’s left hand and forearm off, split his femur in two and shot shrapnel through the left side of his body. Months later, he was still recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and just beginning to adjust to life without a hand, when he was released back to Fort Hood.

AFTER SEVERAL MORE MONTHS, the Army is releasing Loria. But “clearing Fort Hood,” as the troops say, takes paperwork. Lots of it.

Loria thought he’d done it all, and was getting ready to collect $4,486 in final Army pay.

Then he was hit with another bomb. The Army had another tally – of money it says Loria owed to his government.

A Separation Pay Worksheet given to Loria showed the numbers: $2,408.33 for 10 months of family separation pay that the Army erroneously paid Loria after he’d returned stateside, as a patient at Walter Reed; $2,204.25 that Loria received for travel expenses from Fort Hood back to Walter Reed for a follow-up visit, after the travel paperwork submitted by Loria never reached the correct desk. And $310 for missing items on his returned equipment inventory list.

“There was stuff lost in transportation, others damaged in the accident,” Loria said of the day he lost his hand. “When it went up the chain of command, the military denied coverage.”

[Via First Draft]

I read earlier today about the obscene amounts of money the Bush administration is soliciting for its inauguration. I can’t say exactly how it correlates to the tragedy described above — it just brought to mind the startling difference between the world of the architects of this war and those who are doing the fighting of it.

Mr. Bush’s inaugural committee, seeking to raise more than $40 million, a record, sent out hundreds of solicitations to the president’s biggest campaign contributors this week offering packages of party benefits and access to the president in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Even at a time of war when more than 138,000 American troops are serving in Iraq, the organizers say that the inaugural celebration at the end of the January will not be marked by any noticeable restraint and will cost more than any other in history.

That soldier lost his arm and can’t get home. And all this money — $40 million for a fucking party! — passing hands. I don’t know, something just seems off. Maybe it’s just me and my liberal conscience.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

$40 million — that’s $40,000 for every American soldier killed in Iraq.

December 10, 2004 @ 1:12 pm | Comment

Nope. Keep your conscience working.
It is a lack of anything close to a conscience that is being displayed by the GOP and the bush. Just another step in the direction of the bush/gop imperial presidency. Shame on them all, but principally on the bush for he is the CiC and he is not looking after his troops.

December 10, 2004 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

Your liberal conscience doesn’t seem to mind the amount of money the Democrats raised.

Overall, the amount of money spent was incredible.

December 14, 2004 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

Erik, so you’re telling us running for president costs a lot of money? Hold on a second, let me write that down!

Sheesh, what else is new? And what does that have to do with the way our war-loving leaders treated this poor dupe who gave his arm for…for nothing.

December 14, 2004 @ 2:07 pm | Comment

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