My anger know no bounds.
The bodies of five fallen American service members - four men, one woman - are returning home from Afghanistan in caskets, but the Department of Defense has notified the grieving families it cannot release any funds with which to bury these fallen Americans. Nor are there even funds available to bring the grieving families to meet the return of their loved ones from the battlefield when they arrive at Dover Air Force Base.
My God, what has this country come to? Where is the leadership - at the White House - at the Pentagon? In fitting military parlance, they are MIA - missing in action.
Not the President, nor the Secretary of Defense can blame Congress or the Republicans this time. When the government shutdown first began, Congress, in a rare bipartisan vote approved continuing to pay both our military their paychecks and benefits for their families. But the Department of Defense, when confronted with this shameful situation, proclaimed there was a loop hole in the legislation that prohibited it from providing the money that is promised to every military family to cover the burial of a fallen loved one. This is a deplorable display of bureaucratic doublespeak.
I doubt such a loop hole exists. My suspicion is the DOD was following White House edicts in order to impose greater pressure on Republicans in the House to capitulate and force them to yield to White House demands to send a "clean" continuing resolution (CR) bill to the Senate and reopen the government. It has backfired.
Americans are outraged as evidenced by tweets, angry calls to congressional offices and even Democrat pundits who have dropped their talking points long enough to question why such an ignominious decision could have been made by the Pentagon. And the man who is the Commander-in-Chief of everyone inside that geometrically famous five-sided building and all other Americans, has finally gone one step too far in the shutdown standoff. Instead of taking his much traveled and familiar road of placing blame on anyone and anything besides himself, Mr. Obama could have quickly quelled the outrage with one of his famous left-handed signatures. He could have issued an emergency order mandating the DOD provide the funds to bury the five fallen Americans with the same ease with which he has issued countless executive orders.
Mr. President, you deflected your responsibility. And worse, you have proved yourself to be a Commander-in-Chief with callous disregard for those who served under you and paid the ultimate price for their brave service.
Fortunately, other Americans have stepped into the void. Two patriotic groups are providing travel funds for grieving family members and burial funds for the fallen. The actions of these two groups have reignited pride in my country. Thank you and God Bless You.