OTHER OPINION: Be careful about cutting military pay

The very idea that the U.S. military establishment would seek to reduce the pay of soldiers, sailors, marines or any other member of the military is unthinkable. Yet, that is exactly what is being proposed in Washington as a way to save what, in overall military expenditure terms, is small change at $120 million a year. Americans everywhere should voice opposition to this ill-advised idea.

It seems we can’t get through a few months without someone suggesting cuts to military pay, benefits, retirement, veterans’ benefits, health care or some other compensation paid to our service men and women and our veterans.

Military leaders are considering cutting “danger pay” for personnel deployed on active duty to a large number of countries and regions, including the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. The extra pay amounts to $225 per month per deployed individual.

We are not saying military leaders don’t care about the safety of military personnel. But cutting military pay or benefits in any way is unacceptable. Only 1 percent of Americans serve in our military to protect our nation, guarantee our freedom and react to threats and emergencies, and conduct military operations throughout the world. That is a staggering responsibility.

All military personnel deployed away from U.S. soil are making a huge personal and family sacrifice.

We watch the news with frustration as other government agencies waste huge amounts of taxpayer dollars, such as recent revelations of Internal Revenue Service officials spending millions on lavish conventions and spending large sums on childish videos. We see billions of American taxpayer dollars given to foreign governments, some of which hate us, and yet we try to save money by cutting military personnel pay? There is something very wrong with this picture.

We urge military leaders, Congress and the White House to look elsewhere for budgetary savings. We owe our all-volunteer military a lot more than $225 a month extra pay for being deployed away from U.S. soil.

Jackson Sun (Jackson, Tenn.)