Dead Men Collect No Pensions: The Debt to Our Warriors, Part I


le 06/01/2016 à 06:02


Traditionally, we Indians honor warriors. We honor not only our own warriors but also our adversaries when they act with honor as well as courage.

The dominant culture has a mixed record in looking after warriors when the war is over. Trying to put warriors back in the position they would have occupied had they not gone to war is not awarding them an honor. It’s a partial payment of our debt to them.

The United States got off to a bad start when pay of Revolutionary War soldiers was suspended during the war, in 1777, because the value of the “Continental” dollar was declining so rapidly as to make the currency near worthless anyway.

After independence was won in 1783, paying its soldiers quickly fell off the agenda of the new nation.

Revolutionary War officers formed an officers-only lobby called the Order of Cincinnati to get what they had been promised—half pay for life if they served for the duration. When it became clear the money was not there, George Washington brokered a compromise, a bond worth five years pay at maturity. Most officers sold their bonds at deep discounts and ordinary soldiers got nothing.


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