As we documented yesterday, the Obama administration has decided that the way to convince Americans that government is necessary is to make the shutdown as unpleasant as possible for the maximum number of citizens as possible. At first it was merely churlish: preventing America’s veterans from visiting monuments. Then it became vindictive: evicting people from their homes simply because they were located on leased land. Now it is simply disgusting: declining to pay the death gratuity for members of the armed forces killed in combat and not providing transportation for their bereaved families to Dover to witness the repatriation of their remains.
The man left to bear the shame of this disgrace is not some superpowered park service eunuch but Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
Now Hagel is not the sharpest tool in the shed, in fact, I’ve never heard of him described as, or criticized for, having a massive intellect. But it should have been obvious to even that dimmest of bulbs that serving the Obama administration, a group of yobs and yahoos with the morality and sense of propriety of a Borgia Pope, would inevitably end up with him selling his soul at a KMart blue light special. That day has arrived.
Not to put too fine a point on it, Hagel and the administration have blatantly lied to the nation when they have asserted that there is no authority for the Pentagon to either pay the $100K death gratuity or provide transportation for families.
Earlier this week, the Secretary of Defense ordered approximately 400,000 civilian workers back to duty.
The Secretary of Defense has broad authority to reprogram funds from one appropriation to another. It is done all the time. The only requirement is that the reprogramming have a statutory authority. While Congress ultimately has to approve transfers between line items, it is done routinely. One can’t imagine anyone on Capitol Hill, other than Harry Reid and Dick Durbin, objecting to such an action.
The money is there. The authority exists. The only reason that the authorization hasn’t been made is that the Administration has decided that the public will blame the Republicans for this travesty. This is very much in keeping with the low esteem with which the Democrat party has historically held members of the armed forces. This is the party of the Slow Bleed strategy in Iraq so their abuse of the families of the dead isn’t a huge shock.
On the positive side I bought Chuck Hagel’s soul for $1.99 and I used it to pick up my dog’s poop on this morning’s walk.