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Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Federal budget

Commissaries not the place to cut

I was dismayed when I read Tom Philpott's Friday column, "Pentagon requests plan to close commissaries" in the United States. The first thing the Pentagon, Congress and yes, the present administration think of is how we save by reducing the cost of providing a normal life for our veterans and current military members and their families.
I haven't heard any of the above say, "We could save millions by reducing the cost of our congressional members and their staffs. They have very long vacations and recesses, costing millions. Of course it's easy to say "How can we save?" and reply, "Oh, yes, there's the military commissaries, which cost $1.4 billion worldwide; there are 247 stores. Our active duty and retired members of the military use these stores and make their lives less stressful.
Don't they remember that military members and their families suffer when the military member is in combat or on long trips away from their families. Even death of some members occur.
I can remember during World War II, I saw my family for only about two months, during four deployments. I assume the same happens to present-day military members.
During the rest of my 20 years of service, I was gone on deployments while my wife and son were left alone. I sympathize with the present-day servicemen and women in Afghanistan as their enemy may be standing next to them. Everyone needs to remember the deployed member has expenses and their families have to pay rent, have transportation and have to feed their children in most cases.
I wish the Congress, Pentagon and administration could tell me and military persons why they think of the military first.
Just maybe, some of the non-essential members mentioned during the government shutdown should be reduced to help with the government budget.
Ernest Arnold
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