The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Bonus Army, historical precidents for future actions?

I remembered something I had read a long time ago when I was reading on Douglas MacArthur and some of the other senior officers that served in WWII that during the time of the great depression, the U.S. Army was used to evict an army of veterans from WWI that was demanding their bonus payout from service in WWI, it was called the Bonus Army.  I saw a video of this that was sent to me and I figured it would go well with the debate if the Military would move against the American people.  One thing I did take from this video was the fact that many of the military used the *Dienst ist Dienst* defense, the same thing that was argued by the Senior German officers at Nuremburg.  The term basically means that it is my job or my duty to carry out the orders of those appointed over me.   I am not comparing the U.S. Military to the Nazi's...but there are those in the military ranks that would blindly follow orders even though they may be illegal or immoral orders that are against the U.S. Constitution and the UCMJ.  Remember the sudden removal of officers for malfeasance that seemed to be cropping up like weeds lately...Are there soo many officers that have issues with their moral compass  which says something about the class and caliber of officers holding jobs.  Or are they being removed to place more politically reliable officers in positions of authority.  I remember when I was in the service, we were told to obey the orders of those appointed over us except if was an illegal or an immoral order that conflicted against the UCMJ, The rules of Land Warfare or against our moral code.  I wonder if this is still stressed or has it been removed due to the political climate.  I don't know.   This and several other videos are available on "Youtube".  It is something to consider.  I do know this incident was considered a "black" eye to the U.S. Army and the officers involved.

The Bonus Army was the popular name of an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and affiliated groups—who gathered in Washington, D.C., in the spring and summer of 1932 to demand cash-payment redemption of their service certificates. Its organizers called it the Bonus Expeditionary Force to echo the name of World War I's American Expeditionary Force, while the media called it the Bonus March. It was led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant.
Many of the war veterans had been out of work since the beginning of the Great Depression. The World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924 had awarded them bonuses in the form of certificates they could not redeem until 1945. Each service certificate, issued to a qualified veteran soldier, bore a face value equal to the soldier's promised payment plus compound interest. The principal demand of the Bonus Army was the immediate cash payment of their certificates.
Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, one of the most popular military figures of the time, visited their camp to back the effort and encourage them. On July 28, U.S. Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the veterans removed from all government property. Washington police met with resistance, shots were fired and two veterans were wounded and later died. Veterans were also shot dead at other locations during the demonstration. President Herbert Hoover then ordered the army to clear the veterans' campsite. Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur commanded the infantry and cavalry supported by six tanks. The Bonus Army marchers with their wives and children were driven out, and their shelters and belongings burned.
A second, smaller Bonus March in 1933 at the start of the Roosevelt Administration was defused in May with an offer of jobs for the Civilian Conservation Corps at Fort Hunt, Virginia, which most of the group accepted. Those who chose not to work for the CCC by the May 22 deadline were given transportation home. In 1936, Congress overrode President Franklin D. Roosevelt's veto and paid the veterans their bonus years early.

1 comment:

  1. If they don't unscrew the retired military pay issue, it well could be...


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