Paying for the Privilege
All those careless soldiers being sent over to Iraq are losing and damaging government equipment, and they must be made to pay or they'll have their credit ruined.
That's the present policy, anyway:
Servicemen and women who made huge sacrifices fighting in the war and now paying yet another price, even after coming home.
One soldier in particular is currently battling against a new "debt of service."
Brian Rodriguez is a fighter, an honorably discharged soldier who'd been deployed in Iraq.
"I was a combat engineer," Rodriguez said. "We deal with land mines, explosives."
He fought for his nation, only to return to his homeland and wage a fresh battle.
Former Army Specialist Rodriguez started getting bills for $700 for lost or damaged government property this summer. Although he was discharged some four years ago, bills recently arrived demanding payment, but giving no details on what or why -- nor do they offer a way to dispute the charges.
"For doing my job you're going to bill me?" Rodriguez said.
And he's not alone. A 2006 government report found more than 1,000 soldiers being billed a total of $1.5 million. And while fighting overseas put their lives on the line, this battle on paper could cost them their future by ruining their credit. Rodriguez will be reported to credit agencies next month.