As Congress just passed a bill, stopping the government shutdown from happening just one day shy of their deadline, everyone seems to be talking about the implications should another government shutdown actually occur. The last such shutdown happened in 2013, and though they passed a bill to pay military personnel that year, that particular bill only applied to the year 2013. In case you didn’t know, the government is under no obligation to pay their military in the event of a military shutdown.
I was in the military, deployed to a combat zone in Afghanistan during the shutdown in 2013. We were still paid in full, but the fear lingered that one day we would check our bank accounts and see no extra numbers. Rumors (though unfounded and untrue) abounded that the bill wouldn’t apply to us for various reasons.
I have been asked several times what I thought about all that, and my answer? Well, to be honest I didn’t really care much back then.
I was 23 years old, on my fourth deployment in the middle of Afghanistan; I was going out on frequent special operations missions that required all of my faculties. I probably checked my bank account twice the whole time I was there. The principle of the thing bothered me to a certain degree (and in retrospect it bothers me a whole lot more), but I was never under any illusion that the politicians in D.C. actually cared about me a whole lot.