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Budget, debt worries plague troops

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. John Nolan, 21, of Palm Bay Fla., with the 2nd Battalion 12th Marines based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, rides in the back of a wagon Saturday, July 30, 2011 while passing through the deserted Tangye Bazaar in Kajaki, Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    U.S. Marine Cpl. Patrick Ducey, 21, of Garfield, N.J., left, and Lance Cpl. Charlie Quintana, 22, of Manhattan, N.Y., both with the 2nd Battalion 12th Marines based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, rest for a moment while hiking down from a mountain top observation point in the midday heat Saturday, July 30, 2011 in Kajaki, Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    U.S. Marines with the 2nd Battalion 12th Marines based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, ride in the back of a wagon while shuttled back to base after descending from a mountain observation point Saturday, July 30, 2011 in Kajaki, Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan >> A half a world away from the Capitol Hill deadlock, the economy and debt crisis are weighing heavily on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

And the top question on their minds Saturday even as bombings rocked the city around them, was one the top U.S. military officer couldn’t answer: Will we get paid?

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told a group of soldiers that he doesn’t know.

He says he believes that the troops will eventually be paid what they are owed for their service. Still he acknowledges that waiting for their money would be difficult for troops who live paycheck to paycheck.

Questions on military spending and the how the ongoing budget struggles will impact them dominated Mullen’s meetings with U.S. service men and women.

 

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