The article “Insult to Injury: New data reveal an alarming trend: Vets’ disabilities are being downgraded” by Linda Robinson gives an insight on the devastation faced by injured American soldiers while on combat. Using the case of the twenty-six year old Marine sergeant, Fred Ball, as an example, the author argues that the United States military has allotted low disability ratings in many instances to its injured service men and women (Robinson, page 1). The military has done this with the intention of staying away from paying them their full military disabled retirement benefits. The article arouses feelings of pity or compassion (pathos), has a logical appeal (logos), and the character or personality of the writer makes it to be believable (ethos).

Robinson uses pathos to her advantage in the article as she tries to evoke the feelings of pity or compassion so as to persuade the readers to reason with her. Robinson introduces the article by taking the readers to the battleground in which a military service member known as Fred Ball sustained serious injuries. More so, the title of the article, “Insult to Injury,” evokes feelings of pity even before one reads it. Robinson informs the audience about the difficulties that Ball is forced to endure. She says, “The tremors that he experienced after the blast are back, he can hardly walk, and he has trouble using a pencil or a fork” (page 1, para. 3).

She also points at the hardships that Ball is facing. For example, “he gets $337 every month, has no medical cover, he works 16-hour shifts, and has gone into debt to cover his $1,600 monthly mortgage” (Robinson, para. 3). The sad story of the predicaments of Fred Ball appeals to the readers about the seriousness of the issue. Robinson uses pathos to reveal that the system of rating wounded military service members is ambiguous and riddled with inconsistencies. The author appeals to the public through using realistic examples of people who had been forced to endure pain because of downgrading of their disabilities to a lower status. The use of pathos in the article inspires a sense of pity regarding the condition of the veterans whose rights have been abused. Logos, which is an appeal to reason, is employed in the article so as to make its message to be credible and easy to understand.

In an effort to draw a logical argument about how complicated the problem is, the writer gives the findings of U.S. News to this effect. She notes that the disability ratings process done by the Physical Evaluation Boards in various branches is not straightforward as many soldiers are being unfairly downgraded for their disabilities so that they cannot seek for full compensation of their dues. She uses facts and data to back up her argument.

For example, she says that “since 2000, 92.7 percent of the disability ratings handed out by PEBs have been 20 percent or lower, according to Pentagon data analyzed by the Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission, which Congress formed in 2004 to look into veterans’ complaint”(page 2, para.3). This implies that few veterans have been able to earn the full compensation because of injuries sustained. Interestingly, she reveals that the amount of money that has been given out to veterans during the time that the United States has been at war and during times of peace has not changed. In addition, she also gives other data from experts and authorities to expose the inconsistencies in the military services.

Robinson uses this technique of logical appeal to argue out her point; therefore, this makes her message to be credible. Finally, ethos, being the appeal to the character of the author, is demonstrated in the article so as to illustrate the writer’s reliability, competency, and respect for the readers’ ideas and values. The writer of the article, Linda Robinson, is a reporter working with U.S. News, which is a credible source of informing the public about various issues taking place in the country. More so, Robinson has written widely on a number of related issues.

In the article, she exhibits respect for multiple viewpoints by quoting other reliable information sources and even though she is presenting a delicate matter, she uses a tone that is appropriate for the readers by properly choosing her words. For example, she quotes a March 2006 report by the Government Accountability Office that revealed “Pentagon officials are not even trying to get a handle on the problem” (page 5, para. 1). She shays that the report blatantly concluded that military system’s internal oversight mechanism is not functioning and that there is ambiguity in applying the ratings schedule (page 5, para. 1, 5).

The article does not have complicated words that can impair the message she wanted to pass across. Her use of appropriate level of grammar and correct vocabulary makes the article presentable and professional in manner.

Works cited

Robinson, Linda. “Insult to Injury: New data reveal an alarming trend: Vets’ disabilities are being downgraded.” Nation & World. U.

S. News. 4 Oct.

2007. Web. 17 Nov. 2010.


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