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AT&T’s sponsorship of overseas troop calling cards

I picked up this news release from AT&T earlier:

Phone home. For most U.S. troops stationed overseas, it’s at the top of their to-do list. To help keep them connected with loved ones and celebrate Independence Day, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is donating 10,000 prepaid phone cards. This is the second installment of more than 30,000 prepaid phone cards that AT&T will give to U.S. service men and women in 2008. With a retail value of more than $200,000, the 2008 donation builds on more than 85 years of AT&T support for U.S. military families and a 20-year partnership with the USO, which will distribute the cards.

I suppose if you’re stationed in Germany with next to no immediate danger of getting blown up, this is perfectly fine.

I have a real problem with offering serving men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan ‘free’ calls to celebrate Independence Day when, really, this sort of thing should be free, right? I mean entirely free. You want to phone home? You’re defending the US? No problem at all. AT&T is your pal. It’s free. Surely this is the sort of thing that patriotic businesses in the States do?

Or at least, I’d hope it is. I doubt it though.

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