Support (OR Why oppose the GI Bill?)

May 26, 2008

The NY Times offers a nice editorial about the new GI Bill and President Bush’s and Senator McCain’s opposition to it.

Their bill would pay full tuition and other expenses at a four-year public university for veterans who served in the military for at least three years since 9/11.

At that level, the new G.I. Bill would be as generous as the one enacted for the veterans of World War II, which soon became known as one of the most successful benefits programs — one of the soundest investments in human potential — in the nation’s history.

Mr. Bush — and, to his great discredit, Senator John McCain — have argued against a better G.I. Bill, for the worst reasons. They would prefer that college benefits for service members remain just mediocre enough that people in uniform are more likely to stay put.

Now, maybe it’s just me, but this doesn’t seem like “supporting our troops”. As the editorial indicates, the concerns center around the potential decrease in enlistment:

They have seized on a prediction by the Congressional Budget Office that new, better benefits would decrease re-enlistments by 16 percent.

But wait:

[T]he C.B.O. has also predicted that the bill would offset the re-enlistment decline by increasing new recruits — by 16 percent

So, let me see if I have this right…  we want to be permanently embroiled in military conflict which can, with some accuracy, be described as a civil war, overextending our resources and personnel, and put them in harm’s way for no apparent reason. In exchange, Republican leaders do not want to give them sufficient mental health care or an opportunity for a college education.

We won’t support them by bringing them home, and it seems that we’re promising to not support them when they get home.

And the President’s response? To claim he’s being misrepresented by the media.

One has to wonder how much like a petulant child President Bush would have sounded over the years had the media actually been doing their job and reporting some of the questionable things this administration has done.

My theory? Republican leadership don’t want to provide college education to soldiers (who seem to typically come from poor, undereducated populations) because college education will, ultimately, mean more liberals. But maybe I’m just in a conspiracy mode tonight.

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