Doing the Troops Wrong

The following is a must read column by Bob Herbert of the New York Times. Here is the jist:

At the top of the list of no-brainers in Washington should be Senator Jim Webb€™s proposed expansion of education benefits for the men and women who have served in the armed forces since Sept. 11, 2001. … Senator Webb, a Virginia Democrat, has been the guiding force behind this legislation, which has been dubbed the new G.I. bill. The measure is decidedly bipartisan. Mr. Webb€™s principal co-sponsors include Republican Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and John Warner of Virginia, and Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey…. Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are on board, as are Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, and Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House.

Who wouldn€™t support an effort to pay for college for G.I.€™s who have willingly suited up and put their lives on the line, who in many cases have served multiple tours in combat zones and in some cases have been wounded? We did it for those who served in World War II. Why not now? Well, you might be surprised at who is not supporting this effort. The Bush administration opposes it, and so does Senator John McCain.
George W. Bush: Vindictive to those Who Truly Served
For some unfathomable reason George W. Bush, though constantly saying he is fully supportive and in sympathy with his troops, constantly leaves them short. Short of manpower to take on the invasion of Iraq. Short of the equipment to protect the troopers on the frontline. Way short of the aid to wounded veterans, playing the reverse of the mortgage scam – lavish help in Iraq which then quickly peters away when the troopers return home and the test of time and recovery puts a $ bill on the administration. Short of the tough diplomacy need to control and curtail this conflict. But short of fully respecting and supporting those who served on the frontlines … an opportunity he missed.

As for John McCain … now that the cat is out of the bag, expect a reversal of position in the coming weeks. I know George W. does not have a 5th of conscience; but I expect John McCain does.

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