Tuesday, May 27, 2008

McCain on the Wrong Side of GI Bill

what was he thinking?
mccain (and george bush, who also opposes the GI bill) obviously doesn't have any faith in the soldiers. he thinks they'd sign up for the military and bail after three years to go to college. even if they serve three years and go to college, that would be their right. obama supports the bill, sponsored by jim webb.

cnn: The bill, which passed the Senate last week 75-22, would expand education benefits for veterans who served at least three years in the military after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

A former Navy officer and prisoner of war during Vietnam, McCain says the bill would hurt military retention by 16 percent and be a disincentive for service members to become noncommissioned officers, which he called "the backbone of all the services." Democrats cite the Congressional Budget Office, whose figures say the expanded benefits would boost enlistment by 16 percent. Watch more of McCain's comments »

"I think John McCain has been outmaneuvered," said GOP strategist Ed Rollins, who had served as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign chairman. "Sometimes in politics, there are intellectual issues and emotional issues."

"John McCain is going against veterans groups; he is going against a constituency that should be his. ... But I think he is on the wrong side of this issue," Rollins said. "A lot of Republicans are voting for this, and I think to a certain extent as it moves forward there will be more and more. There will be tremendous pressure from veterans groups past and present and I think you will see a lot of bipartisan support for this as well." more

wesley clark makes the argument for why mccain is wrong:

The White House has voiced concern on the bill, arguing that if returning troops are offered a good education, they will choose college over extending their service. This is as offensive as it is absurd.

First, it is morally reprehensible to fix the system so that civilian life is unappealing to service members, in an attempt to force them to re-up. Education assistance is not a handout, it is a sacred promise that we have made for generations in return for service.

Second, falling military recruitment numbers are just as serious as retention problems. To send the message that this nation will not help you make the most of your life will dissuade a large number of our best and brightest from choosing military service over other career options.

McCain has made it a point to remind audiences that service to one's nation is bigger than one's self. Indeed, there is nothing more noble than risking your life for your country. Every day, Americans are doing just that, as they serve longer and more frequent deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.