Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Observations Why John McCain Is Absolutely Wrong About The New GI Bill

Memorial Day is a day to honor our military veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. But John McCain and President Bush really don't get it. Their rhetoric is pro service and full of flag waving but their actions are entirely something else.

Take the new GI Bill debate that centers around John McCain and the president's opposition based on what they say would make be making the benefits to good. Too good? If passed, they argue, many would leave the service to take advantage of the new programs thus creating a shortage of troops that the government needs and had spend millions to train.

One of my favorite contenders for the VP spot is Senator Jim Webb, the primary Democratic Sponsor of the bill, who argues that the benefits the bill provides are substantively no different than those offered in GI bill legislation that followed WWII, Korea, or the Vietnam war conflicts. The question that should be asked is why should today's soldiers be short changed when it comes to their post military benefits just because the present administration has badly mismanaged the use of our military.

Most statistics on current war casualties indicate that military personnel fortunate enough to return have been damage severely in mind and body by their initial and continuing misuse by this administration in a stupid and unnecessary war. Webb is only attempting to put meat on the bones or our government's promise to these vets, instead of the Bush administration and Republican actual practice of using the military for political gain when they are unarguably really treating them like cannon-fodder.

The feisty Webb is no johnny-come-lately pandering politician attempting to increase his popularity by using the military as a crutch or backdrop ala all the phony Republican pols who voted against the bill or who take the Bush, Cheney and McCain position. McCain, in spite of all the bluster, failed to even show up to vote NO the bill. Webb is a Naval Academy graduate who served as a highly decorated Marine Corps infantry officer in Vietnam. He is a former Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan Administration and he was raised in a military family that includes a son who has seen service in Iraq.

In the video below Webb shows his exceptional knowledge of the military and GI Bill legislation and he argues that the McCain and Bush opposition to the Bill is not based on the facts. He further argues that retention rates will not be adversely effected based on his first hand and extensive knowledge of the actual statistics concerning retention rates in the military. In essence the historical statistics show that retention rates are generally the same no matter how great the GI Bill benefits have been in the past and that about 70% of military personnel only do one hitch before leaving the service to get on with their lives. There is no reason to believe that these patterns would change greatly under the new GI Bill.

So John McBush talks tough about his love of military personnel and how we should honor them but his actions are proof that it is only political mendacity.

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