Democrats & Liberals Archives

McCain is Champion of our Troops?

The senate passed the Webb-Hagel Bill. Webb is a Democrat and Hagel is a Republican. This bill is being called the GI Bill of the Twenty First Century. It will provide funds for returning Iraq GI’s to attend four years of college. And Senator John McCain is against it!

Everybody knows that college tuition is skyrocketing and the old GI Bill does not provide enough money. So Webb and Hagel got together and wrote this bill which would

...cover the full cost of in-state public tuition, room, board and supplies, while encouraging private institutions to help 21st-century vets with their education bills. In contrast, the current benefit -- the Montgomery GI Bill -- is capped over four years, leading critics to argue that it's insufficient to cover the ever-rising expense of a secondary education.

Webb, has been after McCain to become a sponsor thinking that McCain would naturally agree. No luck. When I first heard that McCain would not sponsor the bill I could not believe it. After all, McCain is part of a military family, a hero who suffered as a POW, and one who touts benefits for GIs at every turn.

When he gave the reason for his opposition, I was floored:

...McCain took to the Senate floor to blast the Webb-Hagel bill (S. 22) for discouraging troop retention -- a central fear for an all-volunteer military already stretched thin by two on-going conflicts.

"While I don't think anyone disagrees with the overall intent of S. 22," McCain said, "I believe we can and should do more to promote recruitment and retention of servicemen and women."

So he is against helping veterans too much because this may encourage GIs to leave the service! According to him, we should treat them miserably. Then they would stay in the service, since they have no better place to go.

McCain is no champion of our troops. Evidently, he does not care about the troops but the armed services. And war itself. He is truly a war-monger.

Posted by Paul Siegel at May 23, 2008 6:46 PM
Comments
Comment #253532

I tend to agree somewhat of what McCain is saying. We do need to attract more retention in our armed services. When I was in, a person going through the Navy’s Nuclear power program had to sign a contract for 6yrs of services, yet we do need to reward those who serve, the more service time hence the more college money. Fair to the tax payers and fair to the vet.

Posted by: KAP at May 23, 2008 9:02 PM
Comment #253538

Well, the 6 years was just the start, if you were to sign up for another 2, there was a lot of monetary incentive. After 8 years, it almost makes it silly not to go ahead and get the basic retirement…

The completion rate for that program is pretty small, btw. They do only accept the finest of the finest and then only the top 25-30% of those make it through graduation. I graduated but had knee problems before I could complete my 6 year agreement to get the additional incentives.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 23, 2008 10:31 PM
Comment #253539

That is an absurd and thoughtless statement from McCain. If the military is after retention then they should be working to make it worth an enlistees time to remain. In no way should they be slighted after having completed their contract. To use the premise of suppression to maintain a level of manpower is backwards thinking and IMO indicative of just how Bush like McCain really is.

Posted by: RickIL at May 23, 2008 10:33 PM
Comment #253548

Rhinehold:

Like Jimmy Carter? :) Glad to see you compliment one of our finest presidents.

Posted by: googlumpus at May 24, 2008 6:12 AM
Comment #253557

The military does give incentives to stay in. When I was in 35yrs ago they gave $10,000. for a six year commitment. I’m pretty sure it’s a lot more now, plus the pay each month and other benefits. It would’nt surprise me now that a recruit makeing $1500. a month.

Posted by: KAP at May 24, 2008 10:29 AM
Comment #253569

googlumpus,

Finest president? Sorry, that’s an absurd statement itself.

Jimmy Carter was a good and smart man. But he was not a good president.

Are you saying that I would make one of our finest presidents then? Should I be putting my name in at the Libertarian convention today?

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 24, 2008 1:35 PM
Comment #253570

“McCain is no champion of our troops. Evidently, he does not care about the troops but the armed services. And war itself. He is truly a war-monger.”
Posted by Paul Siegel at May 23, 2008 06:46 PM

Paul, here is an excerpt taken from McCain’s website in response to Obama. I find his reasoning totally acceptable. I completed my two years in the Army having been drafted in 1963 and used the G.I. Bill to complete my college education. I firmly believe in programs for those who have served their country in the armed forces as does Senator McCain. Your war-monger label is unfounded, obnoxious, hate-filled and baseless.

What exactly do you find so wrong with a sliding scale that rewards longer service with larger benefits? Let’s compare the Senator’s logic with that applied to our beloved Social Security. Should one who has paid, let’s say $20,000 into the fund for 20 years be entitled to the same benefit of one who has paid, Let’s say $45,000 for 45 years? If not, why not?

Would you care to defend how money accumulates in private pensions or within a 401k as being unfair? Those who contribute the most for the most years, get the most in benefits. It’s really quite simple Paul. You my friend, need to come up for some fresh air.

“I know that my friend and fellow veteran, Senator Jim Webb, an honorable man who takes his responsibility to veterans very seriously, has offered legislation with very generous benefits. I respect and admire his position, and I would never suggest that he has anything other than the best of intentions to honor the service of deserving veterans. Both Senator Webb and I are united in our deep appreciation for the men and women who risk their lives so that the rest of us may be secure in our freedom. And I take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans. And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did.

“The most important difference between our two approaches is that Senator Webb offers veterans who served one enlistment the same benefits as those offered veterans who have re-enlisted several times. Our bill has a sliding scale that offers generous benefits to all veterans, but increases those benefits according to the veteran’s length of service. I think it is important to do that because, otherwise, we will encourage more people to leave the military after they have completed one enlistment. At a time when the United States military is fighting in two wars, and as we finally are beginning the long overdue and very urgent necessity of increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps, one study estimates that Senator Webb’s bill will reduce retention rates by 16%.

“Most worrying to me, is that by hurting retention we will reduce the numbers of men and women who we train to become the backbone of all the services, the noncommissioned officer. In my life, I have learned more from noncommissioned officers I have known and served with than anyone else outside my family. And in combat, no one is more important to their soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, and to the officers who command them, than the sergeant and petty officer. They are very hard to replace. Encouraging people not to choose to become noncommissioned officers would hurt the military and our country very badly. As I said, the office of President, which I am seeking, is a great honor, indeed, but it imposes serious responsibilities. How faithfully the President discharges those responsibilities will determine whether he or she deserves the honor. I can only tell you I intend to deserve the honor if I am fo rtunate to receive it, even if it means I must take politically unpopular positions at times and disagree with people for whom I have the highest respect and affection.

“Perhaps, if Senator Obama would take the time and trouble to understand this issue he would learn to debate an honest disagreement respectfully. But, as he always does, he prefers impugning the motives of his opponent, and exploiting a thoughtful difference of opinion to advance his own ambitions. If that is how he would behave as President, the country would regret his election.”

Posted by: Jim M at May 24, 2008 2:01 PM
Comment #253571

If his recent campaign is any indication, McCain - like Bush II before him - will be the champion of communist rule.

How can I say that. I don’t want to - he’s retired Navy, like I am. But he wants to continue the same policies Bush has put in place, like TORTURE…and this that I saw today:

“To justify holding [the U.S. citizen], the government claimed a broad interpretation of the president’s wartime powers, one that goes beyond warrantless wiretapping or monitoring banking transactions. “Government lawyers told federal judges that the president can send the military into any U.S. neighborhood, capture a citizen and hold him in prison without charge, indefinitely.”

This is from today’s AP wire at http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=2008-05-24_D90S3UQ80&show_article=1&cat=breaking

And McCain doesn’t speak out against this? Does he cherish the Constitution at all? People, this is NO different from the Soviet Union that both he and I stood the line against…but if we’re to the point where we must act the same way that the Soviets did in order to remain in power, then we did NOT win the Cold War. THEY did.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at May 24, 2008 2:07 PM
Comment #253574

Glenn, thanks for the link. The time stamp is 5/24/08, 12:13 PM, EST. As of my writing that is about two hours ago. Has Obama responded yet? If not, why not?

Frankly, after reading the article it appears that this case is proceeding thru legitimate legal challenges and channels. What else would you expect?

Posted by: Jim M at May 24, 2008 2:34 PM
Comment #253580

(Dr. Parra)? …with all due respect, the records released on McCain, do not reflect more than he is “basically” in good health, and reoccurance of his melanomas don’t seem to be an issue. Nothing was released saying either what meds he is on…or is no longer on.
And I think your exaggeration of him having had “all” his bones broken in VietNam is pretty typical of the Rep. spin machine.

Posted by: janedoe at May 24, 2008 3:54 PM
Comment #253588

Rhinehold,

While I wouldn’t vote for you, I’d avow to your true blue Libertarian values.

Posted by: googlumpus at May 24, 2008 6:14 PM
Comment #253595

John McCain’s capture and imprisonment began on October 26, 1967. He was flying his twenty-third bombing mission over North Vietnam, when his A-4E Skyhawk was shot down by a missile over Hanoi.[34][35] McCain fractured both arms and a leg, and then nearly drowned when he parachuted into Trúc Bạch Lake in Hanoi.[34] After he regained consciousness, a mob attacked him, crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt, and bayoneted him;[34] he was then transported to Hanoi’s main Hoa Lo Prison, nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton”.[35]
becoming a POW[36] on October 26, 1967.
Interview with McCain on April 24, 1973, after his return home.Although McCain was badly wounded, his captors refused to treat his injuries, instead beating and interrogating him to get information.[37] Only when the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a top admiral did they give him medical care[37] and announce his capture. His status as a prisoner of war (POW) made the front pages of The New York Times[38] and The Washington Post.[39]

McCain spent six weeks in the Hoa Loa hospital while receiving marginal care.[34] Now having lost 50 pounds (23 kg), in a chest cast, and with his hair turned white,[34] McCain was sent to a different camp on the outskirts of Hanoi[40] in December 1967, into a cell with two other Americans who did not expect him to live a week.[41] In March 1968, McCain was put into solitary confinement, where he would remain for two years.[42]

In mid-1968, McCain’s father was named commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater, and McCain was offered early release.[43] The North Vietnamese wanted a worldwide propaganda coup by appearing merciful,[44] and also wanted to show other POWs that elites like McCain were willing to be treated preferentially.[43] McCain turned down the offer of repatriation; he would only accept the offer if every man taken in before him was released as well.[34]

In August of 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain.[45] McCain was subjected to repeated beatings and rope bindings, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery.[45] After four days, McCain made an anti-American propaganda “confession”.[34] He has always felt that his statement was dishonorable,[46] but as he would later write, “I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine.”[47] His injuries left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.[48] He subsequently received two to three beatings per week because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements.[49] Other American POWs were similarly tortured and maltreated in order to extract “confessions” and propaganda statements, with many enduring even worse treatment than McCain.[50]

McCain refused to meet with various anti-war groups seeking peace in Hanoi, not wanting to give either them or the North Vietnamese a propaganda victory.[51] From late 1969 on, treatment of McCain and many of the other POWs became more tolerable,[52] while McCain continued to be an active resister against the camp authorities.[53] McCain and other prisoners cheered the B-52-led U.S. “Christmas Bombing” campaign of December 1972 as a forceful measure to push North Vietnam to terms.[47][54]

Altogether, McCain was held as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years. He was finally released from captivity on March 14, 1973.[55] McCain’s return to the United States reunited him with his wife and family. His wife Carol had suffered her own crippling ordeal during his captivity, due to an automobile accident in December 1969.[56] As a returned POW, McCain became a celebrity of sorts.[56]

McCain underwent treatment for his injuries, including months of grueling physical therapy,[57] and attended the National War College in Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. during 1973–1974.[56][17] By late 1974 McCain had his flight status reinstated,[56] and in 1976 he became commanding officer of a training squadron stationed in Florida.[56][58] He turned around a mediocre unit and won the squadron its first Meritorious Unit Commendation.[57] During this period, the McCains’ marriage began to falter;[59] he would later accept blame.[59]

McCain served as the Navy’s liaison to the U.S. Senate, beginning in 1977.[60] He would later say it represented “[my] real entry into the world of politics and the beginning of my second career as a public servant”.[56] McCain played a key behind-the-scenes role in gaining congressional financing for a new supercarrier against the wishes of the Carter administration.[61][57]

In 1979,[57] McCain met and began a relationship with Cindy Lou Hensley, a teacher from Phoenix, Arizona, the only child of the founder of Hensley & Co.[59] By then McCain’s naval career had stalled;[62] it was unlikely he would be promoted further,[57] because he had poor annual physicals and had been given no major sea command.[62]

His wife Carol accepted a divorce in February of 1980,[57] effective in April of 1980.[21] The settlement included two houses, and financial support for her ongoing medical treatments resulting from the 1969 automobile accident; they would remain on good terms.[59] McCain and Hensley were married on May 17, 1980.[12] McCain retired from the Navy on April 1, 1981,[63] as a captain,[64] and headed west to Arizona. His military awards include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross, and National Order of Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam).[65][66][67][68]


House and Senate career, 1982–2000. A Quote from wikipedia.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 24, 2008 7:58 PM
Comment #253601

Does anyone have any idea what “Dr Parra” is referring to when he comments on McCain’s drug addiction? Apparently, “At the direction of Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Obama campaign members are attacking Sen. John McCain’s medication usage insinuating that McCain previous medications somehow harmed him.” Guess I didn’t get the word about this insidious campaign, despite my pro-Obama leanings. And after googling variations on McCain’s drug addiciton, I can’t find anything at all, so it would seem no one else has gotten the word either. Of course, “Dr Parra” knows this information came “at the direction” of Obama, which is a really amazing inside scoop. I mean, Wow! You’d think Obama would NOT share a secret plan for a smear strategy with “Dr Parra” and others of such a mind, yet “Dr Parra,” a beacon of honesty and fairness in these troubled times, has the inside skinny and says it is so, so it must be true!

Posted by: phx8 at May 24, 2008 11:08 PM
Comment #253604

To ‘Dr. Parra’.

John McCain is a bona fide war hero, no doubt. BUT that is NOT a qualification to be a president. Like you, I am retired military - but I will NOT allow myself to be prejudiced for or against anyone based on military service or the lack thereof -

- with one exception, that being those servicemembers who don’t show up for muster and stay gone for thirty days or more. You know what that makes them…and we’ve got one as our president right now.

With all due respect, sir (yes, I was enlisted, not commissioned), I recommend that you bear in mind that it was the Founding Fathers who decided the military must be subject to civilian control - they included NO requirement that military service must be a prior qualification to any political office including that of Commander-in-Chief (and I strongly doubt the proposition never crossed their minds). Their wisdom, sir, has stood the test of time…and I trust them much more than I trust a war hero who flip-flopped on torture and doesn’t feel that three years’ enlistment is enough to warrant educational benefits.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at May 24, 2008 11:39 PM
Comment #253630

IMO yes Glenn 3 years of service does warrant some benefits but not as much as a man or woman who spent 4 years or more in service.

Posted by: KAP at May 25, 2008 2:13 PM
Comment #253656

What pork, clarancec? I didn’t see any pork.
Please explain your comments.

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 26, 2008 8:34 AM
Comment #253688

Weary Willie, clarencec was banned from this site many, many moons ago and has never had his privileges restored. His comments will be deleted as they arrive and are viewed.

Dr. Para and the “Lt.Col.” were banned as well. No point in asking them anything, their replies will be deleted.

Posted by: Managing Editor at May 26, 2008 8:54 PM
Comment #253690

KAP -

Four years of service is worth more than three? It’s not so easy, friend.

That would mean someone going into the Coast Guard and sent to Hawaii for most of four years would be eligible for benefits that a three-year Marine with a tour on the front lines in Baghdad couldn’t receive.

And which is more deserving?

The key, KAP, is when someone enlists, they do so with the full knowledge that in time of war, they do NOT have to be discharged when their time is up - just ask the thousands of soldiers and Marines who got to learn the hard way what ‘stop-loss’ meant.

And does that mean a Coast Guard stint is easy if he’s sent to Hawaii? Not if he’s on a cutter that’s sent to do hunt armed drug runners off the South American coast….

KAP, I have no idea what your military experience may or may not be…and I WAS going to say that it’s obvious that you’re not retired military since you want to make a distinction based on whether one served three or four years…

…but McCain made the same mistake. Just goes to show that one can be retired military and a bona fide war hero and still get it wrong concerning the military….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at May 26, 2008 9:32 PM
Comment #253695

Glenn
I had 2 tours in Nam yet I still think a man or women serving in the armed forces get their educational benefits on time served, not all military personnel are serving in a war zone today. I spent 14 years in thye Navy, does that give me special privilages over a man or women that only spent 4? We all take a chance when joining the armed forces that a war may errupt. The naval ships in the persian gulf, I guess by your summation would be like the Coast Guard because they are not actually in a war zone Unless your a pilot on a carrier doing bombing runs.

Posted by: KAP at May 26, 2008 9:59 PM
Comment #253703
GI Bill of the Twenty First Century

BTW, the name of the bill is irrelevant in all discussions. The ‘bill’ that removed the ability for American Banks to transfer American Citizen’s funds into online gambling sites (and then listed poker as gambling instead of a game of skill) was attached to the ‘Protect the Ports’ bill.

It’s all politican bullshit that is only used by partisan hacks.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 26, 2008 11:38 PM
Comment #253716

One of the reasons my step son is going in to the Coast Guard is the current GI Bill. It’s already a good deal. You pay $1200 you get $40k.

But that’s not all. The State is going to give him another $5,500 per year, $7,500 if he goes into science, and more on top of that if he decides to be a teacher. And then there are all of the loan repayment and debt forgiveness plans plus private scholarships for all occasions. There are strings attached to all of these of course; it wouldn’t be the government if there weren’t.

If you increase the benefit of the GI Bill I don’t think it will change the % of students taking advantage of the program. It will simply increase the usage of this federal program and decrease the usage of other federal, private and state programs. Taking a bucket of water out of the deep end and pouring in to the shallow. McCain’s argument against seems hollow, but the emotional pleas from the other side are just as empty.

Posted by: George in SC at May 27, 2008 4:53 AM
Comment #253733

KAP -

FYI, I’ve been one of those sailors on a carrier in the Persian Gulf many times, and while I have stories that are better left unsaid here, I can tell you with certainty that the Marines who have been in combat on patrol in Baghdad for even ONE patrol are every bit as deserving of educational benefits as career sailors who saw NO combat over twenty-year careers…and most career sailors NEVER see combat (FYI, you mentioned Navy pilots, but they make up a VERY small minority).

I’m assuming that you saw combat in your two tours in Nam…and it’s hard for me to imagine that you can’t agree with what I’ve just said. I never saw combat - came close a few times, but I looked and listened enough to know that the only ones who can know what combat is like are the ones who’ve been there…and who often have to deal with a lifetime of bad memories and nightmares because of it.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at May 27, 2008 11:21 AM
Comment #253743

Just a comment from the peanut gallery here…never having experienced first-hand military service. I lived through the VietNam era and said goodbye to a lot of friends and acquaintances, some forever, so I do know that loss is loss, be it a life, or a limb. I think it’s pretty difficult to choose a branch of service, or a duty that can guarantee no combat situation, or exposure. It’s the chance that’s taken and it’s taken with eyes open and acceptance.
I firmly believe there should be no difference for the enlistee who was fortunate enough to avoid a combat situation. Time served, is time served and all should be thanked in as many ways possible for the willingness to do that.
My thanks to all who have served, and continue to do so today!!

Posted by: janedoe at May 27, 2008 1:49 PM
Comment #253748

I AM a combat veteran. A “SKY SOLDIER” in Viet Nam.

I think all of you are looking at this the wrong way. I considered it a PRIVILEDGE to serve my country. Although I come from a lower middle income family, I didn’t serve with any financial reward in mind. As an E-6 S/SGT, with combat pay and jump pay I think my monthly pay was something like $375 per month.

I served a 6 year commitment to my country out of love and honor, not for a college education or a guaranteed home loan.

Posted by: BOHICA at May 27, 2008 3:52 PM
Comment #253752

BOHICA -

Yes, out of love and honor. That is good. You should also know better than most, then, that a young soldier or Marine who’s just come off a combat tour has (in addition to dodging bullets fired by the other side’s combat vets who are trying to kill him) seen and done things that a career sailor like myself never dreamed in my worst nightmares.

How that is somehow undeserving of educational benefits upon his return is beyond me.

Was the U.S. government wrong, then, to give the G.I. bill to all the millions who served from WWII to 1956? About eight million veterans took advantage of it. Do you remember the long-term economic benefit we received from having what then became the most highly educated population in the world?

You know as well as I that for most young men who come into the service, it’s their first real job. You also know that once someone’s served, they see things in a whole new way, that they usually have a better understanding of what to complain about, and what not to complain about.

You also know as well as I do that college graduates earn more money (and pay more taxes) than those who don’t finish college.

I see NO argument on this board that in the least proves that giving educational benefits to a three-year combat vet is somehow unpatriotic and bad for America…except that McCain (who was against and is now FOR torture) and your Neo-Con military contractor lobbyists tell you that it is.

One last thing - the first G.I. Bill that gave the BEST benefits was passed UNANIMOUSLY by Congress, and approved by a president who had four sons who were all commissioned and who were all decorated on merit for bravery.

Many who served in WWII never saw combat and served less than three years - yet what did America do for them? Was that somehow a bad thing?

Why can’t we follow the example of “The Greatest Generation” instead of quibbling over whether three years is enough to warrant the educational benefits that will certainly boost the entire country’s economy as the decades go by?

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at May 27, 2008 4:27 PM
Comment #253756

Glenn
Yes I did see combat. Both ships that I was on got shelled by shore batteries it was not a fun experience. But like BOHICA, I served because I wanted to and because I love this country not because of benefits after service. As JFK said at his innagural “ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU, BUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY” to bad so many forget. IMO the Webb-Hagel bill is a nice jesture but late in comming. Something like that should have been implimented at the beginning of this country and ammended as time went by. But like I said before I still think benefits should be commensurate with time SERVED.

Posted by: KAP at May 27, 2008 5:01 PM
Comment #253759

Time in service? Time in grade? The longer you are in, the better the treatment, pay, retirement and “perks.” Education should be no different.

“I served a 6 year commitment to my country out of love and honor”

I served 10 here, Bo. Shame some people just don’t get that reasoning anymore.

Posted by: kctim at May 27, 2008 5:19 PM
Comment #253775

“Yes, out of love and honor. That is good. You should also know better than most, then, that a young soldier or Marine who’s just come off a combat tour has (in addition to dodging bullets fired by the other side’s combat vets who are trying to kill him) seen and done things that a career sailor like myself never dreamed in my worst nightmares.”


Yep, I imagine so.


“How that is somehow undeserving of educational benefits upon his return is beyond me.”


I was entitled to and used the GI bill for educational benefits. I didn’t go into the army for the benefits, but they sure were nice and I thank my country for them.

Look Glen, You did the job you were trained to do and I did the job I was trained to do. My job took me into harm’s way a lot more than yours, however, I couldn’t do my job without people doing your job. As a team we can defeat just about any enemy.


” Was the U.S. government wrong, then, to give the G.I. bill to all the millions who served from WWII to 1956? About eight million veterans took advantage of it. Do you remember the long-term economic benefit we received from having what then became the most highly educated population in the world?”

Nope, and neither McCain nor I want to eliminate the GI Bill. It’s a matter of perportion. While it’s true that I spent a lot of time “dodging bullets” (I threw my share at them too), I was out after my 6 years. I went back to civilian life and left the war to others. Some of those others served multiple tours in Viet Nam. Some went on to Bosnia and Granada. Are you saying that they shouldn’t be given more benefits than a basic soldier like me?


“You know as well as I that for most young men who come into the service, it’s their first real job. You also know that once someone’s served, they see things in a whole new way, that they usually have a better understanding of what to complain about, and what not to complain about.”


I’ll concede that, but I don’t see what it has to do with the topic.


“You also know as well as I do that college graduates earn more money (and pay more taxes) than those who don’t finish college.”


Yep, That’s common sense in most cases.


“I see NO argument on this board that in the least proves that giving educational benefits to a three-year combat vet is somehow unpatriotic and bad for America…except that McCain (who was against and is now FOR torture) and your Neo-Con military contractor lobbyists tell you that it is.”


I don’t think anyone is saying that giving 3 year combat vets is unpatriotic. What people are saying is that the longer you serve the better your benefits should be. Your childish comment about McCain was somewhat off topic.


“One last thing - the first G.I. Bill that gave the BEST benefits was passed UNANIMOUSLY by Congress, and approved by a president who had four sons who were all commissioned and who were all decorated on merit for bravery.”


What emotion is that supposed to invoke? I was non-commissioned and decorated with a bronze star and arcom with “v” device for valor. I wouldn’t approve of Obama’s version of the bill.


“Many who served in WWII never saw combat and served less than three years - yet what did America do for them? Was that somehow a bad thing?

Why can’t we follow the example of “The Greatest Generation” instead of quibbling over whether three years is enough to warrant the educational benefits that will certainly boost the entire country’s economy as the decades go by?”


It’s a matter of money and a matter of commitment by our soldiers. A million dollars isn’t enough to get my back into combat. A call from my country will do what money can’t do. Most people I’ve known and fought with had this same attitude.

Posted by: BOHICA at May 27, 2008 9:15 PM
Comment #253827

Why does McCain assert that his experience as a Senator and POW qualifies him more than Obama or Clinton as a foreign policy president?

Does that mean murderers and rapists would make better Cabinet members in a McCain administration than law abiding citizens? All three candidates are Senators, and only one has years and years of experience in the the old school Senate of corruption and government bribery and blackmail. Is that a qualification that betters McCain qualifications over Obama or Nader, Clinton or McEnulty?

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 28, 2008 5:08 PM
Comment #253831

David,

That’s a cheap shot at McCain and you know it. It’s not even on topic. I expected better from you.

Posted by: BOHICA at May 28, 2008 5:43 PM
Comment #253835

If McCain was really worried about retaining soilders he should get rid of Blackwater and the rest of the privatized forces, thats where they are going insteading of reenlisting.

Myself I think that if you were in the military and served the term you committed to, whether it be 2, 3,4 or 6 years, and was honorably discharged you should get the same benefits as any one else who served. Those that were drafted during the vietnam era served 2 years most in a war zone, surelt they would be entitled to the same benefits as someone serving 8 years. What you MOS is/was is insignificent IMHO as far as benefits are concerned. It takes a team to run the military and any infantryman who thinks he doesnt need those hauling supplies, fixing vehicles and keeping records is mistaken.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 28, 2008 6:59 PM
Comment #253859

Bo -

“It’s a matter of money”. Your words…and quite accurate.

No, I’m not ignoring the rest of what you said…but I ask you - with the exception of Vocational Rehab already in place for those who are wounded or otherwise disabled, exactly what benefits are there in McCain’s plan that give any educational benefits whatsoever to those who serve only three years?

Are there any?

But let’s go back to “It’s a matter of money”, and let’s look at that. You know as well as I do how the military - and especially the Army - has had to boost pay, bonuses, and benefits far beyond anything you and I saw…and they’re meeting their recruiting goals.

Problem is, they had to lower the bar. Last year, only 79% of those entering in the Army had a high-school diploma. Now they let in some felons, too. What happened to the more educated recruits?

And with the less-educated recruits, what happens to the overall quality of the force? It’s not quantifiable…but it’s there - just like the vast difference I saw from the overall professionalism of the enlisted sailors back in ‘81 when I joined to the far more professional force in 2001. Of course there’s many factors why professionalism rose so greatly, but better benefits and better pay attracted better, more educated recruits.

In other words, the military did a better job SELLING life in the military.

You and one other person on here are stating that the reason you joined (I guess you weren’t drafted) was because of your patriotism. Please don’t take this as disrespect, but one wonders how patriotic you would have been if, say, you hadn’t been getting paid at all…for in the absence of an invading army in one’s country, history shows that patriotism will drop just as pay is lowered.

Oh, and one last thing when it comes to money. If we’re spending $12Billion/month in Iraq (or is it ‘only’ $10B now?), do you realize that just two months’ worth of what we’re pouring into Iraq would pay for over 200,000 college educations at PREMIUM universities - enough for every man and woman in the military in Iraq, and then some.

But I guess some think that the billions wasted there are still put to better use than to invest in America’s future by giving the veterans who served over there a chance at a better life.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at May 29, 2008 3:35 AM
Comment #253875

Glenn, quite right. And there is the economic benefit that America demonstrated after WWII and Viet Nam with the full ride GI bill that greatly increased the white collar and entrepreneurial work force adding immeasurably to the economy for decades after the GI bill benefits were long ago paid for.

I was appalled at the Republican’s and Reagan Democrats compromising the full-ride GI Bill in the 1984. It limited Veterans GI benefits to 36 months for a 4 year college degree, DUH! It required that soldiers give up $100 a month of active duty pay for 36 months to qualify for the GI Bill benefits.

As a beneficiary of the former full ride GI Bill which allowed me to take 6 years to complete my BA degree while working part and full time during those years, I found the compromised Montgomery GI Bill to be a slap in the face of every veteran under Reagan.

It is long past time to restore the unlimited GI Bill for all dishonorably discharged veterans serving 3 years or more active duty, or less if disabled. The Vets that use it get their degree will pay back our government many times over during their tax paying years at significantly higher work life salaries and wages afforded by their college education.

The Montgomery GI Bill was penny wise and pound foolish.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 29, 2008 8:45 AM
Comment #253876

BOHICA, not a cheap shot at all. A very legitimate question which you obviously won’t or can’t answer. Thank you for highlighting my question’s poignancy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 29, 2008 8:47 AM
Comment #253877

BOHICA said: “I think all of you are looking at this the wrong way. I considered it a PRIVILEDGE to serve my country.”

AND, AND, AND you got yourself employed, got a full ride GI Bill to a 4 year college education opportunity, and a great resume’ item to appeal to most employers throughout your life. Tell me, what CEO golden parachute position did you give up to become so patriotically self-sacrificing?

Don’t BS me, I enlisted in 1972, and know well what motivated lifers, enlistees, and draftees alike. Patriotism was part of the motivation for lifers, enlistees, and most draftees but, never the whole motivation. Being a soldier is a job not unlike any civilian job; unless the soldier is a combat soldier and then their job is like a forest ranger, policeman, fireman, border patrol and number of others which provide young people an opportunity to a career and service to others so they can feel good about who they are and what they do, WHILE insuring a paycheck and other benefits for themselves and their families.

Some soldiers are just plain assholes, and others are really remarkable people to be emulated and even admired. They are all, who honorably carry out their responsibilities however, to be thanked for their service, as are our Police, Fire Fighters, Rescue workers, etc. who take risks to service others in need.

You nor I, nor any soldiers have ever been or will ever be Gods for having served. Most of us who served were, and are, just regular folks doing an extraordinary job, which exacted no more risk than a civilian job, except in the case of combat soldiers where higher risks with inordinate consequences mentally and emotionally, as well as physically are experienced but not knowingly volunteered for. (Hence the PTSD at a rate of more than 30% of those returning from Iraq.)

Perhaps you are the rare individual who would have served in Viet Nam without pay or benefits, just room and board for the opportunity to kill or be killed. In which case you would be abnormal and have reason to feel proud, perhaps.

Most veteran’s however, don’t elevate their own nobility of service, but, rather elevate the extraordinary sacrifice of those they served with and lost or gave up more than they. That is a quality which commands respect in a fellow soldier or veteran from my point of view.

I sacrificed nothing as a soldier from 1972 to 1975 save some cheap highs and partying in the Hippy circles. I gained far more from the service than I gave, including the rewarding experience of working with fellow soldiers in need of psychiatric care, which became my calling for years after leaving the service.

I believe that is true for most soldiers who serve without injury or loss of life, that they get more from the service than they sacrifice, in hindsight. GW Bush would be an extreme example of this, for example.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 29, 2008 9:35 AM
Comment #253975

What a lot of people here seem to miss is that money spent on educating people is an investment, not a cost. It’s like buying into the stock market. Not every person with education benefits will turn a profit, just as not every company turns a profit, but, on average, the return for educational investments is higher than the stock market. That goes for all education, from early childhood education to college. This applies to the state’s investment and return as well as to the individual’s. So the cost shouldn’t be the primary consideration at all.

Posted by: mental wimp at May 30, 2008 2:35 PM
Comment #253994

Good point Mental Wimp, an investment in our children, who are our future, is never a waste!!
We are falling terribly behind the students from other countries, who are filling our colleges at an (alarming ??) level. Of course, it all starts far earlier than just there, but any encouragement can only be a good thing for all of us ultimately.

Posted by: janedoe at May 30, 2008 6:27 PM
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