New G.I. Bill for Education

Posted by Katherine | July 31, 2008 – 10:59 am
A Marine reading in Iraq
[Jayel Aheram / Flickr]

About a month ago, Congress passed and President Bush signed a new GI Bill proposed by Senator Jim Webb. This is a bill that Bush threatened to veto and McCain opposed (and didn’t vote on) because they were afraid it would encourage people to leave the military. The new bill, which had healthy bipartisan support, offers more tuition money for military veterans who served on active duty after 9/11. Obama and McCain have been quarreling about it as part of their larger argument over Iraq and Afghanistan.

Back when things weren’t looking entirely hopeful for the bill, Aaron Edwards, a soldier in Iraq, made it clear what he thought of Bush and McCain’s opposition to it — and that he was getting out of the Army, bill or no bill (hat tip to Ann Raber):

i dont mind that bush and mccain need soldiers to accomplish their designs, but it frustrates me that they pretend that they support us. they support the idea of us serving here, but not the actual men and women who are the only ones carrying the burden of this war. no one else in america is paying a dime for the war. it continues to be added to the deficit, so…unless you have family or friends serving here, then how can people say they are supporting the troops by not supporting a bill like this? i cant believe you would seek to retain soldiers by limiting educational opportunities. you end up with people in the army who despise their jobs and are only in it because they feel trapped.

anyway, i am pretending to be morally outraged, but really i just want the money. i am getting out and going back to school in 2009 to get my PhD. i was planning on just taking out student loans and working part time in order to do it, but if the government wants to help pay for school then that would make it a lot easier. but either way, Mr. McCain, i’m getting out anyway no matter what you do.

Around the same time, Earl, a Republican former Army officer and Black Hawk pilot married to an Iraq vet, applauded the Democrats who wanted to fund the bill through a tax on affluent Americans (thanks, Sarolta Cump):

I believe in the idea that wealthy Americans need to share in the pain and sacrifices of our service members and their families. […] Actually, I think all of America needs to get engaged in the sacrifices of our military. That would do one of two things: a) force Americans to stand up against the war and bring us home, or b) stand up for the military and make sure our disabled veterans get proper care and treatment from the VA and the military, make sure that our active members are recognized for their service, and provide us the tools and material to execute this war - with a nation behind us. There is no force greater than the one with the full weight of the American people behind it.

Earl is surely happy that the bill passed but unhappy that it’s not being funded through the tax on wealthy Americans — a tax dropped to secure Republican support. As Aaron might point out, the cost of the bill will be “added to the deficit.” Not a good sign given what awaits the next president: ensuring proper funding of health care for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

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  1. One Response to “New G.I. Bill for Education”

  2. Why not fund the GI Bill through taxes on the profits made by the likes of Halliburton?

    By Jayel Aheram on Jul 31, 2008

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