Now that the drama of, and the headlines-grabbing by, the Democratic primaries are over, perhaps Americans can focus again on the other important issues facing us. Issues such as the economy, the war in Iraq, and vital legislation languishing in Congress.

One of these pieces of important legislation is the new G.I. Bill. That is the upgraded G.I. Bill sponsored by Senators James Webb, (D-Va), and Chuck Hagel, (R-Neb). A bill that enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House, and one that would begin to restore educational benefits to our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, similar to the benefits that were enjoyed by our World War II veterans under the original 1944 GI Bill.

While 75 U.S. Senators have voted for this bill–neither Senator McCain nor my Texas Senator Cornyn were among them–and while an overwhelming majority of Representatives, including my Representative Lloyd Doggett, have voted in favor of it, “support-the-troops” President Bush continues to threaten that he will veto this bill.

Hopefully, this bill will come up for a final vote this week of June 9th. Hopefully, patriotism and our debt and duty to truly support our troops who are sacrificing, and who have already sacrificed so much will prevail over partisanship, petty and misplaced penny-pinching, and disingenuous opposing arguments.

As a Vietnam war era veteran who has benefited so much from the previous G.I. Bill, I wrote a piece on TMV a couple of weeks ago on Memorial Day weekend. That article, “Let us truly honor our fallen heroes this memorial Day,” perhaps reflected more my passion to get this better G.I. Bill passed than the cold hard facts, and the raw politics being used by those who oppose it.

Fortunately, a few days ago, I came across a column written by none other than Edward Humes, which more than makes up for my lack of facts and more than fills-in-the blanks when it comes to the politics involved.

I say, none other than Edward Humes because Mr. Humes is a journalist and prolific author who in 1989 received the Pulitzer Prize for specialized reporting for several investigative stories he wrote about the U.S. Military. In 2006, he literally “wrote the book” on the G.I. Bill with his “Over Here: How the G.I. Bill Transformed the American Dream.” A book that tells how the post-World War II G.I. Bill ” revolutionized higher education, created suburbia, brought us the scientists, engineers, doctors, artists and teachers who built most of what is good in America today.”

While Humes mainly questions Senator McCain’s opposition to the G.I. Bill (“Why would a Vietnam War veteran and former prisoner of war, a man who is personally acquainted with the difficulties vets can face in returning to civilian life, join President Bush in opposing a popular bipartisan bill to support the troops?”), he offers many other thoughts and compelling arguments. Here are some excerpts from his May 30 column in the Los Angeles Times, “McCain’s Attack on Vets– His respectful rhetoric isn’t matched by his votes“:

“Isn’t fixing the education benefit in the bill — one that has shortchanged far too many veterans for years — a political no-brainer in an election year? The 75 senators who recently voted for it certainly thought so”

“The original GI Bill — signed into law in 1944 — was one of the most important laws every adopted by Congress. It transformed the nation after World War II in epic fashion, with generous college benefits, stipends, subsidized mortgages, business loans and job training and placement.”

“Veterans got free rides to any college that would accept them. Tuition, books, housing and living expenses were all covered, giving rise to a new generation of scientists, inventors, teachers, doctors, civic leaders and artists. Low-interest, no-money-down home loans backed by the government made it cheaper to buy than to rent. Suburbia, widespread homeownership, college as a majority aspiration, the middle class — all were built on the back of the GI Bill.”

“Today’s GI Bill, however, is a pale shadow of the original, particularly when it comes to college, as Congress has not kept the benefits in line with the rising cost of higher education. The World War II-era living stipend is gone; in its place, members of the military must agree to a $100 monthly payroll deduction to receive the college aid. An education benefit that sent WWII vets to Yale now won’t cover four years at the average public university, though many recruits don’t understand this when they sign up.”

McCain and others who oppose the Webb-Hagel version of the G.I. Bill have said that too-generous education benefits will hurt retention as enlistees will leave for college after their initial enlistment commitment rather than continue to serve. This is what Humes has to say about that:

“McCain’s position makes sense only by overlooking the fact that the main retention (and recruiting) problems facing the military are the Iraq war and the scandals plaguing military and veterans healthcare.” “The inadequacy of the military’s prime recruiting tool — subsidized college educations — is hurting recruitment too, and Webb argues this can be fixed only by fixing the GI Bill. He says McCain, a friend, ‘is missing the boat’ by siding with the Bush Pentagon rather than veterans groups. Webb points to a Congressional Budget Office analysis that found any possible losses in retention caused by his bill would be balanced by the increases in recruitment it would generate.”

On some of McCain’s other positions and arguments:

“Before the Senate voted on Webb’s GI legislation, McCain offered what he called a compromise bill, but it was rejected. Webb pointed out that there really was no compromise in McCain’s proposal because it would have excluded most veterans by offering full education benefits only to those with multiple enlistments, even though 70% to 75% of enlistees leave after one tour.”

Humes also takes a look at McCain’s record on “legislation supported by major veterans organizations” which he records as follows:

* On Webb’s GI Bill, he expressed opposition, and he was AWOL when it was time to vote on May 22.

* Last September, he voted against another Webb bill that would have mandated adequate rest for troops between combat deployments.

* On a badly needed $1.5-billion increase for veterans medical services for fiscal year 2007 — to be funded through closing corporate tax loopholes — he voted no. He also voted against establishing a trust fund to bolster under-budgeted veterans hospitals.

* In May 2006, he voted against a $20-billion allotment for expanding swamped veterans medical facilities.

* In April 2006, he was one of 13 Senate Republicans who voted against an amendment to provide $430 million for veterans outpatient care.

* In March 2004, he voted against and helped defeat on a party-line vote a $1.8-billion reserve for veterans medical care, also funded by closing tax loopholes.

As to the “it costs too much” argument, I will quote myself from my May 30 piece, “The bill is estimated to cost $45 billion [update: $52 billion] over the next 10 years. At the present rate of expenditures for the Iraq war–including the billions of dollars wasted, fleeced and not accounted for–we are talking about an amount equal to what we spend in Iraq in about six months. Is this too much to spend on our troops who are getting shot at, injured and maimed every day?”

As I first mentioned, Congress will hopefully have a final vote on the new G.I. Bill this week. I sincerely hope that Senator McCain will be present, and that he and others who are presently opposed to this good bill will have a change of mind and of heart and vote “Aye.” Our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans deserve nothing less.

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
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The inadequacy of the military’s prime recruiting tool — subsidized college educations — is hurting recruitment too,

The GI Bill is not the prime recruiting tool. In an all voluntary army, the prime recruiting tool is that there is a career path and upward mobility. Also, active duty service members get educational benefits such as tuition assistance while on active duty.

Given that Senator Obama wants to give free tuition to everyone and free healthcare to everyone, it does not seem that the Democrats really believe in giving service members any special benefit. The Democrats will not do the proper thing and give the military a bigger pay raise than civil servants get. If you want to increase retention, pay better than the GS-9 budget analyst sitting in a cubicle at The Social Security Administration in Baltimore.


Your right it doesnt make any sense. So lets look at the facts.

From ABC News.

The White House is signaling that President Bush could sign the hotly contested and long overdue war funding bill if the benefit transferability provision is added to the 10-year, $52 billion improvement to GI Bill college benefits proposed by Democrats and many Republicans.


John McCain has indicated that he is not in favor of the current bill as it stands and wants to ensure that the proper benefits are passed on to the families of the veterans which the current bill does not do.

Officials in charge of Pentagon personnel worry that a more generous and expansive GI Bill would create an incentive for troops to get out of the military and go to college.

Additonally from

President Bush is quoted as saying in his radio address.

War funding: “Congress needs to pass a responsible war funding bill that puts the needs of our troops first, without loading it up with unrelated domestic spending.


GI Bill expansion: “Congress needs to support our military families by passing an expansion of the GI Bill that makes it easier for our troops to transfer unused education benefits to their spouses and children. It is critical for this legislation to support the all-volunteer force and help us recruit and retain the best military in the world.”

You see Bush Jr and Mini Bush are on the same page which I happen to agree with in this instance. Not only will lavish GI bill benefits threaten the integrity of the military but Bush and McCain are both holding out for even more and better benefits then Obama and Hillary voted for. They both additionally want to add a feature that will help to keep people in the military while making it more beneficial to do so.

And now you know the REST of the story.


As a USAF MSgt (retired) with 26 years (81-07) service, I have far more exposure to enlisted people and their concerns than a couple of pilots whose career did not involve experience in the enlisted force, and no, photo ops don’t count. The benefits are not “lavish”, nor does history support any G.I.Bill based “exodus”. Better benefits would increase the quality of first-termers as well as allow those re-enlisting to be able to serve knowing that they would be able to retire and not have to choose between working to support their families and educating themselves to get a fresh start in the job market. Veterans organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars support the Webb G.I. Bill. Are THEY Democrat moles undermining the military??
“The GI Bill is not the prime recruiting tool. In an all voluntary army, the prime recruiting tool is that there is a career path and upward mobility. Also, active duty service members get educational benefits such as tuition assistance while on active duty.”
In what alternate military universe is this true? Career path is a RETENTION tool. Most recruits don’t even know rank structure let alone “career path”! The educational benefits for active duty are decent, but disruptive deployment and training schedules as well as “unconventional” work hours are a huge barrier to off-duty education for those at the tip of the spear. McCain should have been LEADING the charge for a G.I. Bill as good as he got. Neither Bush nor Bush Lite have any track record of actually making life better for enlisted personnel. I’m a Republican, but I resent them dropping the ball on this issue.
Please ask some actual G.I.s who are not officers how THEY view the Webb bill, and web search some veterans organizations before forming an opinion. In my experienced opinion the opposition to the Webb bill is completely misguided and reflects think-tank bean counter input rather than an evaluation of the enlisted force.


I knew there was a reason I preferred the “prior enlisted” sort of officer. Not only do they have a broad perspective, they are immunized against BS from either direction. :-)


Neither Bush nor McCain are opposed to the GI bill. Even the enhanced version.

Talk about talking points. What they are opposed to as am I is parts of the failed immigration bill tagged into the bill in disguise and then laid on the tax payers. In addition built into this bill is the precursor for a national ID as well as electronic monitoring of births and deaths.

In additon it lays out amnesty for Illegal aliens if they can provide verification of their status prior to 1997. McCain is just waiting for the sheet to hit the fan. That is why he and Bush are opposed to this unless some of this stuff is removed.

However the real smoke screen is that its the GI bill and any opposition to this bill appears to be opposition to the troops and their education. Bush is actually asking for pork to be cut out of this bill and an additional 10 billion added to the GI bill amount making it even more lucrative.

This is a classic example of the Democrats working things in such a manner as to box Bush in and make him look bad by passing a bad bill that has good intentions.

Again for clarification. I am not at all opposed to a very generous GI bill for our troops. I am opposed to the junk that congress has added to this bill making it a bad bill.


-Where is this better, more generous, bill Bush tells ABC about? Has he crafted one or encouraged his Party members to do so? Why is he talking to ABC, but he’s not talking to Congress? His rediscovery of veto power seems to emerge around election time. This couldn’t possibly be a political move to prevent a Democratic Congress from earning credi, could it? Who, Bush?
Has McCain proposed the appropriate amendment to this bill or his own, perfect bill?
Words thrown out, like sand in your eyes,. That’s all.
Sure, I would like to see benefits extended to family members. But I’m not going to see that, judging from the activities, not words, of those ‘holding out’.
I’ll take what I can get now, as soon as possble.

We’ve seen this movie before. We’ve been told to hold out on all proposals to address global warming, because we don’t yet have the perfect solution. So we stay on hold year after year, wasting precious time, doing nothing.

By now, I think I can pretty well translate ‘holding out’ to mean ‘forget about it.”

Denying benefits to those who don’t re-enlist is just plain cruel. When is enough, enough? How many years of putting your life on the line are enough years?
I can’t believe we’re talking about our military personnel as if they were inanimate, disposable chess pieces.

There is something in the policies of both Bush and McCain that I find jarring. Count pennies and play delay games whan it comes to honoring the military, but simultaneously hold tax breaks for the rich to be sacred.
That tells me something about values.


Like I say, delay, side step, and delay some more until the whole thing disappears, like the Immigration bill.
Have you ever heard of compromise?
The inability to do so has been holding this country at a standtill, or sliding backwards.
You object, but the military will pay for your objections with their lives. .
Talk about sticking someone else with the tab.


The Bush “gutted version” is not an improvement in terms of the G.I. Bill proposals. If one opposes it for other reasons, than articulate those along with specific willingness to sacrifice the proposed “best of breed” G.I. Bill that will greatly help veterans (some from as far back as the VEAP era!), recruiting, and the economy itself when those vets go to work.
“Neither Bush nor McCain are opposed to the GI bill. Even the enhanced version.”
Their G.I. Bill counterproposal is not the same, and differs in ways that punish single-term enlistments. Given the reality of perpetual deployment, many soldiers will separate in any event. Reintegrating them into society is a vital task the Webb bill better addresses.
McCain didn’t even bother to show up for the vote. A genuine veterans adocate would be expected to be MUCH more vocal on the subject. I regard him as a RINO.



Don’t forget there is also Hurricane levies in the bill. Bush hates La. I think that deserves some ranting and raving too.

Actually they should pass this bill. This is part of the Immigration bill that the GOP wanted but that Obama and Hillary Clinton were opposed to. Now here they go voting for it. My oh My what will they think of next.

(1) IN GENERAL.–Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), every person or other entity that hires one or more individuals for employment in the United States shall verify through the E-Verify program, established as the basic pilot program by section 403(a) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (division C of Public Law 104-208; 8 U.S.C. 1324a note), that each such individual is authorized to work in the United States. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall ensure that verification by means of a toll-free telephone line is an available option in complying with the preceding sentence.

In and of itself this is not that much of a problem until you embrace the entire problem of Illegal immigration and without amnesty this severely punishes those here illegally which is something I thought the Democrats were opposed too? I know it is something I am opposed too.


You object, but the military will pay for your objections with their lives. .

Calm down Runaism your having a Michael Moore Melt down. Do you actually equate not passing the GI bill in a timely matter because its a badly written bill a life threatening situation?

Tell me you did’nt just finish watching Sicko for the 300th time??


I see you’re using my list. Michael Moore: check. Sicko: ooh, that’s a new one.
Just think, without these lists, you ‘d have a hard time composing a comment, it seems.

No, I didn’t mean anyone would die. The kind of lives many of the military (and their families ) would lead after their service, would be irreprably different and diminished from what could be possible with the passage of this bill.

I value their lives (quality of lives) much higher than what you can type while sitting in safety.
I realize you want to make Lou Dobbs proud, but I proritize differently.

I’m not about ot explain Obama or Clinton votes (I don’t read minds), but maybe they, too, are able to prioritize and understand the art of compromise.

FYI, I don’t like stuffed bills either. I don’t like a lot of things, but I there is value in playing the cards you’ve been dealt, instead of holding up everyon’s game until I get the perfect hand.



If you look at the Army Times,

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 97 percent of service members enroll in the GI Bill, but only 8 percent use all their education benefits — and 30 percent never use any of their benefits. That’s a lot of benefits going for naught.

Many veterans are leaving money on the table. Considering that Senator Obama has suggested that everyone get $4K per year to go to school and that universities count the G.I. benefits when calculating other aid, the G.I. Bill leaves much to be desires.

A real pay increase above what the civil servants get would be much better. Also, a TSP matching payment would benefit those first term service members and other service members who do not make it to retirement much better than college money that will be discounted twice by other government programs.


I was in the Military during Vietnam. The US government sent me to college and under chapter 35 they sent my wife to college and my children as well. The benefits from this chapter was immense and it has impacted my entire family in a truly positive way beyond measure.

Wow what a novel idea and life impacting. As sd mentions above a lot of the gi bill goes unused. Let the families use it and let this bill truly impact the lives of service families.

Lets not pretend we care. Lets actually care.

Oh and when you compared all those people angry at Obama’s nomination that supported Hillary Clinton of being Rush Limbaugh clones then I rather suspected that you enjoyed this type of banter.


I’m glad the GI bill worked for you.

As I said, It doesn’t look like it’s going to be possible to get the perfect bill anytime soon. I prefer gettin this GI bill passed, to having no bill passed.
Besides, if the family benefits came at the price of re-enlistment, that’s a bad trade-off, IMO.

My ‘Linbaugh clones; was a reference to his ‘operation chaos;, but your use of derogatory associations came long before my comment using the phrase.
An inability to make an argument without insulting or denigrating those who disagree signals lack of intellectual integrity, to me. It reflects badly on those who use the technique, not on those at whom its directed.



Once again we are talking about the GI bill. Not suicide rates of veterans.

Once again we are talking about a bill written by the democrats. Not by Bush or McCain.

Once again we are talking about cutting out funding for unemeployment benefits that the Democrats KNEW Bush would object too and be forced to threaten a Veto thus making Bush appear as being against the troops.

The democrats have always played this game. Write a bill. Put in 2 billion more then is needed for housing then force the GOP to cut it back for being fiscally irresponsible and then accuse the GOP of being against the troops.

This is nothing more then Political grandstanding. This is nothing more then the Democratic party once more showing their sincere lack of concern for our troops in a politically manipulative way in order to make it appear as if Bush/McCain are opposed to the GI bill.

If the democrats had a sincere care about the troops they would not make their funding a political issue. The military needs to keep troops in the service not offer them huge incentives to leave.

We can go round and round but the far left despises the military and any bill that makes it a good thing to quit the military is a bill they will support. The currently written bill is such a bill and is nothing more then political hackeys at work with their eyes on novemeber and not the troops in the field.


My ‘Linbaugh clones; was a reference to his ‘operation chaos;, but your use of derogatory associations came long before my comment using the phrase.

Nope. Sorry. I just went back and looked at all my comments here. All my far left comments began after you started talking about Limbaugh clones. And Actually even before you picked up the banner, Chriswww has been attacking my positions from his far left vs right perspective for quite some time.

However if you are talking about me discussing the far left then I stand guilty. They are a part of American politics and are playing a very important role in this election. If that is what you are talking about then…………GUILTY.

Also in discussing views I have come to realize more and more how much Barak Obama’s campaign is driven by the far left and it has become my mission in life to insure as many people know this as possible.

As a result I have decided that I cannot endorse Barak Obama because I, unlike most democrats am not joinned at the hip to them and I do not move in lockstep with everything they do.

I cannot vote for McCain either and therefore I will log a protest vote this year. I will vote for Barr. In fact I have even just sent him some money. This country needs a third party. It needs a true moderate party of which I feel I have been abandoned politically by both Democrats and Republicans.


I think you should vote for whomever you like, because,regardless of vote or party, I predict you will always see mummified blocs (far left, etc.) instead of individuals.
It’s a shame, because reducing people to labels of your choosing, narrows and distorts vision, and throws away a lot of interesting insight, knowledge and possibilities.
It’s your’ life, however, and good luck with it.



I value their lives (quality of lives) much higher than what you can type while sitting in safety.
I realize you want to make Lou Dobbs proud, but I proritize differently.

You were saying about labeling people??

An inability to make an argument without insulting or denigrating those who disagree signals lack of intellectual integrity, to me. It reflects badly on those who use the technique, not on those at whom its directed.

You mean like you do all the time to me. Constantly lecturing me on how I should debate a topic and if I use criticizsm of a group that I am intellectually dishonest?

I predict you will always see mummified blocs (far left, etc.) instead of individuals.
It’s a shame, because reducing people to labels of your choosing, narrows and distorts vision,

Runaism I think you should look in the mirror because for whatever reason you chose to come after me and I have only been responding to your verbal sparring with facts and figures.

I quote from the bill what is in it as to my objection… respond with rambling diatribes about how evil Bush is. And then have the gall to claim I am narrow minded and lack focus.

Wow baby. Or is that Chow?