Wednesday :: Feb 20, 2008

Cruel, Callous, and Uncaring in the Extreme


by Turkana

I've written a bit about Bush's despicable abuse of our military personnel, treating them as little more than props in his juvenile cowboy fantasy. Well, it just keeps coming. Joseph L. Galloway of McClatchy Newspapers has this bit of encouraging news:

Sen. James Webb, D-Virginia, a Vietnam veteran, has been doggedly pursuing passage of a new GI Bill aimed at helping these new wartime veterans get that education by giving them much the same educational benefits that were extended to their grandfathers after WWII.

Under his bill, which has attracted three dozen other sponsors, the government would resume paying full college tuition for these veterans for a period linked to their times in uniform, but for no more than 36 months or four academic years. Every eligible college veteran also would receive a check for $1,000 a month to help cover living expenses.

This would cost the government about $2 billion a year, which is about what we're presently spending every 36 hours in Iraq.

President George W. Bush and the Pentagon oppose any such improvement of this miserly benefit for our young veterans. Why? The president says it would cost too much and be too hard to administer, and he's threatened to veto Webb's bill if it ever passes.

The Pentagon says that if you offer more realistic college benefits, too many troops might decide to leave at the end of their enlistments and take advantage of it. And that, they say, would only make it even harder to find and enlist enough recruits to man our wars.

It would cost too much. What we spend every day-and-a-half on Bush's Iraq disaster is too much to spend to ensure that those of our military personnel who survive Bush's disaster can come home to a promise of an education. Because if they can get an education, they won't want to re-enlist! Could it be more clear that the Pentagon is deliberately taking advantage of lower-income Americans to provide cannon fodder for Bush's war?

As Galloway points out, more than half of the 15 million Americans who served in World War II were educated at government expense. Because President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Democratic Congress believed the country owed those who had served it in uniform. Not only were World War II veterans offered the opportunity of an education, they were also given aid for unemployment and buy a house or start a business. But Bush believes even helping with their educations is too expensive, and his Pentagon believes that people with actual opportunities in life won't choose to risk their lives in Bush's war. As Galloway says:

Those arguments against doing the right thing for college veterans are, in the case of our “wartime president,” about what I’ve come to expect of a man whose support for our troops has never extended past strutting through the latest photo op on a military base or an aircraft carrier.

The argument of the Pentagon bean counters — who in the best tradition of former Vietnam-era defense secretary Robert Strange McNamara know the cost of everything and the value of nothing — may be accurate.

However, it is cruel, callous and uncaring in the extreme not to give our troops any hope of a life beyond endless deployments for fear that they might opt for an education over the simple joys of killing and dying far from home.

But there's your "compassionate conservative" in a nutshell: cruel, callous and uncaring in the extreme.

Turkana :: 6:21 PM :: Comments (14) :: Digg It!