Monday, June 02, 2008

The Definition of a Commander-in-Chief...

George Bush said the new G.I. bill is too expensive. The money is clearly needed elsewhere, namely in places like Iraq to pay off contractors and maintain several huge military bases and the largest embassy in the world - in addition to paying for military operations. The $3 trillion spent so far on the war continues to bleed our economy at a time when oil cartels and corporations are taking the opportunity to rip off the entire world.

Yet recent reports from Afghanistan show that the troops still don’t have the protection of enough MRAP anti-roadside bomb vehicles, resulting in more deaths and injuries. G.I. & veteran suicide rates continue to climb. A VA hospital in Texas determined that they should reclassify returning troops with PTSD to some other lesser category, like ‘anxiety disorder’ – to save money.

Where is the Commander-in-Chief?

But is the future any better for troops and veterans with John McCain? Hardly. McCain recently said that if we give returning veterans an education, they will want to get out of the military too soon. He is probably the only person anywhere in the public arena or in the Pentagon that really believes this to be true – no one has come forward to support this cockeyed reasoning. In fact, the truth is he could expect much higher enlistment and re-enlistment rates with the incentive of a new G.I. bill. McCain avoided actually voting against the bill by pretending to be busy at a conveniently scheduled fund-raiser. This says something about McCain’s judgment and how he will treat veterans – ironically, as a war hero.

McCain’s attitude is like that of lawyers who pass the bar exam, and then write the new one more difficult so that a smaller percentage of law students pass after them. It's as if he were saying, 'I sacrificed for this country – you are going to have to suck it up and sacrifice a lot more before I consider giving you any more benefits.' And for someone who spent a half dozen years as a prisoner of war, why have we heard virtually nothing out of him about really improving the disgraceful status of veterans health care, housing, homelessness, jobs – and yes education?

Look at the history yourself. Without the post-WW2 G.I. bill, we would not have led the world economically, or otherwise for the three generations that followed. The ‘greatest generation’ came back and built a powerhouse, because we invested significantly in what economists call human capital – a generation that withstood the Cold War and emerged as the only remaining superpower.

Yet neither George Bush nor John McCain has any apparent understanding of these facts.

Real commanders do not abandon their troops in the field – or when they return from the field…period.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link