Friday, June 27, 2008

War spending includes G.I. Bill funds

Was it worth it?

Congress has passed a new funding bill for our foreign misadventures and Pres. Bush says he will sign it. It funds the Iraq War until this time next year, when Pres. Obama will have to deal with it.

On the plus side, the bill includes funding of Sen. James Webb's 21st Century G.I. Bill. Sen. Webb did a fine job assembling supporters from both sides of the aisle, although that didn't include Sen. John Barrasso and Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming. They voted for the war spending bill, but they had to, didn't they? They've supported Bush's war from the beginning and they're not about to waiver now, even when it includes "extras" such as the G.I. Bill.

Here's Sen. Webb's statement on the legislation:

“Today, the Senate took a final historic step toward a modern and fair educational benefit for the men and women who have served honorably since 9/11. This bill properly responds to the needs of those who answered the call of duty to our country—those who moved toward the sound of the guns—often at great sacrifice.

“Eighteen months ago, we began with the simple concept that those who have been serving since 9/11 should have the same opportunity for a first class educational future as those who served during World War II. Today, we have accomplished that goal.

“I would like to emphasize that this is not simply an expansion of veterans’ educational benefits. This is a new program, a deserved program. It has now been nearly seven years since 9/11 -- seven years since those who have been serving in our military began earning the right for a proper wartime GI Bill.

“We have delivered this new, robust GI Bill with a great deal of collaboration and cooperation among members of the Senate, members of the House, and with the guidance and support of all of our nation’s leading veterans’ groups.

“There are no politics here. This is about taking care of the people who have taken care of us. I am looking forward to the President living up to his word, and
signing this legislation at his earliest opportunity.”

To download an audio clip of Senator Webb at today’s GI Bill press conference, please go to:

Sen. Webb is being a bit disingenuous. Of course the bill was all about politics. Bush & Co. have shamelessly neglected our veterans. Remember the Walter Reed Medical Center fiasco? And the rash of suicides by combat veterans? The G.I. Bill was a way to get veteran's educational benefits out of an administration that finds oodles of money for warfare but can't be bothered by its aftermath. So, we have the irony of an appropriations bill that funds more international mayhem while it allows its military survivors to receive a proper education.

This legislation also signals the dismal failure of the Democrats in the House and Senate to end this war.

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