Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Why won't McCain support our returning troops?

Posted By on Tue, May 6, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Sen. John McCain was in town yesterday, preaching to the conservative Chamber choir about appointing rightwing judges and the like. I bet nearly everyone in that meeting, at one point or another, has used the phrase "support the troops," so maybe one of them should have asked Senator War Hero why he's been such a hypocrite when it comes to helping Iraq war vets.

Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia has proposed expanding education benefits for men and women who have served in the military since Sept. 11, 2001, ensuring that those soldiers' college education would be taken care of by a grateful nation. Webb's proposed legislation is being called a new GI  Bill, referring to the benefits given to returning World War II vets. Webb has garnered a bipartisan list of co-sponsors in the Senate, including Republicans John Warner and Chuck Hagel, both of whom are veterans of wartime service.

Who could possibly be against such a gesture of gratitude? Well, would you believe Mr. War Hero himself? Yep, John McCain. He's against the bill because, he says, he's taking his lead from Defense Secretary Gates — who, of course, takes his lead from President Bush, who thinks the bill is too generous.  In other words, according to McCain and Bush, it's perfectly OK to waste hundreds of billions of dollars on an ill-conceived invasion and occupation of Iraq that could have been planned and managed better by the Three Stooges; but handing over $2.5 billion to $4 billion per year as a genuine investment that would boost returning vets' education — and would be no more than the deserving WWII vets received — is just too much money.

And so, as we've become sickeningly used to by now (think of inadequately armored humvees, for instance), the loudest war cheerleaders are the first to forget all about "supporting our troops" when it really matters.

If you're one of those Hillary or Obama supporters who says you'll vote for McCain if your candidate doesn't win the nomination, maybe you should think again. At the very least.

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