No, You Can’t Leave and Better Yourself
There was a time not too long ago when I thought John McCain’s version of the new GI Bill was a cold, heartless piece of work that was all too typical of the cold, heartless pricks that make up the Republican party.
But what George W. Bush has done just defies rational explanation and offers a new definition of the phrase cold, heartless prick.
The Administration has also expressed objections to the GI Bill based on concerns about retention — basically, they believe that if a GI Bill benefit is too good, it’ll reward veterans too richly for their service and draw them away from re-enlisting.
This isn’t exactly new. We’ve known about this for a solid month. Yet, just to remind those who’ve been living under a rock since last Thursday, 25 Senate Republicans broke ranks with the anchor chain of the Republican White House of George W. Bush and sided with Democrats for a change to give tuition assistance to our nation’s veterans. I wouldn’t get all choked up about it and start singing the GOP‘s praises just yet: Many of the Republicans who’d voted for this bill have a jaundiced eye on their reelections this year and are afraid of alienating the vet vote. Also, as happens so often on Capitol Hill, legislators are often for a bill before they’re against it and, in this case, vice versa. All 25 Republicans changed their vote when they realized that their true positions were going to get an ass-whupping. So their response to visual stimuli and seeing the light is more an act of political expediency and cowardice than an actual progressive stance.
Still, in the past Congressional Republicans sided with Bush before even when their Nazi-class devotion and ideology was plainly self-destructive and would hurt their reelection chances.
However, since this is Memorial Day, I’ll give these cold, heartless pricks a pass for now to concentrate on George W. Bush’s attitude problem regarding retention problems that offering our veterans the best education their government can give them for putting on hold their lives (Not to mention for risking their lives.).
Let’s keep in mind, instead, that this stubborn opposition to a humane bill that at part repays our returning veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a childishly stubborn opposition that flies in the face of a vote that’s 15 Ayes more than the Senate needs for a veto override, is coming from a scion of a family whose biggest military retention problem was in explaining unconvincingly why George W. Bush never retained his commission in the Texas Air National Guard. I don’t suppose that Georgie dropped out just before a physical that would’ve turned up evidence of cocaine usage so he could continue his paternal-based Affirmative Action, Legacy-subsidized studies at Harvard Business School, now would it?
And was John McCain, along with Burr and Graham, really ballsy enough to try to superimpose his palimpsest of a bill that would’ve put unfair conditions on veterans who’d put their lives on hold to fight over a pack of lies in the most dangerous nations on earth? That alone stands, in my mind, as more courageous than anything John McCain ever did considering his Daddy and Granddaddy got him into the Naval Academy so he could graduate 894th out of 899 in another form of paternal-based Affirmative Action.
This Memorial Day, which will feature for the last time (Saints Be Praised) the spectacle of a draft-dodging scion of a wealthy Republican family of crooks, alcoholics and drug addicts and sexual degenerates waxing pious about how we ought to honor and remember our veterans from all wars.
Putting the Cart Before the Jackass
Because going unvoiced in the frame of debate will be the reasons why there’s a retention problem in the military, particularly in our all volunteer professional army and these retention problems began years ago, long, long before there was even a draft of a new GI Bill. Soldiers and officers began dropping out and kids stopped enlisting when it was becoming obvious to the more perspicacious that their government had lied them into a war that has only bloated private industry, strengthened Iran and al Qaeda and muddied the flag they’d sworn to defend against all enemies foreign and domestic.
Little did they realize at their swearing in ceremonies that one of the domestic enemies would prove to be a Republican party that time and again uses them to fight illegal wars against manufactured little Hitlers then denies them VA assistance, disability and death benefits, education and even the chance to have their bodies flown home as something more dignified than freight.
The “retention problems” per se were actually the homophobic Pentagon kicking out gay and lesbian soldiers, less recruiting goals met despite being lowered and these factors resulting in 15 month-long tours of duty and injured and even suicidal soldiers being sent back into harm’s way.
It is a domestic enemy headed up by a man who proposed cutting pay for the troops even while he was first sending them into harm’s way in Iraq and then balked at a 0.5% increase when Congress last year wanted to raise their meager pay to 3.5%. It’s represented by a man who enjoys playing shell games with the public over the VA’s budget, crowing about how much more the VA’s gotten under him than the last president.
Yet the Veteran’s Administration have had key budgets slashed to the point where they’ve had to turn away tens of thousands of shell-shocked veterans on the verge of suicide because they’ve only enough money to treat a mere fraction of those returning with PTSD.
It is a domestic enemy of metaphorical elephants that had trampled over their right to free speech, has branded them dissidents and turncoats for criticizing the war when they rightly bring up the chronic lack of armor and manpower to carry out their hopeless task of pacifying a nation in the first throes of a grand mal political and social seizure, their poisoning at the hands of Halliburton and KBR. They are fighting George W. Hannibal and his herd of elephants but they will lose this one.
Yet, to George W. Bush, a man who learned nothing about war while buzzing tumbleweeds with his F-102 on the Texas/Arkansas border except how to start them and leave for future chief executives to finish, this poseur is trying to pretend the retention problem is only imminent and contingent on whether or not we give these veterans the financial wherewithal to continue their lives and the education that they’d voluntarily interrupted or postponed to serve that same man.
But Republicans are so out of touch with not only average civilian Americans but the troops they have pretensions of honoring. They are people, for want of a better word, who honestly don’t think that these acts of legislative sodomy committed on them, the pay and budget cuts, the lack of armor plus the Walter Reed scandal, is somehow going to be lost on them and is going to result in “retention problems.”
So when your favorite Republican relative piously puts their hands over their hearts today to the strains of a martial ditty by John Philip Sousa, remind them of their own hypocrisy, hypocrisy such as George W. Bush getting a leather vest from Rolling Thunder even as he’s bending them over. I’ll be here to meet their criticism.