Just a few days ago, appearing on ABC’s “The View,” John McCain talked about the importance of increasing the size of the U.S. military. To entice more volunteers, he said, the government should focus on incentives: “[O]ne of the things we ought to do is provide [the troops with] significant educational benefits in return for serving.”
Naturally, then, McCain indicated a few days later that he’ll withhold support for a bipartisan measure to renew and expand the GI Bill for a new generation of veterans.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, seemed to give a thumbs down to bipartisan legislation that would greatly expand educational benefits for members of the military returning from Iraq and Afghanistan under the GI Bill.
The reason for the opposition -- fears about retention -- is completely absurd.
This should be a no-brainer. Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) unveiled a GI Bill modernization bill over a year ago, which would increase troop benefits to pay for their education. From a patriotic perspective, this is showing real support for the troops. From a military perspective, it might make recruiting easier if young people know they can go to college after their service for free. From an economic perspective, the country benefits when thousands of educated young people enter the workforce with degrees, as opposed to the alternative. (Even Joe Lieberman supports the bill, and he never wavers from Bush’s position on matters relating to the military.)
And yet, there’s John McCain. Typical.
UPDATE (SilentPatriot): Once again, John McCain reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of what's going on in Iraq. This is what Hendrik Hertzberg, a "New Yorker" reporter who was present during the infamous exchange, says:
But what the context shows, I think, is that yanking that sound bite out of context isn't really all that unfair. McCain's wants to stay in Iraq until no more Americans are getting killed, no matter how long it takes and how many Americans get killed achieving that goal—that is, the goal of not getting any more Americans killed. And once that goal is achieved, we'll stay.
That about sums it up perfectly. McCain doesn't seem to realize that what fuels the violence is not some abstract concept of chaos. Iraq is volatile and unstable almost entirely because of our presence; not despite it. The NIE puts it most succinctly:
"The Iraq conflict has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.
In short, they hate us because we're there. No "surge" or "100 years" presence will change that. In fact, it will only exacerbate it. But McCain doesn't get that. Or he just refuses to.