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For Memorial Day, McCain Critical of Webb's G.I. Bill

By Michael D. Shear
ALBUQUERQUE -- Sen. John McCain asserted that the G.I. Bill sponsored by Virginia Sen. James Webb will drive soldiers out of the armed services at a time when the country is trying to expand the size of the military.

Speaking at a Memorial Day ceremony, McCain praised Webb as "an honorable man who takes his responsibility to veterans very seriously." And he said the bill, which would increase benefits for veterans after serving one tour, is a way of offering the nation's
"deep appreciation" for the veterans who have served.

But McCain insisted that he takes "a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans." And he predicted that Webb's bill would reduce the military's retention rate by 16 percent.

"Encouraging people to choose to not become noncommissioned officers would hurt the military and our country very badly," he said.

McCain, a Vietnam War veteran and former POW, spoke in New Mexico on the same day that his likely opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, also traveled to this crucial swing state to pay homage to the nation's warfighters.

The pair have clashed repeatedly about the G.I. bill, with Obama criticizing McCain for supporting a less-generous alternative to Webb's bill. McCain has shot back over the last several days, calling into question Obama's experience and credibility on the issue.

In the past week, the Republican has also repeatedly attacked Obama for having a "reckless" and "naive" view of foreign policy that includes unconditional meetings with leaders of enemy countries.

But McCain did not criticize Obama directly this morning.

Instead, McCain used the solemn ceremony to reiterate his belief that a hasty departure of American troops from Iraq would destabilize the region and eventually cost the lives of more soldiers.

"To walk away now -- before the Iraqi government can fully protect its people from ruthless enemies -- would strengthen al-Qaeda, empower Iran and other hostile powers in the Middle East, unleash a full scale civil war in Iraq that could quite possibly provoke genocide there," he said.

McCain obliquely acknowledged the political damage that his support for continuing the war could do to his presidential bid, saying that he will push for victory in Iraq "even if I must stand athwart popular opinion."

But as he has done before, he also sought to show that he is no warmonger who loves war.

"I detest war," he said. "It might not be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description. When nations seek to resolve their differences by force of arms, a million tragedies ensue."

Posted at 2:02 PM ET on May 26, 2008  | Category:  John McCain
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usaDave, I am getting out of the military to pursue a degree in environmental engineering in order to help the growing climate issue. But I will say this, that BS you just said why don't you walk up to a Marine and say that crap. If I knew I would be defending individuals like you, you're right I never would have joined.

Posted by: Vet | May 30, 2008 1:22 PM

Of course the same study McCain uses also says that a 16 % increase in recruitment is expected with the increased college benefits. This means a net no change in total enlistment. But thats what politicians do, take the part of the numbers that prove their point and make it seem like the only number involved in the argument.

It continues to amaze me that something like this breaks down along party lines. Are they given a playbook of what they believe and don't believe in? The parties spend more time trying to make sure the other party can not get credit for anything that may be useful.

The galling part is McCain's comments later on about how he "would not be lectured about this by Obama, since Obama did not choose to serve his country..." What an arrogant (expetive deleted). I did not serve and guess what Johnny Boy.... I still have opinions. This statement shows such a lack of understanding of what America is about it is mind boggling.

Posted by: Paul | May 30, 2008 2:22 AM

To usaDave,

I don't know what military industrial machine you think is being perpetuated. I've seen allowances, bonuses, and man power shrink incredibly over the past few years in MY Air Force, along with funding and experience which has been phased out to make for an Air Force Lite. Things are getting tight around my neck of the woods.

Secondly, the GI Bill is primarily funded by the troops, not your tax dollars. Get your facts straight. Troops pay into it for 2 years and must serve for at least 3 before they can take advantage of any of the benefits. A lot of them never use it and that's why it slowly goes up over the years.

Maybe you should take the USA off the front of your name. Or at least spell it in all caps instead of just the Dave part. It's easy to see who you care about.

I've worked 80 hours a week busting my ass to keep planes in the air with no extra pay and no bonuses for years solid because I love this country.

Also, I graduated from high school with a weighted average of 96. I wouldn't necessarily call that below average.

You sound like an elitist who is out of touch with your own nation. Isolated, bitter, contemptuous, and scornful.

You're a sad of example of the fat pigs that want the American life without supporting the very thing that sustains it.

Keep biting the hand and eventually the food won't be there any more.

Posted by: Robert | May 29, 2008 9:21 PM

The debate over the new GI Bill introduced by Senator Webb has broken along traditional party lines for the most part. Nothing new here; Republican's have fought these types of benefits going back to FDR and continuing through Nixon & Ford to the present time. The Republican's have no qualms about putting our troops in harms way with inadequate armor, wrong weaponry, and too few troops, and now they want to keep our troops in uniform even after they have fulfilled their obligations by eliminating benefits they deserve by defending our country. The senator from Alaska is even worse. He got his education through the 1944 bill and now wants to renege on benefits for the current generation of our military. They need to spend more time on really supporting the troops and not just pinning on flag lapel pins.

Posted by: Bobz | May 29, 2008 7:39 PM

Finnally, someone got McCain to admit what we all knew about the republican agenda, it's hurt by economic viability.

What if college became affordable again? Will we all die? The smoking gun will be a mushroom cloud? Saddam will use his WMD's against us? That's what will happen if we lose the war in Iraq right, that's why we went there, right?

Posted by: PumpkinJoe | May 28, 2008 3:31 PM

JakeD:

Half the people are below average intelligence, note.

Posted by: Billw | May 28, 2008 12:23 PM

Billw:

So true -- and one would assume those who read / post at WaPo are the most politically asute -- how scary is THAT?!

Posted by: JakeD | May 28, 2008 11:54 AM

It would be illuminating if the posters here would identify themselves as combat veterans, or not. In my neck of the woods (active duty Marine Corps), the very nearly unanimous view is that Senator McCain has turned his back on us, as he assumes we're safely in the Republican column. He's playing to the breast beating know-nothings who fight their wars from their Lay-Z-Boys.

McCain is a sell-out, pure and simple. A shriveled old dogma-spewing party hack. Picture the turkey on the table in the movie "Christmas Vacation" staring Chevy Chase... McCain, like the shriveled remnants of the over-cooked bird, is a grotesque carcass of his former self, reduced to being a mouth-piece of the Bush machine.

Sad.

Posted by: Vietnam Vet | May 28, 2008 1:10 AM

I just read a blog about John McCain that had the following to say about the issue,
"John McCain in vetoing this bill has shown a very cavalier attitude and insensitive attitude towards the troops who protect our country in several ways. The first way he has shown his disrespect and contempt for the troops is by not extending to the troops the same privileges and rights this country extended to him when he attended the Naval Academy. Any student who attends a Federal Military Academy is extended free Tuition and Board for the entire time that they attend. Therefore attendance at WestPoint, The Naval Academy, and The Air Force Academy is free. John McCain did not pay a cent for his Military education and the refusal to grant servicemen who have already served our country the same right extended to those who have not ever served or country and may never serve our country is reprehensible and shameful." Th link is: http://blackhippychick.wordpress.com

Posted by: Luna | May 27, 2008 10:32 PM

GI benefits should be based on merit (whether or not they should get them) not on how they may effect the military.

Posted by: jwt1949 | May 27, 2008 9:20 PM

Hey, JakeD,
"What, is McCain now a "racist" for simply pointing that study out? "

This McCain Dude is anti-American, since he criticized a veteran bill. Yeah, that's the ticket - anti-American. Never mind the details, takes too long to read 'em anyway. I'm voting for Webb. BTW, what office is the Webb Dude running for?

Posted by: Billw | May 27, 2008 5:48 PM

I completely disagree with Mccain's proposal. Haven't the veterans been through enough havoc and war losing limbs and suffering from PTSD? The least we can do for them is provide them with substantial benefits. My god, has America become selfish and is not for freedom and democracy? I guarantee that if we do not pass the new GI Bill plan, we will lose more soldiers then gain? I think anybody who disagrees with the new proposed GI Bill should get punched in the face for not having enough respect for our nation and our troops. Shame on America.

Posted by: Brendan | May 27, 2008 5:28 PM

McCain=Bush=worst economic times in my lifetime. GI's already get plenty with bonuses and reenlistment fees. Don't like what the Armed Services provide, then don't volunteer. I can't see bribing below average highschoolers and the like with any more money to stay and fight an illegal war.

Likewise I can't see giving any more money to soldiers that attend the acadamies. They are doing quite well with the system in place now. Get an early retirement and all the other perks.

Again, don't like what the career gives you now, don't enlist and save me my tax dollars which I feel are being wasted away by the military industrial machine perpetuated by this ultra-moron that is your president.

Posted by: usaDave | May 27, 2008 3:25 PM

Mad As Hell:

Could you at least specifically quote what you think is "DOUBLE-TALK"? Then we could discuss intelligently. Have you read McCain's proposed GI Bill?

Posted by: JakeD | May 27, 2008 1:11 PM

CLASSIC GOP "DOUBLE-TALK"; THE LAST EIGHT YEARS HAVE BEEN MARKED BY THIS KIND OF P-H-O-N-Y OXYMORON called "Compassionate Conservatism"

Posted by: Mad As Hell | May 27, 2008 1:06 PM

McCain said that Webb's BILL (not him personally) was a bad idea -- it will drive soldiers out of the armed services at a time when the country is trying to expand the size of the military -- in fact, McCain has nothing but praise for Webb personally. Is it now "out of bounds" to point out that Webb's bill would reduce the military's retention rate by 16 percent? "Encouraging people to choose to not become noncommissioned officers would hurt the military and our country very badly." What, is McCain now a "racist" for simply pointing that study out?

Posted by: JakeD | May 27, 2008 1:04 PM

JR:

Do you have a study to back up your increased enlistment claim? Also, when did McCain criticize Webb? FDR was Secretary of the Navy too, but didn't serve a day in the military.

Posted by: JakeD | May 27, 2008 1:00 PM

What McCain has rather conveniently failed to mention is Webb's GI bill would also stimulate enlistment and build a better middle class based more on people who have served in the military.

It would also build a better military because we would get better recruits. Right now with recruitment down we have lowered the bar to qualify to serve in the armed forces meaning that we now accept people with criminal backgrounds or mental issues into our armed services. Some of them get straightened out, many of them go on to commit crimes while serving and upon leaving the armed services will continue with their criminal ways, only now they've been trained to fight and kill.

Webb's GI bill will build a better society.

Posted by: JR | May 27, 2008 12:56 PM

I find it curious that McCain criticizes Obama on the basis of "He didn't serve and I did", basically "he's a young wipper-snapper and I'm the grizzled veteran."

By his own logic then, who is he to criticize Jim Webb?

McCain was a navy pilot, apparently not a very good one (he crashed 5 planes and finished near last in his class) and Jim Webb was the SECRETARY OF THE NAVY under Ronald Reagan.

Posted by: JR | May 27, 2008 12:50 PM

Leonidas, C.J., Clarence, et al:

John SIDNEY McCain offered his own GI Bill that was, in fact, MORE generous for GIs who served more than one enlistment period. Otherwise, one study indicated up to 16% decrease in retention rates. McCain's bill would have increased monthly education benefits to $1500; eliminated the $1200 enrollment fee; and offered a $1000 annually for books and supplies. Importantly, McCain's bill would have allowed veterans to transfer those benefits to their spouses or dependent children or use a part of them to pay down existing student loans. McCain's bill increased benefits to the Guard and Reserve, and even more generously to those who serve in the Selected Reserve.

Posted by: JakeD | May 27, 2008 11:02 AM

Two items in the post:
1) "In the past week, the Republican has also repeatedly attacked Obama for having a "reckless" and "naive" view of foreign policy that includes unconditional meetings with leaders of enemy countries."

Someone should ask Sen. McWar what he thinks of Bush's commisserations with Sudan and his rapproachment with North Korea (which I see McCain now disagrees with). Ask him if he believes Bush is as naive as Obama.

2) "I detest war".

Oh really? He then goes on to prattle that "war" is not the worst that can happen to man/humans and a series of "buts" then ensue. He is proving to be one major flopper...during the same thought sequence.

Posted by: Ohillary | May 27, 2008 10:12 AM

...Standing "athwart" popular opinion."

Right, John. Just like "W".

There is nothing in, or about, Iraq that is worth one Americans life. The sooner the US extricates itself from that mess, the better.

So, the war is the issue in November, John, and your support for it demonstrates to me that you don't understand America's priorities...you're out of touch. You're naive and inexperienced...just like "W".

If you (the electorate) want four more years of the Bush legacy, then vote for John....you're sure to get it.

Posted by: skiloypet | May 27, 2008 9:11 AM

The corrupt rich don't want soldiers getting educated because Knowledge is Power: those with the physical and spiritual wherewithal to place their lives at sacrifice for the country can pose a terrible threat to those living on ill-gotten gains at the expense of the People.

Posted by: Leonidas | May 27, 2008 8:43 AM

Lets see if I have this correct. We want the poor and middle class to fight the war. The rich get to sit back and laugh and play golf. The republicans get to bankrupt the country so there money can go farther. We want the veterans to do all the fighting and we do not want them to go to school. I say if you do not believe they deserve college; start the draft and see how soon after some rich kid dies the war ends.

Posted by: C.J. Glenn | May 27, 2008 7:32 AM

Clearly Mccain is out of touch with the soldiers. The current GI bill allowas a soldier to attend college on the GI bill after serving three years. They can leave after three years and they can go to school while on active duty. If college was going to make them get out of the military they woul already be leaving. Is college is what's keeping the rich out of the war. Is that why we are afraind to use the word draft. Why do we not share the waelth when it comes to the war. The republicans want all of the wealth but none of the war. It is clearly a poor mans war. I can not believe McCain would use that comment saying the soldiers should not get the very benefits the recruiters are boasting about. Are the recruiters lying about the college benefits? Are the military ads a lie? There is nothing wrong with the GI's going to school. Also what about those who are injured and can not complete the three years. McCain has clealry missed the point a has proven he speaks before he does his home work. I think making him president would be the third biggest mistake this country has made.

Posted by: Clarence Glenn | May 27, 2008 7:17 AM

There is an opportunity to have a great GI bill if McCain, and Obama, and Webb, could reach out and see the pro's and con's of the 2 competing proposals.

On one hand todays one term GI's, especially those doing the actual fighting, have faced multiple deployments to Iraq. Therfore providing the ability to go to college appears a just benefit.

On the other hand, it does pose a risk to developing a strong NCO core for the military.

Negotiating the needs of the military and rewarding today's GI's plus considering transporability seems like the thing to do.

Posted by: bonatz | May 27, 2008 5:14 AM

Obama/Webb 08!

Posted by: PaigeInPhilly | May 27, 2008 3:11 AM

Oh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!God, Jesus, somebody up there help us, poor little black sheep down here in this gar-barge!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE Please......I beg you on my knees from sin city......

Posted by: Mary had a little lamb. | May 27, 2008 2:30 AM

You guys are all a bunch of babies. In case you weren't paying attention, John McCain sponsored the increase in the death gratuity that you would all enjoy, if you'd just die.

Real men die for their county. for the rest of you babies who just get injured (or, even worse, come back from war with no injuries, just suck it up).

G.I. Bill? That's just going to make you want to leave the military, as Senator McCain points out, very practically.

Get with the McCain program... die, get medically retired due to disabling injury, or stay in the military until retirement.

What a bunch of cry babies. You go John!!!

Posted by: Vietnam Vet | May 27, 2008 1:06 AM

Posted by: USMC Steve
I'm currently in the Army as an 11B (Infantry)... I see the Webb GI Bill as a hope for my family... I support McCain regardless; but wonder why serving screws me in the end?
-----------------------
Steve,

May I suggest a couple of things you can do?

1. Have your family and all your buddies' families write your Senators and Congressmen and ask them to vote to override the President's veto, if it comes to that. A mailbag full of letters from GI families might turn a vote here and there, and those couple of votes could make the difference.

2. Have the same people write to Sen. McCain and ask him to reconsider his position. He's pretty far out on a limb on this one, so it's hard to imagine him reversing himself, but you can always try.

Thank you for your service; hope you return home safely and soon!

Posted by: Scott in NC | May 27, 2008 12:49 AM

WOW... This is an issue made in Heaven for the Democrats. This is not fair given Senator McCain's steadfast support for veterans over his entire political lifetime. One mistake does not a bad man make. And, Senator McCain is not beyond recognizing a mistake and correcting it. He came around on illegal immigration, and he will come around on his anti-veteran position. It is simply inconceivable that a Republican nominee for President could, ultimately, hold a position that is so profoundly hostile to the military. I mean, it would be like electing Pol Pot as President, if John McCain continues to stand behind this cruel Bush administration position. McCain is a clever guy, if nothing else. He won't, at last, betray us.

Posted by: T Bolvari | May 27, 2008 12:48 AM

John McCain..... Bad bad man. Very very bad man... and kind'a sad, as well.

Posted by: USMCDevilDog45 | May 27, 2008 12:36 AM

Those of us in the military get it. Senator McCain will do ANYTHING IT TAKES to get elected, including throwing combat veterans under the bus to seal the deal with evangelicals and budget hawks (who, by the way, just delivered hundreds of billions of dollars to millionaire agro-businessmen solely to buy their votes). What a disgusting end to an otherwise meaningful life.

Posted by: USMC Steve | May 27, 2008 12:32 AM

I'm currently in the Army as an 11B (Infantry). I joined during the time of war instead of going to college to serve my country & now realizing that I made that decision I am far behind my friends in education & fear on getting out. I see the Webb GI Bill as a hope for my family. I have been on 2 deployments to Iraq & will have been away from my wife for 3 years of my 5 year contract. I support McCain regardless; but wonder why serving screws me in the end?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 11:44 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 11:41 PM

It's strange that McCain has no problem whatsoever with his Republican pals who run Blackwater tempting Special Forces soldiers out of the Army with six-figure signing bonuses.

Could that have anything to do with the fact that McCain's campaign is run by uber-lobbyist Charlie Black, who has long represented Blackwater in Washington?

Posted by: oddball | May 26, 2008 11:14 PM

Despite the sprinkling of diatribes, many of the posts here are among the most thoughtful and well reasoned as any I have read any time; virtually of these remarkable comments are from soldiers. Some comments and observations:

* Vets know what a real firefight is, who the real enemy is, how to fight him with honor and courage, and when to it's time to leave the battlefield.
* Vets see through rhetoric into practical things like military strategy and tactics, spending patterns, policies to enhance recruiting and reenlistment, and politicians' voting records.
* Our country has grown up a lot since Vietnam. Today, those who hate the war can still love the soldier.
* Our Vets are a tremendous national resource. We should afford them the care and opportunity they deserve, and we should listen carefully to what they have to say.

Happy Memorial Day!

Posted by: Scott in NC | May 26, 2008 11:14 PM

correction:

Who you got your money on?

Posted by: knowledge_unchallenged | May 26, 2008 11:11 PM

He just drew Webb in the fight.

McSame/Huckabee

BamBam/Webb

How you got your money on?

Bring it on, round ONE. Ding Ding Ding
Lets get ready to rumble...

Posted by: knowledge_unchallenged | May 26, 2008 11:10 PM

What is these soldiers' problem? Why do they need government helping them?

If you need money when you get home, just leave your wives and kids and run off with a multi-millionaire beer heiress.

Posted by: John McCain | May 26, 2008 11:09 PM

"McCain praised Webb as "an honorable man who takes his responsibility to veterans very seriously.""

I guess he couldn't tell Webb that he had no right to lecture him on what's good for the Vets like he told BamBam. You remember he told BamBam he didn't meet his responsibility and served in the Army. I guess he can dismiss Webb so easy.

BamBam/Webb 08

Posted by: knowledge_unchallenged | May 26, 2008 11:04 PM

McCain is correct not to support this bill. At this time we need as many people possible in the military to wrap up the wars. If soldiers quit midway in the war it will embolden the enemies of America. I travel around the world and see America's might being laughed upon, now the only chance to recoup it is by winning and not quitting.

Posted by: Maverik | May 26, 2008 11:02 PM

Told you the RNC owns him.
Bush III.

College is the very best thing for vets.

There is no excuse Bush/McSame can make for what they are doing.


Posted by: shrink2 | May 26, 2008 10:43 PM

And this guy wants to be president? I don't remember hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty as being a requirement. They were just bonuses that Bush brought to the office. Not one mention that the bill may attract soldiers too.

How do right-wing bloviates defend this? How good at you at hypocrisy? Answer these:

1) What kills you worse, cancer or nerve gas?

2) Is it better to catch leprosy from a legal immigrant or an illegal immigrant?

3) How many gainfully employed people want to switch careers to become migrant workers?

4) What is the difference between socialized medicine and the VA?

5) How many Democratic presidents were communists?

6) How many took away your right to bear arms?

7) How many brought about economic ruin or nationalized industry?

8) How many gay marriages have Massachusetts and California forced people into?

9) How many religious prophecies have come true?

10) How long was the power out during the Y2K changeover?

11) How many airplanes fell out of the sky then?

12) How many think the data on global warming has been faked but the Bible is accurate?

13) If energy is very important to our security and economic well being, then why was the Department of Energy only funded to the tune of $24.3 billion in 2008, but the DoD budget is $606 billion for the same period, excluding the cost of war?

14) If an IED in Iraq costs $100-200 dollars, and kills as many people as a Hellfire missile costing $60,000 why doesn't the US deploy IED's?

15) What is the moral difference between dropping a bomb in an urban area, and setting off a bomb in an urban area?

16) When the US gave Saddam chemical weapons technology in the 1980's, did they want him to use the technology or not?

17) If Iran is supplying weapons that are being used against US troops, how are those weapons different than the ones we supplied to Iraq for use against Iran?

18) The tactics used by the Minutemen during the revolutionary war are very similar to those being used against us in Iraq. Did this nation employ terrorism in its defense against England?

19) If "a few dead-enders" have given us this much trouble in Iraq, why will attacking Iran, a country of 80 million people who know our tactics, be any easier?

20) If it's cool that your friend got a BJ at work, why not Clinton?

21) If it's not cool that your friend lied to you about many things, why is it cool that Bush did?

That's all for now.

Posted by: KAckermann | May 26, 2008 10:33 PM

Boy, the Republicans sure just don't get it. They repeatedly say they support the troops, but in actuality, they don't. Surely Bush didn't support troops by making sure the equipment was sufficient to go to war, and of course, it wasn't. Manly brave men and women died because of this administrations gross incompetence.
When POW's from the war sued the Bush Administration for reparations, the administration was against the POW's. Instead Bush was the money to go to Iraq. Huh??? Support the troops, huh?
Time and time again the honorable Veteran groups have supported Republican candidates for the most part. I think it's time that those same groups rethink their votes.
Sen. McCain says basically to the troops, we want to support your education, but it's way to expensive. I'd rather give the money to big oil.
When are those military groups going to wake up to the fact that the Republican party doesn't really support the troops. They just want you to think they do.

Posted by: Chase | May 26, 2008 10:28 PM

What's going to happen is when the war is over people are going to drop this issue like a hot potatomasher.Their going to do what they always do call us complainers and tell how lucky we are that we spend our lives in and out of VA Hospitals.

Posted by: classof68 | May 26, 2008 10:26 PM

This business about the GI Bill lowering the retention rate is a crock. McCain is opposing the bill because he is kowtowing to the conservative tightwad portion of the Republican Party.

These miserable skinflints are all for supporting the troops until you threaten to actually spend money on the troops. Then they find excuses like this to say no.

Posted by: maggots | May 26, 2008 10:11 PM

Is it just me, or does anyone else pick up on the outrageous hypocrisy of McCentury's statements? I hear him saying "Don't give our soldiers a chance in life because they will leave the service."

What happened to supporting our troops? What happened to "economic incentives"? After all, what will do more to improve our economy - a one-time $300 check or a college degree?

Posted by: martiniano | May 26, 2008 10:10 PM

What in the world do these crybabies want now. Back in the Spanish American War when I first got in the military there were no post -service benefits. I harken back to the good ole days, when men were men and the government got away with treating veterans like crap.

Posted by: John McAnus | May 26, 2008 10:02 PM

Worried about soldiers getting back to some semblance of normal lives, McCain is fighting reasonable benefits. That really sucks, John. You're so concerned about waging war in the short term you are ready to screw your own soldiers. Sad.

Posted by: Don in VA | May 26, 2008 10:00 PM

Worried about soldiers getting back to some semblance of normal lives, McCain is fighting reasonable benefits. That really sucks, John. You're so concerned about waging war in the short term you are ready to screw your own soldiers. Sad.

Posted by: Don in VA | May 26, 2008 10:00 PM

As a medical officer in Iraq 2003-2004, I will never forget the nights when despite our best efforts, my team and I had to place brave American Soldiers in body bags. We need to continue to honor their sacrifice. We need to give all our remaining troops and veterans the best we have. Senator McCain's bill falls far,far short. From someone who says he supports all of our people in uniform, this is a startling disappointment.

Posted by: oifdoc | May 26, 2008 9:45 PM

"Present recruitment is in such trouble now, there are practically no requirements left. They've raised the age limit, lowered physical requirements, no high-school diploma requirement, accepting non-citizens and people with prison records. Now, wouldn't it make better sense to raise GI benefits to attract more recruits, rather than build an army of misfits?" Posted by: Joyce | "

Well, the Republicans beat back a provision that would have allowed Illegal immigrants who were brought to this country as children from earning citizenship by enlisting and serving a normal (three year) term. I don't remember exactly, but didn't John side with his president on that one?

I DO remember occasional articles in the Pacific Stars and Stripes talking about soldiers taking Special Leave to Guam to take their oaths of citizenship, earned by serving in the military for a specified period of time. Make full amnesty and citizenship after six years and at least one combat tour and you will get lots more than that 16% you will lose by passing the Webb bill, especially if said amnesty were to include immediate family. Sorta like the French Foreign Legion.

John just doesn't want to pay for George's war if he can avoid it.

Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | May 26, 2008 9:44 PM

"I do think it is an insult to the men (my brothers) and women who are and have served this country to say that if you do 3 years you can get a full ride."

Anyone risking their lives in an illegal war for a criminal president deserves a lifetime pension and full education, I don't give a damn if they serve three weeks or three years.

You talk about insulting servicepeople. Where's your brain? Try to engage it before spewing idiocy.

McCain's blown it again. It's getting funnier everyday.

Goldwater will be thought of as having "done OK" compared to the landslide that's gonna bury John McCain, political coward and pathetic Bush clone.

Posted by: SteveCO | May 26, 2008 9:42 PM

tom brady | May 26, 2008 6:19 PM

What was he talking about that "needed" to be censored? No trace left but your ad hominem...which makes you look un-American.

The article was fine, pretty objective. No the reason I am commenting is to shine a light on one of the posters. Whoever "Will Jones" is, I'm just thankful he doesn't live in my neck of the woods.It scares me how many people in this country are absolutely nutters. I worry sometimes about the future of our species as well as the rest of the web of life on this rock. Then I read comments from fellows like Jones and I think, maybe our departure from the stage wouldn't be such a catastrophe.

Posted by: tom brady | May 26, 2008 6:19 PM

Posted by: JP Zenger | May 26, 2008 9:33 PM

Steve,

Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham are full of sh!t

Sen. Warner has already agreed to amend the Webb bill to provide transferability

Posted by: USMarine1171 | May 26, 2008 9:31 PM

This issue is beginning to gain the attention of a lot of folks outside the military, thank goodness. McCain's position is so at odds with his so-called support of the US military that it really exposes him as a big hypocrite. The more people who hear about this, the more votes will be siphoned away from him and toward others who really give a damn about veterans... once again, thank goodness!

Posted by: Navy Guy | May 26, 2008 9:30 PM

He criticizes Webb's bill but he didn't take the time to vote on it. McCain's bill didn't stand a chance of passing. It was just smoke in an election year. If this tool really wanted to support the troops, he should sponsor a bill recalling the military draft.
It's hardly fair to keep re-deploying our weary troops into combat zones. More than 2,000 active duty soldiers attempted suicide in 2007 with over 300,000 suffering PTSD.
But, the draft would cause protests. God forbid, Bush co couldn't stand the heat!

Posted by: charlestonpaul | May 26, 2008 9:14 PM

John is opposed to the Webb GI bill because it will drive soldiers out of the military? Guess what, multiple tours with insufficient home time, deteriorating morale, deteriorating families, severe mental stress poorly dealt with when not treated as criminal on the part of the mentally wounded is driving men out at the first opportunity. That is why the Army has to stop loss so many soldiers who have completed their agreed on terms of service and want out before George, Dick, and John get another chance to kill them.

If this war is so almighty important, John should be rising every day in Congress asking for a return of the draft anfd a 1.5 million man Army. He should also be demanding taxes to pay forthis misbegotten war.

Instead, he wants those poor suckers who are already paying the high price of George's arrogance to be deterred from drawing the appropriate conclusion, that George, Dick, and John don't give a tinker's dam about them, caring only for their pride and their posturing.

John doesn't deserve the votes of a single Veteran, and certainly doesn't deserve the votes of a single member of the current armed forces.

If the VFW or the American Legion let John pass on this, their rank and file ought to resign enmasse.

Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | May 26, 2008 9:10 PM

McCain: Billions for Halliburton, Blackwater & the mercenary private army of Bushco.

McCain: Nothing for US Servicemen.

Don't vote for four more years of Bushco.

Posted by: artforhumans | May 26, 2008 9:05 PM

Senator McCain, what gives you the right to speak for me? What gives you the right to deny me a better chance at a higher education? You know what the current GI Bill pays for? Night school. How the hell am I supposed to go to school and support my family on $9780 a year? How can you not support an initiative reminiscent of the very GI Bill that enabled your generation's parents to return from the second World War and make a better life for their family through their education? What is your argument sir? That service member's intellectual growth must be held in check, otherwise they'd wise up and leave? How dare you, sir. I enlisted in a time of war to defend my country. My comrades have fought and died. My comrades have returned home with no eyes. My comrades have lost limbs. My friends have done these things for you, even when they disagreed with your dubious logic and your bankrupt argument for why they were there in the first place. I continue to serve today, not because I agree with this war, but in spite of it.

A true leader would recognize that a more educated servicemember is an asset to the military, plain and simple. How dare you, sir, deny this opportunity to men and women who have bled to support your ill-informed goals? You are no longer a United States Naval Officer, Senator McCain, that much is obvious. The officers I know, and whom I respect, IN MY NAVY, want nothing but the best for their men. You sir, have lost my vote.

Posted by: A United States Sailor | May 26, 2008 8:44 PM


McCain thinks this will drive soldiers out of the military?

The whole point is to drive the military out of politics.

Posted by: wardropper | May 26, 2008 8:34 PM

I used the GI Bill to go to college after returning from Vietnam in "71". It didn't pay for everything,but hell help was help. The Republican mantra has been we need to be educated to compete, well heck this is a good way to get us on the right track. I served 2 tours in vietnam, and the second was by choice, kept my brother from going over. I respect the men and women who are being forced to do more than 1 tour in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you have never been in a combat zone, you don't have a clue as to what it is like. All the chicken hawk neocons, need to keep their collective pie hole shut on this point. hell they don't even get near a combat zone even as a correspondent like many of their "liberal" counter parts do. Rush Limberger and his bu t t boil for a deferment,and his toothless minions need to shut the F u c k up.It must be the inbred Hillary supporters that are listening to him. You know the "white angry uneducated ones"...Don't get me started on that traitor McCain.

Posted by: OldgeezerNamvet | May 26, 2008 8:34 PM

If McCain believes that soldiers would leave for educational opportunities, that is a pretty obvious admission that significant numbers of our troops have lost faith in their mission, or never had it to begin with. If a democrat made such statements about our troops, that they have a 'whats in it for me' attitude, Republicans would waste no time calling it an insult to the troops.

Posted by: Ollie3 | May 26, 2008 8:32 PM

The Republicans continue to keep their heads buried deep in the sand. It started with a war costing only a few Billions -"$200 Billions is way over the mark" said P. Wolfowitz. It continues with a war that will pay for itself, so -"there is no need to raise taxes" said G.W. Bush. And again with McCain who is waging a fantasy war. The cost so far is close to One $Trillion. If we stopped tomorrow, it would be another Trillion in benefits, interest from the war debt, etc. We spent enough money to fix social security AND medicare for the next 75 years. How long are we going to continue chasing gargoyles and fictionary evils while the thieves in the Iraqi government take our money? The country is on its knees. McCain, please go away.

Posted by: cestfini | May 26, 2008 8:19 PM

John McCain gets cranky, whenever anyone questions him on any important issue in this election -he gets hot tempered with his colleagues, the news media and his rival on the Dmocratic side. One good example is the GI Bill sponsred by Sen. Webb of Virginia.

Sen. McCain: get ready, your spoken words, legislative positions and dealings -past and present with lobbyists- are legitimate areas of inquiry in determining your candidacy for the presidency.

As for the pot shot you took at Sen. Obama for questioning your rationale for opposing the GI Bill: sir, though you may have served in the military, like other Americans, you and your legislative and policy position on the GI Bill and other programs for our veterans are not beyond reproach.

One good reason for Sen. Obama and the news media to question you on your opposition to the GI Bill is that, inspite of being a military man (a veteran, and serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee -experience that did not serve the better interest of the American people when it mattered most), you, as a member of the Senate, authorized the decision to go to war in Iraq. You have cowardly, now engaged in rewriting history and shifting the blame to the Bush administration and the civilian leadershipon, without assigning any blame and responsibility to yourself and our fellow members of Congress, who were part and parcel of the deliberation and decision to go to ward in Iraq.

May I remind you, Sen. McCain, sir: that as a member of the US Senate, you should know that the constitution gave the right to declare war, only to the US Congress. A responsible military man, should know, that, before you give authorization to go to war (considering the potential risk to our troops), you should make sure there is a very good plan to execute and prosecute the war -you just do not give authority to go to war without having to have asked, where is the plan to prosecute the war. You and most of your colleagues failed to do this -conduct due diligence, and that is one of the reasons, we as a nation, and our troops are suffering a higher rate of casualty than should have been the case. Things did not start going wrong, overnight. I want you to take responsibility for that -that you and other members of Congress also failed to carry out its constitutional duties diligently, and by so doing, failed the American people and our troops also.

As an American, and someone, who cares about this country, a great deal, I cannot in good conscience, see you, or Hillary Clinton, cowardly, shift the blame for the challenges of this war, to the Bush administration, and not take any responsibility for how this war has turned out.

Listening to you, read your prepared statement today, during which you blamed this administration and civilian leaders for the poor outcome of the war in Iraq, Sen. McCain, is a grotesque act of cowardice, Senator, McCain!

Posted by: Ignatius Anyanwu | May 26, 2008 8:18 PM

Isn't this position of McCain's the most disgusting thing I have heard today? McCain appears to believe that the only honorable way out of the military is in a pine box.

It's Tommy this and Tommy that, and "Tommy, ow's your soul"

But it's the "red line of heroes" when the drums begin to roll.

For McCain, they're just cannon fodder.

Posted by: POed Lib | May 26, 2008 8:13 PM

The Webb bill supported by Obama would "drive soldiers out," McCain says?

Brings to mind Carl Sandburg's unanswered yet now approachable question,

What if they gave a war and nobody came?

Posted by: FirstMouse | May 26, 2008 7:58 PM

McCain completely misinterprets the effect of this bill. It is an incentive to join, not an incentive to leave.

Posted by: armchair_genius | May 26, 2008 7:40 PM

This from the Boston Globe article link;

The original GI Bill provided full tuition, housing, and living costs for some 8 million veterans; for many, it was the engine of opportunity in the postwar years. But, in the mid 1980s, the program was scaled back to a peacetime program that pays a flat sum. Today the most a veteran can receive is approximately $9,600 a year for four years - no matter what college costs.

Also the article quotes a study that estimated every ONE dollar spent under the old program returned SEVEN dollars in economic benefit to our country.

Aren't our armed forces as important to America today as they were 60 years ago?

Webb's bill asks for no more than the original G.I. Bill gave.

The neo-cons & Zionists want to save as much as they can to fund the private armies like Blackwater to keep themselves in power.

Posted by: 2by2 | May 26, 2008 7:39 PM

Mccain flaw in thinking is, we would not have to worry about being short military men if we weren't over stretched in a pointless war. Our soldiers are not cowards nor will we not sign up to defend our country. We will not risk our lives for nothing or an old mans folly.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 7:28 PM

Gee, Senator McCain, you don't think sending troops into battles that never should have been fought, to die for lies and obfuscations -- you think that might drive people out of the military faster than a decent GI Bill?

Posted by: JimBob | May 26, 2008 7:18 PM

It seems to me that McCain's perspective is truly flawed on the GI Bill. His position advocates better benefits to those serving longer in the services; that NCOs are the "lifeblood" of the military. But, correct me if I am wrong, the longer one serves, the closer one is to being a lifer. And those are not the ones seeking college education, as the military becomes their career. Thus, McCain's proposal could dump all the money in the Treasury into the plan, and the net result would be fewer beneficiaries. Another classic Republican smoke-screen legislation -- do something that appears to be good intentioned, but in reality serves virtually no one. Thankfully, America is waking up to this type of moronic public policy.

Posted by: gso-chris | May 26, 2008 7:13 PM

I am a member of a family with lots of military, current and past. McCain has been trained as a member of the military, and still thinks like a GI.

Rules:

1) always obey your leaders
2) never openly question your orders or mission
3) do not overthink anything

Works for him.

Posted by: steve boyington | May 26, 2008 7:08 PM

It is interesting that Senator McCain views Webb's GI Bill only as a dis-incentive for people to stay in the Armed Services rather than view it as one of several additional incentives needed to ensure that American citizens will want to serve and stay in our Armed Services.

And it is also interesting that Senator McCain has yet to define what constitues a "victory in Iraq" nor delineate a military strategy on how to achieve it other than to keep troops in Iraq.

Senator McCain is fast becoming.....

A Master of the Status Quo

Posted by: Caryl S. Foster | May 26, 2008 6:48 PM

Why am I getting the impression that McCain is clueless about any number of issues confronting the American citizen. From his position on home mortgage assistance, his gas tax energy policy and his opposition to the new GI Bill, I wonder if he is fit to be President.

This is one old man who is either living in the past or is divorced from reality because of some severe problems. I'm sorry, but McCain may have been a great choice in 2000 but he is not competent to lead in 2008.

Posted by: svbreeder | May 26, 2008 6:46 PM

Having graduated from law school with a debt that took nearly a decade to pay off, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama wants to make college more affordable -- but his plan for doing so runs in direct opposition to Yale's position on student loans.

Several presidential candidates in recent weeks have suggested that they would change the structure of the federal financial aid system, either in an attempt to make college more affordable or to reduce government involvement in the aid system. But Obama, in a conference call with college reporters this week, made his position on the question of federal financial aid the loudest of all his competitors. He vowed to overhaul the aid system in order to curb corruption by eliminating the middleman between the federal government and students seeking loans.

"One way we can make college more affordable -- because a lot of young people have been asking me about this on the campaign trail -- is by reforming a wasteful system of student loans that benefits private banks at the cost of taxpayers," Obama said. "Private lenders are costing America's taxpayers more than 15 million dollars every day and provide no additional value except to the banks themselves. I think the system needs to be fixed."

Posted by: Elizabeth | May 26, 2008 6:40 PM

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America rated McCain a "D" and Obama a "B+" on their votes on veterans' issues. It's not just in this GI Bill that McCain has been miserly towards veterans and active duty.

I visited my brother in Veterans homes and VA hospitals from the Viet Nam years until his passing in 2001. Nothing has improved, and perhaps has gotten worse under all those presidents of BOTH parties. It wasn't the wonderful personnel, just lack of funding and government neglect.

We have seen our military benefits decline over the years, even though those benefits were "guaranteed" at the time of my husband's enlistment.

I heard Obama's wonderful Memorial Day speech today and it brought tears to my eyes. It IS a disgrace that many Vets sleep on the streets! It IS a disgrace that our younger Vets are returning back and not getting the treatment they need, or being sent back overseas over and over. For what?

It is a bigger disgrace that they are in Iraq in the first place and that anyone would think of keeping our soldiers there in order to "win" a war that can't be won.

Please join me in supporting Obama for President!

Posted by: connect the dots | May 26, 2008 6:19 PM

The article was fine, pretty objective. No the reason I am commenting is to shine a light on one of the posters. Whoever "Will Jones" is, I'm just thankful he doesn't live in my neck of the woods.It scares me how many people in this country are absolutely nutters. I worry sometimes about the future of our species as well as the rest of the web of life on this rock. Then I read comments from fellows like Jones and I think, maybe our departure from the stage wouldn't be such a catastrophe.

Posted by: tom brady | May 26, 2008 6:19 PM

John McCain's foreign policy is grounded in the nightmare of his Viet-Nam experience as he continues to relive it even today.

Just ask him and he will tell you that even though we lost over 47,000 brave American military and suffered nearly 250,000 casualtiies and despite killing over 2,000,000 Vietnamese in the process, that we could have "won" in that tiny southeast Asian country ( who by the way, was no threat to the United States,) if we had just stayed another 100 years or so. " The light at the end of the tunnel."

This man is a relic of the past and has no business (except his corporate friend's interests) of leading our country in a new direction. He is a mean spirited, angry old man who would better serve us by retiring to his luxurious ranch and tending to his barbecue and horses.

Not this time. We can't afford the Supreme Court Justices that he is sure to appoint, and the continuing failed policies of the disaster named George Bush

Posted by: Luke Gilmore | May 26, 2008 6:17 PM

McCain is wrong again...The reason recruitment is down and will continue to drop is the fact that they're being sent to fight an unjust, illegal war on continuous tours of duty. Our enlisted men deserve an education ...its a small price to pay for their sacrifice after the obscene amount we're paying to mercenaries like Blackwater.

Posted by: rowzeer | May 26, 2008 6:12 PM

The Bush/McCain argument that the proposed G.I. Bill will decrease enlistment is without merit. It completely ignores that more people will enlist BECAUSE of the G.I. Bill, effectively canceling out the number that will choose not to become noncommissioned officers.

Besides, shouldn't we be trying to bolster military recruitment by offering incentives and upward mobility, rather than by trying to keep the troops without higher education?

Posted by: Joe | May 26, 2008 6:06 PM

The Bush/McCain argument that the proposed G.I. Bill will decrease enlistment is without merit. It completely ignores that more people will enlist BECAUSE of the G.I. Bill, effectively canceling out the number that will choose not to become noncommissioned officers.

Besides, shouldn't we be trying to bolster military recruitment by offering incentives and upward mobility, rather than by trying to keep the troops without higher education?

Posted by: Joe | May 26, 2008 6:06 PM

obama is such a phony, so unreal. he's mr. feel good, a life coach. that's not what we need in the oval office, not now, not ever. look at the damage the last mr. feel good, jimmy carter did in his ridiculous four year stint. bog smiles, empty minds.

Posted by: realist
=====

If you believe that you aren't really listening. Obama is not about "feel good" at all. It's suck it up and make difficult and painful decisions for the future of this country and the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 5:40 PM

Perhaps if we were somehow able to pull out of Iraq 36 hours ahead of schedule there would be less resistance to the GI Bill....""Funding the GI Bill as Senator Webb proposes it for one year would cost this country what it spends in Iraq in 36 hours,"

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2008/02/10/gi_bill_falling_short_of_college_tuition_costs/?page=2

Posted by: 4 dollar gas | May 26, 2008 5:40 PM

Perhaps the VP could bring the wisdom gained from 6 (!!!) draft deferments during that goofy war we lost in Viet Nam to explain to the Rep. nominee why they are having problems with retention now....

Posted by: 4 dollar gas | May 26, 2008 5:37 PM

Well, isn't that typical for Bush and his cronies (among whom I now include McCain) to make a totally distorted argument by conveniently leaving out important information: this GI Bill is bad, they urge, because it will cause people not to reenlist, conveniently leaving out the obvious point that it will also attract people to enlist, essentially equally out. So to say that the Bill will cause us to lose soldiers is a bogus argument (i.e., a lie). The real to oppose it seems to be that it will cost us more money - and we can't spare any of that, especially as, come what may, we are forbidden to raise taxes. Another point to consider is that the arguments made against the Bill are entirely pragmatic - it will hurt our military - without weighing whether it is the right thing to do (gasp - why bring in these ancient, quaint, so-Pre-9/11 concepts as fairness and justice). If it would be fairer and juster to the soldiers to extend this benefit to them (any arguments contra?), in order to deal with the concern that the military will be weakened as a result of this Bill is to figure out other ways to increase enlistment and re-enlistment. Such options would also assuredly cost more money, but that is really what it comes down to. Since taxes cannot be raised, Bush and McCain are simply saying we must satisfy our security needs on the cheap and rip off the people most deserving - those who lay their life on the line (many of them losing it) to ensure our security. Cheap SOBs!

Posted by: Marecek | May 26, 2008 5:35 PM

obama is such a phony, so unreal. he's mr. feel good, a life coach. that's not what we need in the oval office, not now, not ever. look at the damage the last mr. feel good, jimmy carter did in his ridiculous four year stint. bog smiles, empty minds.

Posted by: realist | May 26, 2008 5:32 PM


First the senator needs to be reminded that this is not a "war" in Iraq but a multifaceted reaction to an illegal invasion - as in what Hitler did to Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc. If Bush really was concerned about the Iraqi people he would have found another less harmful way to rid them of their leader - the CIA is an expert at this.

I also agree that we should take the billions awarded to Halliburton,Blackwater, etc and allocate it to our own service people - for their salaries, health care, education, etc.

Posted by: Lise | May 26, 2008 5:29 PM

Great post. Obama gets it. He understands that underneath the layer of corruption at the top, in the marrow of this country, is a fundamental desire to fully live up to the principles on which it was founded, something we have only achieved a few times in our history. I'm sorry to have to say to all those who want to tear Obama down: I think this guy is the real deal.

Posted by: westatty | May 26, 2008 5:29 PM

Obama comments today in NM:

This sense of service is what America is all about. It is what leads Americans to enter the military. It is what sustains them in the most difficult hours. And it is the safeguard of our security. You see, America has the greatest military in the history of the world. We have the best training, the most advanced technology, the most sophisticated planning, and the most powerful weapons. And yet, in the end, though each of these things is absolutely critical, the true strength of our military lies someplace else. It lies in the spirit of America's servicemen and women. No matter whether they faced down fascism or fought for freedom in Korea and Vietnam; liberated Kuwait or stopped ethnic cleansing in the Balkans or serve brilliantly and bravely under our flag today; no matter whether they are black, white, Latino, Asian, or Native American; whether they come from old military families, or are recent immigrants - their stories tell the same truth.

It is not simply their bravery, their insistence on doing their part - whatever the cost - to make America more secure and our world more free. It's not simply an unflinching belief in our highest ideals. It's that in the thick of battle, when their very survival is threatened, America's sons and daughters aren't thinking about themselves, they're thinking about one another; they're risking everything to save not their own lives, but the lives of their fellow soldiers and sailors, airmen and Marines. And when we lose them - in a final act of selflessness and service - we know that they died so that their brothers and sisters, so that our nation, might live.

What makes America's servicemen and women heroes is not just their sense of duty, honor, and country; it's the bigness of their hearts and the breadth of their compassion.

That is what we honor today.

======

Wow. Profound.

Bush/Hillary/McCain could not match this speech even as a tagteam.

Posted by: ArmChairExpert | May 26, 2008 5:22 PM

McCain better shut his face if he doesn't want to get beaten worse than he did in Vietnam this Nov.

Posted by: 4 dollar gas | May 26, 2008 5:22 PM

Everything makes sense if Iraq is all about oil.

Posted by: Gator-ron | May 26, 2008 5:19 PM

I'm a Republican, and I've been tirelessly criticizing the Bush administration since late 2003, when I finally came to the conclusion that (as stated on a bumper sticker I saw back then): "The Emperor Has No Brains..."

I think you're wrong to cast this as a partisan issue. For example: Hillary "Obliterate Them All" Clinton would (in my opinion) be worse than McCain as far as continuing a foreign policy designed to antagonize nations who oppose us (rather than out thinking them). We need to reclaim our moral high ground and authority in foreign affairs, and re-build the trust of our military personnel that they will be treated fairly and all promises kept.

The strength of this nation can only be exercised if we stand for the principles in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Absent those principles, we become nothing more than a self-serving bully in the eyes of the world, and as only 5% of the world's population, I believe that's a recipe for our own disaster.

Posted by: westatty | May 26, 2008 5:18 PM

Webb's financial aid plan would do to the US Armed Forces what lawyers have tried to do to the death penalty: make it expensive in the hopes of making the military prohibitively expensive!

Posted by: DaTourist | May 26, 2008 5:18 PM

Bush/McCain want to restrict GI benefits because they fear soldiers will leave. Have they considered that a decent GI bill might bring in more recruits than it might cause to leave? Have they considered that a decent GI bill might attract better quality individuals? Have they considered morale may improve? I doubt it.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 5:16 PM

Plainly, Webb's financial aid package would compete with the US Armed Forces reenlistment program, and that's short sighted and dangerous.

The compensation of an all-volunteer Armed Forces is already astronomical compared to that of draftees.

McCain's right.

Posted by: DaTourist | May 26, 2008 5:16 PM

McCain is for the military brass who can't supply the manpower needs without accepting what previously were enlistment rejects. The present Commander in Chief can't fill his manpower needs without exploiting the troops he presently has, making enlistment less enticing. Webb's bill will only work if the attrition of troop strength lessens and that requires improving troop conditions which only the CinC can do.

The mission needs to cease. Bush, Rumsfeld knew this several years ago but chose to get by with what we have rather than to prepare for the future. McCain plans to deal only with the current situation and not be concerned about the implications to the future.

It seems to me that the patriot is Sen Webb and Sen McCain is an impostor and a braggart..

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 5:15 PM

I think America has had it up to here with legacy admitted Yalie dingbats taking control of our national policy as a matter of birthright.

Posted by: 4 dollar gas | May 26, 2008 5:15 PM

Republicans just want to fight every war, cut every benefits.

Posted by: Tim | May 26, 2008 5:14 PM

Bin Laden is fighting an economic war against America, not a military war. He didn't attack because he hated America, oh h#ll who doesn't??? He attacked because he saw a target of opportunity in the dingbat we elected president....

Posted by: 4 dollar gas | May 26, 2008 5:09 PM

Hi Bob22003;

Actually, 200 million dollars will buy you 14 1/2 HOURS of the Iraq war. We are actually spending 341.4 million dollars per day or 2 billion, 389 million, 800 thousand dollars per week in Iraq.

Posted by: Veteran1 | May 26, 2008 5:07 PM

McCain wants to continue to burn $12B/month of American taxpayer money babysitting a bunch of pathetic Iraqis intent on killing each other over oil, money, power, and religion. It is time to get out of the quagmire.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 5:04 PM

"..Funding the GI Bill as Senator Webb proposes it for one year would cost this country what it spends in Iraq in 36 hours,"

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2008/02/10/gi_bill_falling_short_of_college_tuition_costs/?page=2


Posted by: 4 dollar gas | May 26, 2008 5:00 PM

Just the fact that Republicans are criticizing Obama's foreign policy as "reckless" and "naive" would be laughable, if it weren't so tragic. obama did not oppose going to Afghanistan to combat the Taliban, al Queda and Osama bin Laden. But he had the prescient judgement on Iraq that McCain, Bush, Cheney, and the majority in congress (including Clinton) did not have.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 4:59 PM

McCain's solution/strategy is to continue to accumulate more and more American soldier casualties in this quagmire until the Iraq people can defend themselves - hello ... THEY ARE FIGHTING EACH OTHER - if there is going to be a civil war there - why sacrifice OUR SOLDIERS in the off-hand hope that they will all just wake up and agree that our way is the right way? This is an entirely DIFFERENT culture, it's been that way for hundreds if not thousands of years - beliefs that they cherish deeply - for us to trample onto to their holy land and "install" a Democracy is just a tad presumptuous isnt it? What happens if through their "elections" they choose an Iran friendly regime? Jamas was elected in Palestine. We need to get our troops off their land, regroup and refocus on Al Qaeda and continue to support the Iraq people however they choose to go. To just stay there pacing back n forth through the streets waiting to get blown up is just assanine. If they choose to blow each other up (Suny vs Shiite), we arent gonna stop them - only a fool would think otherwise - but God please don't let 10,000 soldier casualties occur until we figure that out.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 4:57 PM

I don't understand John McCain. He doesn't complain that the taxpayers are supporting 150,000 contractors in Iraq, including Blackwater, with a largely ex-military workforce all being paid far more than they ever could have made in the service. He doesn't seem troubled that we are sending troops for two, three, even four tours of duty in Iraq, including reservists and the National Guard, but when it comes to giving our troops a break when they return, McCain's against that. We're spending, what, over $200 million a month in Iraq but can't afford to give recent veterans an education? I'm sorry, but I just don't get it.

Posted by: Bob22003 | May 26, 2008 4:55 PM

I guess a housing depression a war disaster and $4 dollar gas isn't enough for the McCain supporters but don't worry because I'm sure there's lots going on we still don't know about....

Posted by: 4 dollar gas | May 26, 2008 4:55 PM

American solders are cannon fodder for Bush/Cheney/McCain's endless war in Iraq. McCain is afraid they might want to leave and improve themselves and get an education if they have GI bill. Can't have that -- the war machine may come to a grinding halt.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 4:55 PM

duhhhh duhhhhhhh duhhhhhh dubblya duhhhh dduhhhhh dduhhhhh donno.....

Posted by: 4 dollar gas | May 26, 2008 4:52 PM

What is scary for American isn't $4 gas so much as when we ask why the answer we get is "duhhhhhh...duhhhhhhhh.....duhhhhhhh.... dunno".

Posted by: d | May 26, 2008 4:49 PM

Victory in Iraq (per Bush/Cheney/McCain) means endless war and American soldiers in control of the oil fields.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 4:49 PM

JAZ says: "It is incredible to me how people like Obama and Webb are against ROTC on campuses or near high schools. Yet, they have no problem enticing our kids to go to war with the promise that after three years they get community college tuition.

Obambi did a summer's community service in Chicago and he got a Harvard scholarship for it. Seems like these lefties are trying to feign support for our troops on the cheap."

Pretty cheap words, JAZ, would you please name your sources. And plllleeeeaaaassssseeee, not one of those whacko right-wing web sites.

Posted by: Veteran1 | May 26, 2008 4:48 PM

McCain loves the troops, yet he wants to keep their retention high. So what to do?

I know! How about raising their pay?

No, sorry, that's off limits, because McCain refuses to raise taxes on guys like the Exxon CEO who just told a Congressional panel he made $32.7 million last year.

I know! How about saving money by ending the war in Iraq? Besides the money saved, I bet having the chance to live with their families would improve soldiers' retention anyway.

Sorry, that's off limits. If we weren't in Iraq, that Exxon CEO would never be making $32.7 million in the first place.

Posted by: B. Kaufmann | May 26, 2008 4:47 PM

i don't think America minds a war for oil per se but what we are asking now is why after longer than WW 2 is gas 4 dollars a gallon???

Posted by: d | May 26, 2008 4:43 PM

Vcop, I appreciate your service and respect your point of view. However, I find it hard to understand how any member of the military can endorse the continued flogging of a force far too small to complete a constantly changing mission. George H. Bush sent 540,000 American troops in to liberate Kuwait. His combat-ducking c-student son thought he could take a quick hip-shot, dispose of Saddam Hussein, and be the big hero. Five years and 4000+ deaths later, there is still no end in sight.

Add to that the disproportionate compensation being paid to private contractors (all of them making six-figures, even those who work in cafeterias serving meals), and it reveals an attitude towards our regular and reserve personnel that is simply shameful. Offering full-tuition after three years is peanuts compared to what they will have to pay to keep filling in the gaps going forward, so doesn't it make sense to up the ante for joining the military? The only alternative is the reinstatement of a draft (the only appropriate measure in an authentic national emergency, I might add), which is and always has been a non-starter where Iraq is concerned.

Both McCain and Bush have known all along they couldn't sell this war to the American people on it's merits, so they prosecute it on the backs of the existing military, and by filling in the gaps with massive deficit spending extracted from the pockets of future voters who aren't even born yet. I heard one Iraq veteran on 60-minutes some weeks ago discussing this issue, and he asked of our nation simply this: "Have we no honor?" I'm afraid that in the hearts and minds of our present leadership, the answer is simply, 'no'.

Posted by: westatty | May 26, 2008 4:41 PM

Well gosh why pay independent contractors $50,000 per month if it will only encourage them to fight for a month or two and then leave???

Posted by: D | May 26, 2008 4:40 PM

Will someone please explain to me what "Victory in Iraq" means? Trying hard to find a reason to support McCain here but the reasons for going into Iraq were either all false or flat out lies. So how on earth can victory even be possible in a war we should have never waged? How do you declare victory at any point with over 4000 dead and counting? Has anyone asked Bush for the truth as to why he took his eye off of Al Qaeda and onto a crippled Iraq? Was it seriously for oil? It is precariously ominous that in a nosediving economy, all of Bush/Cheney's oil associates are getting unfathomably rich - am I the only one who sees that? Why on earth would Mccain choose to continue this farce? Has Bush offered campaign funds or something? An unstable Iraq has destableized the entire middleeast - clearly that does not make us safer to any degree. We were attacked on 9/11 because of our military presence on their holy land - how on earth is keeping them there as targets for suicide bombers reducing Bin Ladens recruiting and making us safer? McCain has it wrong in a very big way. Can you imagine any other foreign military force present on us soil as being tolerated? Hell no. What on earth makes anyone think that ours over there is any better? How is that "victorous" ?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 4:39 PM

rather than reward vets for their service McCain wants to penalize them to force them to make a choice not in their best interests. That cannot be in America's best interests.

The answer to the conundrum McCain poses is not to trim the thanks vets receive for having served but to make the career option more attractive. Why hurt morale all the more? Isn't that a lesson already learned from the Bush-Rumsfeld blunders?

Sure, it'll cost more - but there is a cost to having a military composed of both dedicated individuals and those who join because they have few alternative options, thanks to education deficits and character deficits (which is what the loosening of standards has achieved in order to fill quotas), emotional impairments for which screening standards have been lowered, etc.

Another inducement to retention is to eliminate the "stop loss" orders and the endless of recycling to the war zones beyond what the military knows to be counter-productive to morale as well as personal wellbeing.

Make the career option more attractive financially too. Yep, it'll cost more, but isn't having an enhanced military force more worthwhile in terms of national security?

We already know that going into Iraq "on the cheap" by having less than half the forces the Army recommended has resulted in the insurgency having succeeded when it could have been put down immediately.

That Bush-Rumsfeld blunder has cost the military and this country far too much blood and treasure. McCain wants to continue with that pennywise philosophy, even when we ought to have learned that lesson already.

American will have the defense force it deserves; McCain wants to downgrade it even more than it has been.

Posted by: David | May 26, 2008 4:36 PM

Bad political move to try to spin your way out of veterans support on Memorial Day. Loses some points with this.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: matt | May 26, 2008 4:36 PM

Hey McCain was the only one calling for a change of strategy and for Donald Rumsfeld to quit. Give him credit for that at least!
Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 4:14 PM

Two thumbs for your desperate plea. He did, at least, do that. But, much too late.

Posted by: Rick/Sneads Ferry, NC | May 26, 2008 4:34 PM

A housing depression and a war disaster must not be enough for you McCain supporters......

Posted by: D | May 26, 2008 4:34 PM

Vcop: you are confused. the military officer core is 90% republican right now. Many of the earlier republicans who Bush had appointed were "relieved" when they would not sign onto his insane war. The reason no one wants to be in the military is because the elitist republican officer core can't figure out, based on their own nihilistic genuflecting to empire building, why "poor people" would want to be part of the military without some sort of chain. They don't believe anymore in honor or patriotism as a force in the army, just self-aggrandizement. An army of One, or more aptly, an army of "ME ME ME." The army is fighting stupid, destructive wars, and spending a few years in it is enough. It's like playing Russian Roulette. And where is the honor? Who are we fighting and why? We are fighting because we can get an education out of it, damn the morality?! If that's what this is about, then I'd say it's time to rethink what we are doing and why. There are less risky ways to get educated then palling around with immoral murderers who pay you like a mercenary and tell you not to ask any questions.

Posted by: owl | May 26, 2008 4:32 PM

"The original GI Bill paid full tuition and housing and living costs for 8 million veterans.."

"..Funding the GI Bill as Senator Webb proposes it for one year would cost this country what it spends in Iraq in 36 hours,"

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2008/02/10/gi_bill_falling_short_of_college_tuition_costs/?page=2


Posted by: D | May 26, 2008 4:30 PM

Stabilizin Iraq and make it a safe and democratic or as democratic as it can be. Hey McCain was the only one calling for a change of strategy and for Donald Rumsfeld to quit. Give him credit for that at least!
Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 4:14 PM

------------------------------------------
Big deal. He should have called the Commander in Chief to quit...you know...the "DECIDER". But no, McCain gave him the thumbs up and big hugs in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. And what's with the snide remark about Obama not serving in the military? Obama was a mere child during the Vietnam War, so no he didn't volunteer or get drafted.
Why hasn't he criticized the Republicans for their lack of military experience in executing this ill conceived debacle they got us into. Nary a whimper from McCain on Bush's Texas National Guard opt out of Vietnam - service which he didn't even complete. And Cheney's 5 - count them FIVE -deferrments. And the Neocons who concocted Iraq mess - Kristol, Wolfowitz, Perle, and the rest. They all assiduously avoided the military, except to send other people's kids to their stupid wars.

I RESPECT ALL THOSE WHO SERVE, BUT NOT ALL THE WARS THAT OUR POLITICIANS GET US INTO. OUR VETERANS DESERVE BETTER.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 4:30 PM

John McCain frankly doesn't care any more about the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan than George Walker Bush or for that matter any troops who have served in past wars including those who are buried in Arlington. It is a true tragic farce to see Bush putting a wreath on the grave of those who, like McCain, he despises. No GI Bill for those troops in Iraq and Afghanistan because there won't be enough human cannon fodder to satisfy Bush and McCain for their plans, which are already on the table, for new wars. For all you, die hard, Bush supporters who are going to vote for McCain beware. If McCain wins you and your families will, die hard, because you want it that way. And please John spare the world your phony out rage at what I have written. You have sold your soul to the Devils Advocates to get elected. You have a mighty strange way of talking straight. Oh I get it, you talk straight out of both sides of your mouth depending on who you are pandering to, corporate types on the right or the Republican Religious Right on your left. Honorable men don't do that. The old argument that you have pander to get elected is destroying what is left of Honor in the United States of America.

Posted by: russell | May 26, 2008 4:28 PM

What a sad world we live in. There is no knowledge, wisdom or substance to any article OR comment made on this page. It is just humans spitting idle words.

Posted by: aboveitall | May 26, 2008 4:27 PM

Let me get this straight. By providing a meaningful veterans education program the US decreases it's military retention because the veteran of one enlistment has an option to better his life, and might not reenlist, versus the current situation of having no better options so he opts to remain in the military. McCain is saying that by providing a plan to let a soldier better himself, by getting an education, is "wrongheaded" because it will trigger a mass exodus from the military instead of an indefinite semi-voluntary servitude bcause of lack of opportunity. Just another example of why McCain in '08 ='s Bush's 3rd term. Great way to honor our veterans John, if you're a sadist.

Posted by: Gyre | May 26, 2008 4:26 PM

If nothing else perhaps the GI BIll could slow the MASSIVE WAVE of war vet suicide!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: debater | May 26, 2008 4:24 PM

Add McCain's wrong stance on this GI Bill to his advocation to outsourcing our National Defense to Europe over Boeing for tanker construction - what is he thinking? Seriously? Mccain has had quite a few flops and gaffes that when summed up put a huge ? over his head. Shiite, Suny, Al Qaeda? Do we seriously want to even consider replacing one incompetent President with another who isn't even sure who our enemy is? Who supports the failed policies that have driven our country into the ground? McCain even admitted after everything else that this "Iraq War" was a "War for Oil" and even after admitting that he still wants to keep our troops in Iraq with targets painted on them? Then won't support a GI Bill to take care of the troops when and if they come home? McCain so desparately wants his evangelical base motivated he activiley sought endorsements from any and every crazed evangelical out there then after repeated whgispering in his ear that he may have made a mistake or two then and only then repudiates a few. He has a serious history of having a bad temper, couple that with his finger on the button - im not ready to put our country into that gambit with my vote. This Republican, for lack of any seriously viable GOP candidate will support the Democratic ticket this year. McCain's support for the majority of the existing failed Bush policies leave me no better choice because, like it or not, we are on the wrong track and to blindly continue on that track could prove disasterous.

Posted by: Republican Voting Democratic | May 26, 2008 4:24 PM

I think there are a lot of statements on both sides of the line, and no factual data.

Someone explain how it is McCain's fault that he was shot down; I would suggest you go get that exact situation and see how you do it better.

Where are these statistics saying that more people prefer democrat policy over republican policy. That is an opinion not fact.

I do think it is an insult to the men (my brothers) and women who are and have served this country to say that if you do 3 years you can get a full ride. How about we start with full rides for anyone who has served over 6 years, then work on the others.

Posted by: Jake | May 26, 2008 4:22 PM

Senator McCain use to have my respect. He seemed to change, but perhaps is only showing his true colors now. As a life-long Democrat, I once remarked on how I might possibly consider McCain for CINC. Foolish of me; and, he will not fool the country this fall. McCain will lose the election, just as he is losing the respect of most of America with his continued support of the current FOOL CINC.

Posted by: Rick/Sneads Ferry, NC | May 26, 2008 4:22 PM

Folks, Veteran's Benefit are good for the military, but the Webb GI Bill is a bit on the ridiculous side. A full-ride scholarship with housing costs paid is a good thing, but not for only three years of service. Service Academy cadets have at least a five year service commitment, and full ride ROTC cadets have at least a four year commitment. Giving troops a full-ride scholarship to college after three years would barely give them time to finish basic training, Tech School/AIT, and get a feel for their first units... If the Webb bill was amended to five or six years, we might have something to debate here...
I am a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy (1988), and I would love for our warriors to get great education benefits, but the "full-ride for three-year" option is a little bit over the top. I think that Senator Webb must be trying to endear himself to the younger troops (who would be chomping at the bit for such a good deal), and he is also trying to convince the liberal left that he and the Democrats care more about the vets than the GOP. But any senior officer would look at the Webb proposal and laugh, because a sizable portion of our troops would pull the ejection handles the minute it is passed, and the force strength would drop precipitously... There is no provision in this bill for the GIs to return to the military, so that would be the deal of the century...
Before any of you emotion-based posters fire up, I am not a Republican nor am I a Democrat. I just tell it like it is. Many of you can continue to read the NYT for your understanding of the military, and remain ignorant fools. But if you really want to understand the situation, talk to as many senior military officers and NCOs as you can. Just because Senator Webb served honorably doesn't make his ideas sound.

Posted by: vcop | May 26, 2008 4:21 PM

If this intellectually stunted creepy guy is the only candidate they can find to support their war plan then the Republican Party is finished for years and years to come.

Posted by: debater | May 26, 2008 4:21 PM

Hey rifRafael, How about first class moron, idiot and garbage. Your lol rejoinder at the end of one of your other many stupid posts says it all.
Posted by: Rick/Sneads Ferry, NC | May 26, 2008 4:07 PM
--------
You are taking me out of context but, what can you expect from a Obama supporter!
Posted by: | May 26, 2008 4:12 PM

So...you didn't call someone a first class moron, idiot and garbage for disagreeing with you, riffRaff?


Posted by: | May 26, 2008 4:15 PM

--------
No I was calling him that for saying McCain let the plane go down and he paid for it as a pow for 5 years. There is no merit or no evidence of that and wishing that kind of pain to someone is something a first class moron would do wise up sir!

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 4:18 PM

Let me get this Straight. McCain-Cheney thinking goes something like this: "I can't support THIS bill because it isn't PERFECT, I can only support a perfect bill, because anything else would be a "disservice" to the troops." Hmmm. Then, their supporters, such as Dan the Man above tell us that the army will "lose all their soldiers" if they "give thema a free ride." HUH??? FREE RIDE? Let's see if I get this: you put in three years blasting innocent civilians for a bunch of reasons that turn out to be lies, your president fires every general he disagrees with,and every CIA analyst. He rejects the FBI and tortures folks against international law, and when you get an education out of it, you are getting "FREE RIDE??" Talk about a cynical soldier. Why are you in the military Bub? Because of the benefits? You seriously think that that is why most join? You and your 90% republican officer core has sullied this nation and reduced our army from a force for freedom to a policing body for an Oil Empire that hires mercenaries, who refer to themselves apparently as "citizens" when not working for the republican lie-monster/murderer war-machine. In a real sense, Dan has it right: why would anyone stay in such a blood stained murder mobile without some sort of chain: like, "don't leave for 6 years or you get nothing."

Posted by: Owl | May 26, 2008 4:18 PM

McCain is losing this argument. The GI bill was the best thing ever to happen for the returning soldiers of WW2 and the best thing to happen for America. Many of the greatest leaders in America emerged from those smart educated veterans. It could happen again except Bush/McCain don't want it. Dumb.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 4:16 PM

For the good of our nation the military should be reduced to the force necessary to defend our border. It's the only thing the US Constitution authorizes our military to do and the only thing they don't do.
Neo-scum traitors like McCain that want to use the military to do the bidding of our enemies or just for profit need to be hung.

Posted by: DWayne | May 26, 2008 4:16 PM

Behind perhaps the greatest foreign policy blunder in United States history is an unresolved father complex, W wanting to outdo his old man. And McCain was an abettor of that.

Posted by: Robert | May 26, 2008 4:15 PM

Joyce I may also add that he was the only calling for that from the Republican side that I can recall.

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 4:15 PM

Hey rifRafael, How about first class moron, idiot and garbage. Your lol rejoinder at the end of one of your other many stupid posts says it all.
Posted by: Rick/Sneads Ferry, NC | May 26, 2008 4:07 PM
--------
You are taking me out of context but, what can you expect from a Obama supporter!
Posted by: | May 26, 2008 4:12 PM

So...you didn't call someone a first class moron, idiot and garbage for disagreeing with you, riffRaff?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 4:15 PM

Rafael PR51
Define WIN? The goalpost in Iraq has been moved so often, I doubt the troops in Iraq could come up with a consensus on why they're there. And Senator McCain can't even keep straight who the heck the warring factions are.

Posted by: Joyce | May 26, 2008 4:10 PM

---------

Stabilizin Iraq and make it a safe and democratic or as democratic as it can be. Hey McCain was the only one calling for a change of strategy and for Donald Rumsfeld to quit. Give him credit for that at least!

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 4:14 PM

Regardless of your position on this issue, it was refreshing to see McCain defend an unpopular position and then give actual reasons for his position.: with which I disagree.

Posted by: Joebewildered | May 26, 2008 4:13 PM

It is incredible to me how people like Obama and Webb are against ROTC on campuses or near high schools. Yet, they have no problem enticing our kids to go to war with the promise that after three years they get community college tuition.

Obambi did a summer's community service in Chicago and he got a Harvard scholarship for it. Seems like these lefties are trying to feign support for our troops on the cheap.

Our troops deserve comrades who are joining for something far greater than a community college degree.

Trying to mitigate the difficulty of this service not only insults those who find a career in the military, but it endangers those kids who do not understand the gravity of the undertaking.

Posted by: JAZ | May 26, 2008 4:12 PM

Dan says "I find it funny,the people who think they know everything about this HAVE NEVER BEEN CLOSE TO A UNIFORM!!!"

Well, Dan, I served in Vietnam and was awarded 2 bronze stars and 2 commedation medals. I am no hero, just someone that saw his duty and performed it just like John McCain.
That fact does not make me a McCain supporter. Neither, obviously, does McCain's service make him a veteran's supporter. John McCain has shown a severe lack of intellect and judgement througout his career, from his poor performance at Annapolis to his severe lack of judgement in the "Keating 5" case during the "Savings and Loan" debacle. His reliance on Lobbyist and PAC monies to finance his campaign and his use of Lobbyists in the highest levels of his campaign committee also disturbs me.
His support for a foreign air plane manufacturer (represented by one of his campaign committee's leaders) against Boeing makes me angry. His support for Telecom Immunity in the warrentless spying controversy scares me. But, what probably disturbs me the most is that he has sold his soul to court the right wing nut cases. The John McCain of 2000 would be embarrased by the John McCain of 2008. The Maverick has become the Conformer. The Straight Talk Express has ceased to exist.

Posted by: Veteran1 | May 26, 2008 4:12 PM

Hey rifRafael, How about first class moron, idiot and garbage. Your lol rejoinder at the end of one of your other many stupid posts says it all.

Posted by: Rick/Sneads Ferry, NC | May 26, 2008 4:07 PM
--------
You are taking me out of context but, what can you expect from a Obama supporter!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 4:12 PM

As long as enlistment is seen as an automatic ticket to Iraq, the military will struggle to recruit. Meanwhile, our invasion and continued occupation of Iraq has been a recruiting bonanza for Al-Queda.

Posted by: godblessusa | May 26, 2008 4:10 PM

Heck McCain may not make to inaguration day so why vote for him at all. See my point? lol

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 4:03 PM
------
Nither might Obama see my point? or anybody we all are to be gone it all takes a second.

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 4:10 PM

Rafael PR51
Define WIN? The goalpost in Iraq has been moved so often, I doubt the troops in Iraq could come up with a consensus on why they're there. And Senator McCain can't even keep straight who the heck the warring factions are.

Posted by: Joyce | May 26, 2008 4:10 PM

Bush's war in Iraq was a misguided naive attempt to establish a beacon of democracy in the middle-east. That is painfully clear now to most but McCain insists to keep the disaster going. It would appear his age is affecting his judgement.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 4:10 PM

Putting your life at risk for three years is not enough for McSame. If you survive six maybe we'll let you have an education. If you treat soldiers right, before, during and after service, America will have no trouble keeping the Army we need. The problem is we have not kept faith with them, before, during or after. They were lied to about why they were going. They were not given the resources they needed to win or be safe. And when they return, whatever... We cannot trust Republicans to use our military responsibly. The have proven their inability to do so.

Posted by: SmacK | May 26, 2008 4:07 PM

McCain lost whatever "military credentials" he may have one day achieved: he was a sub-standard Naval Aviator who threw away his jet and paid for it as a POW.

_________
Call me whatever you want but, you are a first class moron, idiot and garbage.
Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 3:43 PM

Hey rifRafael, How about first class moron, idiot and garbage. Your lol rejoinder at the end of one of your other many stupid posts says it all.


Posted by: Rick/Sneads Ferry, NC | May 26, 2008 4:07 PM

It saddens me that Sen McCain has not supported Sen Webb's GI bill. Bullets do not care how many years of service a soldier has served. These men and women are truly the only ones sacrificing for the United States in this disgraceful war. They deserve the best. America is a better country because of the GI bill for WWII veterans and there is no reason people getting out of the service shouldn't have the same opportunity. As a person who got out of the Army during the Vietnam conflict, I must say the GI bill helped tremendously with paying for my college education. These young people deserve the same chance regardless if they have only served three years.

Posted by: Jim S | May 26, 2008 4:06 PM

I am a Republican, and livid. Senator McCain's argument in opposition to making good on our nation's promises to our all volunteer military is despicable. This war in Iraq has dragged on longer than WWII, partly because President Bush failed to commit sufficient forces in the first place. As a consequence, our military and our reserves have been exhausted by excessive numbers of tours, and tour extensions in Iraq. If this war is in the vital security interests of this nation, then our leadership had better make provisions for requiring that the burdens be shared by more than just those who happened to be enlisted when George "Mission Accomplished" Bush recklessly sent them in, with no concept of how to get them out.

Senator McCain, who would lead this nation, is saying to our military personnel: we're going to make it as difficult as possible for you to leave because we haven't the political courage to require your fellow citizens to help "stay the course". You see, absent a college education, most returning veterans can look forward to a very difficult time finding jobs.

Meanwhile, so-called "contractors" are being paid middle six-figure incomes to fill in the gaps in our forces, fighting side-by-side with regular army personnel making $40K. The difference is, the contractor can leave whenever they want to, and their families at home aren't struggling to survive as many of our military families are.

McCain's 'attack' on the Webb legislation is nothing more than an admission that the Republican party (my party for 35 years) intends to perpetuate the unjust, disproportionate burden of sacrifice being shouldered by about 150,000 families from a nation of 300-million. This is not just a political point of view or a talking point. This is an empirical fact and a disgrace to this country.

Posted by: westatty | May 26, 2008 4:06 PM

Is John McCain's short-sightedness a factor of his age? I always thought you grew wiser as you grew older - this clearly does not appear to be the case with McCain. The GI Bill, while yes some military personnel will take deserved advantage of they have so rightly earned will be more than countered over the long term. For citizens seeking higher education (that is a LOT of people) this will open up the gates to enlistment and strengthen our military while strengthening our economical/educational workforce. This is a win-win all across the board, I'm no expert and even I can see that. I am rapidly losing respect for McCain as a viable Commander in Chief candidate who sides up with the indisputable error of going into Iraq and staying there with no clear diplomatic goals in the surrounding area even addressed. Yea the 16% may even climb to 40% if McCain gets elected adn continues on this tragic foreign diplomacy path - however if we get a Commander in Chief with some semblance of intelligence, who actually understands the differences between Shiite and Suny and Al Qaeda, who will exhaust all diplomatic measures before putting our troops in harm's way, it is quite clear that elistment would improve dramatically over the long term. GOP leaders supporting the GI Bill should sit McCain down and have a chat with him, bring him back to the real world.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 4:06 PM

McCain and Bush lose hard on this issue. Republicans supposedly "support the troops" until it becomes time to put their money where their mouth is. Agent Orange, PTSD, body armor, and now the GI Bill.

Semper Fi, Senator Webb.

Posted by: Former Marine | May 26, 2008 4:05 PM

my point is we are there now and the concecuenses of leaving and loosing are far greater my friend.

Posted by: Rafael PR51
===========

If that true, my friend, then we can't ever leave, as McCain has promised -- we will stay in Iraq 100 years or even 1000 years, as necessary.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 3:55 PM

---------

Well why are you so worried about it anyways look at it like this McCain will not live to that long anyways so arguing about 100 as a McCain policy is stupid cause that will not happend. See my point? lol

=====

Heck McCain may not make to inaguration day so why vote for him at all. See my point? lol

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 4:03 PM

Suggest the media rename the Iraq War correctly, call it the Bush-McCain-Cheney-Rumsfeld war. Give credit where credit is due.

Posted by: jan | May 26, 2008 4:02 PM

"...the force strength would drop precipitously..."

Bad news, the force strength is ALREADY dropping precipitously, mainly from incompetent leadership. The original GI Bill paid full tuition and housing and living costs for 8 million veterans!!

"Funding the GI Bill as Senator Webb proposes it for one year would cost this country what it spends in Iraq in 36 hours,"

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2008/02/10/gi_bill_falling_short_of_college_tuition_costs/?page=2

Posted by: debater | May 26, 2008 4:01 PM

Treat our troops with respect. Show them you value their lives. They will reinlist.

Webb's bill would hugely benefit recruiting the best and brightest. When a larger percentage of people enlist (and they will), retention won't be such an issue.

Posted by: USN'75 | May 26, 2008 4:00 PM

Present recruitment is in such trouble now, there are practically no requirements left. They've raised the age limit, lowered physical requirements, no high-school diploma requirement, accepting non-citizens and people with prison records. Now, wouldn't it make better sense to raise GI benefits to attract more recruits, rather than build an army of misfits?

Posted by: Joyce | May 26, 2008 3:58 PM

├â┬źncouraging people to not become non-comissioned officers? After 3 years, most GI's have become non-coms. The Iraq war is the biggest block to re-enlistment. Get out of the war. As a 3 1/2 year WWII GI,who truly benefited from the GI Bill, he is really off course (a navy expression) probably caused by his low class standing at the Naval Academy.

Posted by: larry davis | May 26, 2008 3:58 PM

my point is we are there now and the concecuenses of leaving and loosing are far greater my friend.

Posted by: Rafael PR51
===========

If that true, my friend, then we can't ever leave, as McCain has promised -- we will stay in Iraq 100 years or even 1000 years, as necessary.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 3:55 PM

---------

Well why are you so worried about it anyways look at it like this McCain will not live to that long anyways so arguing about 100 as a McCain policy is stupid cause that will not happend. See my point? lol

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 3:57 PM

Why can't his wife release her tax returns? Afraid of jail??

Posted by: debator

=======

McCain's wife has plenty to hide but that will all come out later in response to the RNC attacks on Michelle.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 3:57 PM

You are right we would have not lost any lifes if we were not ther but, the reality is that we are and loosing should not be an option. The argument of if we should have or not gone to war is now over we are there lets win it!!!
Posted by: | May 26, 2008 3:33 PM
--------------------------------------------
I'm sorry, but you don't "win" a civil war in someone else's country. The fact that we're in Iraq doesn't mean it's inevitable that we stay. The question is: how do we exit in a way that's least dangerous to our troops and to the lives of civilians.

We've inflicted and incurred unnecessary and terrible loss over, at best, a mistaken assumption (and to hear Bush's former cabinet members and Pentagon advisers tell it, it wasn't an "at best" set of circumstances, but that's another topic). It hasn't made us safer--just look at the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan. There was no "al Qaeda in Iraq" before we invaded. There certainly is now...our presence is the recruiting poster for terrorism worldwide.

You can argue about how and when we withdraw; the facts, however, declare that a war-fighting force is not the same as a police force. Our troops win battles; they are not trained to referee internal, guerrilla-style conflicts.

Meanwhile, troops die, civilians die, Iraq is destroyed (the war is not, by the way, paying for itself, as Donald Rumsfeld promised), and our domestic priorities and infrastructure continue to crumble. It's going to take a new way of looking at things to get us out of this. This might be a stalemate, in the most hopeful of scenarios, but staying "in it to win it" is not only foolhardy, it's roulette with our soldiers' lives.

Posted by: tellthetruth | May 26, 2008 3:57 PM

Why can't his wife release her tax returns? Afraid of jail??

Posted by: debator | May 26, 2008 3:54 PM

---------
Who cares?

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 3:55 PM

McCain seems condescending and arrogant with his "I take a backseat to no one" mentality. America is a Democratic country, and everyone has an equal right to free speech.

I'd be afraid if McCain became president. He seems like a renegade still fighting the wars of the last century.

Posted by: Seneca | May 26, 2008 3:55 PM

my point is we are there now and the concecuenses of leaving and loosing are far greater my friend.

Posted by: Rafael PR51
===========

If that true, my friend, then we can't ever leave, as McCain has promised -- we will stay in Iraq 100 years or even 1000 years, as necessary.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 3:55 PM

Why can't his wife release her tax returns? Afraid of jail??

Posted by: debator | May 26, 2008 3:54 PM

Terrorist for Hussein Obama!!

Posted by: Dan | May 26, 2008 3:54 PM

Folks, Veteran's Benefit are good for the military, but the Webb GI Bill is a bit on the ridiculous side. A full-ride scholarship with housing costs paid is a good thing, but not for only three years of service. Service Academy cadets have at least a five year service commitment, and full ride ROTC cadets have at least a four year commitment. Giving troops a full-ride scholarship to college after three years would barely give them time to finish basic training, Tech School/AIT, and get a feel for their first units... If the Webb bill was amended to five or six years, we might have something to debate here...
I am a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy (1988), and I would love for our warriors to get great education benefits, but the "full-ride for three-year" option is a little bit over the top. I think that Senator Webb must be trying to endear himself to the younger troops (who would be chomping at the bit for such a good deal), and he is also trying to convince the liberal left that he and the Democrats care more about the vets than the GOP. But any senior officer would look at the Webb proposal and laugh, because a sizable portion of our troops would pull the ejection handles the minute it is passed, and the force strength would drop precipitously... There is no provision in this bill for the GIs to return to the military, so that would be the deal of the century...
Before any of you emotion-based posters fire up, I am not a Republican nor am I a Democrat. I just tell it like it is. Many of you can continue to read the NYT for your understanding of the military, and remain ignorant fools. But if you really want to understand the situation, talk to as many senior military officers and NCOs as you can. Just because Senator Webb served honorably doesn't make his ideas sound.

Posted by: Chris Walker | May 26, 2008 3:52 PM

Not only did he get shot down on an ill advised low value mission against a light bulb factory, but he also got himself broken up and tortured for YEARS...I have a powerful bad feeling he is going to bring on America the same thing he brought on himself in vietnam, all for no real reason whatsoever.

Posted by: debater | May 26, 2008 3:52 PM

Let's sum this up:

-McCain suppports Bush's unilateral foreign policy devoid of diplomacy.

-McCain supports the Bush concept that somehow placing and keeping our troops in Iraq as civil war referees as primary targets from every side is a good idea and that it should continue an undermined length of time, perhaps for a hundred years.

-McCain while a Veteran, is not willing to give back to our soldiers who have put their lives on the line so they will STAY in the military and sacrifice more? McCain does not understand the concept that fighting in a "war" in Iraq, one that should have never happened, is the primary reason recruitment is low. McCain does not understand that recruitment level will dramatically increase if our Commander in Chief had "some" demonstrated competence in that position but to support a failed war and then NOT support our troops who selflessly offered their lives is indefensable.

Posted by: Military AGAINST McCain | May 26, 2008 3:52 PM

How can anyone that claim they care about the soldiers support republicans? Most Repubblicans never served and Tthey surely never cared about their safety on welfare.

If I dodn't know better, I'd swear McCain was trying to throw the election. The man is clueless.

Posted by: OneFreeMan | May 26, 2008 3:51 PM

Iraq is bleading this country to death. McCain wants to keep the blood flowing. I think his age is beginning to affect his judgement.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 3:50 PM

ArmChairGenius:

I would leave that to the Generals to decide remember the president takes the advice. He just thinks that we can win but, I am sure that if it takes 20 30 0r 10 more years we might have to leave but, in my opinion sir we should do everything weve got to win it only because we are there. Remember what I said the reasons for going to war might have been wrong or whatever it is that we want to call it I will let history decide that and it is also a fair debate but, my point is we are there now and the concecuenses of leaving and loosing are far greater my friend.

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 3:50 PM

Dan, you say...
"the people who think they know everything about this HAVE NEVER BEEN CLOSE TO A UNIFORM!!!"
---------------------------------
Oh really now! I think Senators Warner, Webb, Hagel meet your "uniform" requirement and then some. Plus, they have quite a bit more experience in veterans affairs than Mr. McCain. BTW most veterans groups give Senator Obama a higher rating than they do McCain.

Posted by: Joyce | May 26, 2008 3:48 PM

Some naval aviators got shot down in Vietnam as just bad luck. For others it was completely predictable....

Posted by: debater | May 26, 2008 3:46 PM

the "almost last in his class" aviator continued his ill advised bombing run on a low value light bulb factory after the rest of his airmen wisely pulled away after taking fire. What colossal bad judgment will this substandard cadet bring on America? Bad bad mojo this guy....

Posted by: fran | May 26, 2008 3:43 PM

Is not the same but, what McCain ment was after stabilizing Iraq if it happends remember this is a man who thinks we can win. Our precense might have to be there for years even if is not in combat. thinking that we can win in Iraq is ok some think we can't but, McCain thinks we can. I think you know what he ment but, again why you take it out of context is up to you.

Posted by: Rafael PR51

========

My point is that If McCain think Iraq will ever resemble a peaceful situation like South Korea or Gemany or Japan he is nuts. He is just trying to cover his ass after he made those stupid 100 year comments. My question to McCain is -- if Iraq has not changed in 5,10,20,50,100 years, which is likely, at what point on that timeline does he think we should leave?

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 3:43 PM

McCain lost whatever "military credentials" he may have one day achieved: he was a sub-standard Naval Aviator who threw away his jet and paid for it as a POW.

_________
Call me whatever you want but, you are a first class moron, idiot and garbage.

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 3:43 PM

An article in Time Magazine states that, according to a scorecard of roll-call votes put out by the nonpartisan Disabled Americans for America, John McCain has voted to support veterans funding only 30% of the time while Barack Obama has voted to support veterans funding 90% of the time. Obama seems to support our veterans 3 times as much as McCain does. I bet that surprises many Americans who believe the lies of John McCain. He is just another George Bush in disquise. You know, the type that professes their support for the military while voting against such things as; adequate pay, shorter combat tours, longer times at home before re-deploying, adequate care for our wounded, adequate housing for our returning vets. It's the Washington mentality that supports guys like McCain and Bush that Obama wants to change.
But Bush, McCain and their Republican enablers want you to vote against Obama because his name sounds funny.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 3:42 PM

Scary thing is - the GOP has an American Vet Hero that doesnt support the GI Bill - read that again - John McCain does not want to support Veterans after they risk their lives for our freedom so they will stay in the military. Has the tiny little thought entered McCains's mind that recruitment just MIGHT increase if they know they will be TAKEN CARE OF? John McCain seriously does NOT get it.

Posted by: McCain Has NO Clue | May 26, 2008 3:41 PM

so what mccain is saying that our troops only join because of benefits they get. They have no sense of service or patriotism is joining and staying in the armed forces. they are a bunch of opportunistic jerks. So lets just make sure there benefits are high enough to lure them in and low enough so they dont leave. Wonderful.

Posted by: jesus | May 26, 2008 3:41 PM

We elected one C student academic underachiever - will we really make the same mistake TWICE????

McCain was almost dead last in his class in Annapolis. Creepy.

"...a low class rank (894/899) that he did not aim to improve..."

Posted by: fran | May 26, 2008 3:34 PM

It was made known yesterday on his interview that he has 2 sons in Iraq.I find it funny,the people who think they know everything about this HAVE NEVER BEEN CLOSE TO A UNIFORM!!!

Posted by: Dan | May 26, 2008 3:33 PM

We wouldn't be losing lives if we weren't there (Iraq), would we--seeing as how we attacked the wrong country to begin with.

Posted by: tellthetruth, please | May 26, 2008 3:30 PM

---------

You are right we would have not lost any lifes if we were not ther but, the reality is that we are and loosing should not be an option. The argument of if we should have or not gone to war is now over we are there lets win it!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 3:33 PM

McCain can't run away from his vote record. He has opposed vet benefits at every turn or simply not bothered to vote because his position would never prevail.

http://www.votesmart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=53270

McCain's self important and pompous remarks "I take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans" is not only baloney but smacks of the Bush megalomaniac we have been subjected to for 8 years. Warner and Webb make McCain's foreign and military experience look like zilch and his comments are a slap in their face to every other senator who voted, Democrat and Republican alike, in a veto proof overwhelming margin for the Webb bill.

You want more of the same, vote McCain.

My vote is for Obama.

Posted by: Deward Bowles | May 26, 2008 3:33 PM

John McCain is afraid that if you give benefits to the military they will leave and take advantage of them. Jim Webb thinks that if you reward the military then you will attract the right kind of people as new recruits..

Which man is right depends on your view of our mission in Iraq. If you think that we will continue to have to redeploy to Iraq without giving the men sufficient time to recuperate back home then John McCain is right, trap the men and women you already have because you certainly are not going to attract more. If your approach is Jim Webb's or Barack Obama's that our mission is winding down then you know that the cause of this continuous redeployment will end and the benefits will attract new more qualified applicants.

Jim Webb's plan with John McCain's outlook will do exactly what John McCain states. Success in strengthening our military requires the knowledge of men like Sen Webb and leadership directed towards change from Barack Obama.

If we follow John McCain we will continue to have to enlist what was previously considered substandard applicants which can only weaken our arm forces over the long term.

Why would McCain do something as illogical as this? I don't know, but I suspect the answer is oil.


Posted by: Gator-ron | May 26, 2008 3:33 PM

Arm Chair genious:

Is not the same but, what McCain ment was after stabilizing Iraq if it happends remember this is a man who thinks we can win. Our precense might have to be there for years even if is not in combat. thinking that we can win in Iraq is ok some think we can't but, McCain thinks we can. I think you know what he ment but, again why you take it out of context is up to you.

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 3:31 PM

People keep taking McCains words out of context. We have been in South Korea for decades. McCain Said as long as we are not loosing life we could stay there.
Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 3:22 PM
--------------------------------------------

We wouldn't be losing lives if we weren't there (Iraq), would we--seeing as how we attacked the wrong country to begin with.

Posted by: tellthetruth, please | May 26, 2008 3:30 PM


That is fine. I used it after Vietnam war and it was big help.

What I would also like to see is tuition assistance and student loan payback for teachers. We need more qualified teachers. Teacher's salary does not pay enough to make a living plus pay for student loans. Please help them too!!

Posted by: Phil Walenga | May 26, 2008 3:29 PM

I believe people that put their lives on the line deserve the best this nation can afford them. We all know pay in the US military is low very low, especially compared to the private contractors and mercenaries in theater. The expanded education benefit GI bill is just the bare minimum, we should do. Despite Mc. Gains excuse about attrition, may be better benefits, will make serving more attractive. Also the chance to come back whole, after one tour of duty might decrease the incredible toll of mental, and physical injury that is placed on the team over fighters and their families over and over again.


Jan Evert Gravemaker
Seattle Washington State

Posted by: Jan Evert Gravemaker | May 26, 2008 3:28 PM

IF MCCAIN BILL WAS SO MUCH BETTER FOR THE GI,S THEN WHY DID NO ONE BACK IT? JIM WEBBS GI BILL PASSED 78 TO 22.SEEMS TO ME THAT A WHOLE LOT OF REPUBLICAN VOTING FOR A DEMOCRATIC BILL.

Posted by: RENEA1 | May 26, 2008 3:26 PM

"I detest war," he said. "It might not be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description. When nations seek to resolve their differences by force of arms, a million tragedies ensue."

Is McCain, then, willing to admit that it might at least be *advisable* to consider talking with Iran instead of hungering to "bomb, bomb, bomb" it--as Gens. Petraeus and Powell have now come out saying?

Or is he admitting that he refuses to listen to the advice of our military in the same way Bush does? Which is it? He can't have it both ways.

And so McCain shows his "support" for our troops by being against a G.I. bill. I, for one, can't wait to hear how Webb will respond to this.

Posted by: tellthetruth | May 26, 2008 3:26 PM

People keep taking McCains words out of context. We have been in South Korea for decades. McCain Said as long as we are not loosing life we could stay there.

======

Who is their right mind thinks Iraq will ever be anything like South Korea? Get real.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 3:26 PM

Osama bin Laden's stated goal is not to militarily defeat America but to bankrupt it. Mission accomplished? The city of Vallejo declared bankruptcy last week in CA, the first domino? CA has an fearful budget deficit which could be completely solved by pulling out of Iraq just one month early.... Americans aren't tired of war. We are tired of being outsmarted by a bunch of religious fanatic tribesmen living in remote caves....

Posted by: fran | May 26, 2008 3:26 PM

McCain is confused again. Webb knows this stuff better than he does.

Webb was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, served as a Marine Corps infantry officer until 1972, and a highly decorated Vietnam War combat veteran. During his four years with the Reagan administration, Webb served as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, then as Secretary of the Navy.

McCain was a POW.

Posted by: ArmChairGenius | May 26, 2008 3:25 PM

People keep taking McCains words out of context. We have been in South Korea for decades. McCain Said as long as we are not loosing life we could stay there. Come on people wise up. The man just trusts his intics that we can win this war so do I and many others. Stop taking him out of context! Listen and read before you blow up in hate.

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 3:22 PM

For his online Memorial Day commemoration, McCain decided to act like the sleaziest kind of Democrat:

http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/007711.html

I guess some vets are more equal than others.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | May 26, 2008 3:21 PM

Giving our fighting men an education too costly for fiscally mean Johnny. Giving his wife the Dubya tax cuts and additional reductions in the corporate rate not too costly for fiscally mean Johnny. Can't listen to the Powells, Shinsekis, Fallons and Mellons when I have turned myself into a neocon. What do Webb and these other military geniuses know about fighting war, they were never in the Hanoi Hilton. It is unbelievable Americans consider him the better CIC, when he has voted against military command for the last ten years starting with Somalia. Slam Obama all you want Johnny, but before criticizing Webb's bill, you better look and see whom wears more fruit salad for service to his country.

Posted by: Jimbo | May 26, 2008 3:21 PM

What make us strong sometimes make us more vulnerable. I have great respect for McCain's military credentials. But, I am concerned with his temper and the way he respond to Americans like Webb and Obama. He creates the perception that he is the veteran's pope and everybody else must bow down to him. I think is very disrespectful to question McCain's judgment based on his age (I wish him a long life). But it is equally disrespectful for him to question and grade the judgment wisdom of younger Americans.

Posted by: Hannibal Silver | May 26, 2008 3:18 PM

McSame wii stay in Iraq for decades thinking he can solve the Shia-Sunni divide. How does he feel its Americas job to solve a countrys differences? Lets take care of our own countries economic woes and let the Iraqis solve their problems.

Posted by: joe | May 26, 2008 3:18 PM

So McCain is afraid that offering college scholarships to veterans who have "only" served one tour of duty is too easy? Putting their lives on the line and facing roadside bombs, rpg attacks, suicide bombers, etc. just isn't "enough" of a conribution for McCain? Why doesn't McCain just go ahead and institute the draft and expand the stop-loss program and NEVER let them out? WTF McCain?

Posted by: hesingswithfrogs | May 26, 2008 3:16 PM

Webb as vice presidential candidate would thump McCain like a gong.

Posted by: fran | May 26, 2008 3:15 PM

There isnot anyone who wants to reenlist foran undesirable war (civil) How often are the West Point Officers reenlisting after their tour of duty are up' Also the National Guard soldiers did not sigh up to go to war on foreign soil. They had had their tour extended beyond belief. They deserve a college education to straighten out their lives with families as do the profession soldiers.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 3:14 PM

What McCain, the President and other Republicans fail to point out is the the Budget Office, who said that we could lose 16% of reenlistments also said that the bill would ATTRACT 16% MORE NEW RECRUITS who would like to take advantage of the education benefits. They are being cheap at the expense of the country's future.

Posted by: Irv Frankel | May 26, 2008 3:14 PM

What a lie, McCain can't lift his arms up to even comb his hair to this day. They would hang McCain's arms from the ceiling and break them constanty. They would extend his arms behind his back so bad that they would break and leave him in that position for hours on end all the time. They knocked out McCain's teeth. McCain had injuries from the shot down that were never allowed to heal. And even after being there for 3 years when McCain was given a chance to go home he refused. McCain actually even injured became the chaplain of his group and he helped save the arm of a fellow comrade who was injured.

McCain was left out in the sun to burn for years.

Posted by: David | May 26, 2008 3:05 PM

DAVID but, according to LTC US ARMY MORON Webb had it more difficult in Vietnam! I mean do you agree with me that this is a complete moron of a dude. David no need to explain, his comments speaks for themself even Cindy Sheehan or whatever her last name is would agree McCain is a war hero just like her son! I am still in shock he even wrote that! He should be the one shutting up!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 3:11 PM

What a lie, McCain can't lift his arms up to even comb his hair to this day. They would hang McCain's arms from the ceiling and break them constanty. They would extend his arms behind his back so bad that they would break and leave him in that position for hours on end all the time. They knocked out McCain's teeth. McCain had injuries from the shot down that were never allowed to heal. And even after being there for 3 years when McCain was given a chance to go home he refused. McCain actually even injured became the chaplain of his group and he helped save the arm of a fellow comrade who was injured.

McCain was left out in the sun to burn for years.

Posted by: David | May 26, 2008 3:05 PM

Why would anyone choose to go to college instead of staying in the service for another tour in Iraq ?? I guess Dick Cheney said it best when he got 5 or 6 college deferments during the Vietnam War.
He said he had "other priorities".

Posted by: Bruno in Tx | May 26, 2008 3:03 PM

McCain makes me and most you listening carefully "sick". McCain should not or could not compare his Vietname experiences with those of Webb..who fought face to face with the NVA in a leadership role. While McCain ate carefully prepared food aboard...and who was shot down like hundreds of other Navy, Marine and AF pilots. Sure he endured...so did hundreds of others who don't shove it down the "throats" of Americans whenever McCain can...that said, our veterans deserve nothing less than what Webb and others both Democratic and Republican wish.

So, McCain..just shut up...!

Posted by: LTC US Army | May 26, 2008 2:57 PM

______________

With all due repect sir you are the top idiot I have ever seen in this blog! Webb walks fine and can use his arms correctly! I mean are you SERIOUS? Please! Try being a POW for 5 1/2 years. I am sorry but you are a complete moron and I apologize but, comments like this give me no option than to say this. You make me sick with your assumption!

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 3:01 PM

The bill had it's good and bad sides. McCain as a veteran likely has fairly evaluated it's overall value.

Posted by: Billw | May 26, 2008 3:00 PM

To Washington Post Editors:

Fire Michael Shear

McCain never slammed Webb. What Michael Shear did is so typical of left wing journalists today. They lie to get a headline that will draw volume and have their stories linked. They don't care if the story is not accurate.

It doesn't matter if McCain never slammed Webb. The truth doesn't matter.

McCain actually praised Webb. In no part of the article did McCain slam Webb. McCain has the utmost respect for Webb as a fellow veteran and his staff has worked with Webb's staff to merge their bills.

Michael Shear is trying to smear McCain by saying he slammed a vet on memorial day when in fact he praised Webb.

FIRE Michael Shear.

Posted by: David | May 26, 2008 2:59 PM

McCain makes me and most you listening carefully "sick". McCain should not or could not compare his Vietname experiences with those of Webb..who fought face to face with the NVA in a leadership role. While McCain ate carefully prepared food aboard...and who was shot down like hundreds of other Navy, Marine and AF pilots. Sure he endured...so did hundreds of others who don't shove it down the "throats" of Americans whenever McCain can...that said, our veterans deserve nothing less than what Webb and others both Democratic and Republican wish.

So, McCain..just shut up...!

Posted by: LTC US Army | May 26, 2008 2:57 PM

McCain is for more veterans benefits. He just wants those serving longer to get more on a scale.

McCain's bill is better because it allows benefits to be able to transfer funds to other family members. Obama is against that.

The dems last year threatened to block funding for new military construction on u.s bases.

Obama, webb, nancy boyda were all against funding for new bases here in the u.s.

The media was silent on that. Nancy boyda of kansas even voted against more funding for a base in her district.

Webb, Obama and boyda were against building new facilities where troops could sleep better.

You notice how McCain never talks about his son just came back from iraq for political purposes while Webb wore his sons boots for political gain.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2008 2:54 PM


McCAIN SAID THIS:

Speaking at a Memorial Day ceremony, McCain praised Webb as "an honorable man who takes his responsibility to veterans very seriously." And he said the bill, which would increase benefits for veterans after serving one tour, is a way of offering the nation's
"deep appreciation" for the veterans who have served.
------------

Is this a slam to somebody? If this offensive to someone? WAPO reading this type of headlines makes me wonder what the hell I am doing reading your newspaper in the first place! Wise up WAPO wise up and try not to be so obvious about your Obama support!

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 2:52 PM

John McCain is NOT going to win on this issue!

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | May 26, 2008 2:51 PM

Veterans' benefits are bad for the military?

Yeah... free stuff is a big turn-off for potential recruits. Not.

Get a clue, Johnny. Open your eyes. The Iraq War has driven down recruitment numbers more than anyone could have imagined.

Posted by: Steve Charb | May 26, 2008 2:48 PM

McCain should be ashamed of himself. His self righteous and self important rebuke of Obama on the GI bill suggesting he, McCain is the only one who can understand the vets and the military and implying that anyone who disagrees with him is unAmerican and unpatriotic smacks of a 3rd Bush term.

It is a slap in the face to all the vets and current military and to Webb, Warner and Hagel along with all the other senators, Republican and Democrat alike, who voted in an overwhelming veto proof margin for the Webb GI bill.

Webb and Warner are former secretaries of the Navy for crying out loud.

You want more of the same, vote McCain.

My vote is for Obama.

Posted by: Deward Bowles | May 26, 2008 2:48 PM

McCain didn't slam Webb. You journalists suck. Just like you took Clinton out of context. This generation of journalists suck.

Posted by: David | May 26, 2008 2:27 PM
---------
This journalists all in the tank for Obama! Webb only is in the senate because of the unfortunate maccaca comments by former Senator George allen but, in 4 more years Webb will be history. The media in USA is the third political party they have their own agenda!

Posted by: Rafael PR51 | May 26, 2008 2:47 PM

Reduce reenlistment rate by 16%, what a laugh. Even with 10,000 reenlisting, it comes to 1600 men. The enlistment rate may increase by 50,000 because of it. 1600 vs possible 50,000 and at least 20,000 additional. They all better be Rambo or it is not worth it.

Posted by: Jimbo | May 26, 2008 2:42 PM

Webb's bill wouldn't allow military benefits to be transferred to other family members. McCain wants benefits to be able to be transferred to other family members. McCain's bill has benefits for the troops. The military is about seniority and the longer you serve the more benefits you should get.

Posted by: Steve | May 26, 2008 2:30 PM

McCain didn't slam Webb. You journalists suck. Just like you took Clinton out of context. This generation of journalists suck.

Posted by: David | May 26, 2008 2:27 PM

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