He is wrong, but at least he is consistent. Having saddled the military with a botched, unwinnable war, having squandered soldiers’ lives and failed them in so many ways, the commander in chief now resists giving the troops a chance at better futures out of uniform. He does this on the ground that the bill is too generous and may discourage re-enlistment, further weakening the military he has done so much to break.
The pain of this truth was too much for Bush, causing him to issue a White House Statement that reads like the squirming of an emperor who has finally been called out for having no clothes.
Once again, the New York Times Editorial Board doesn't let the facts get in the way of expressing its vitriolic opinions - no matter how misleading they may be.
In today's editorial, "Mr. Bush and the GI Bill", the New York Times irresponsibly distorts President Bush's strong commitment to strengthening and expanding support for America's service members and their families.
Really? The Times is misleading? This from the man who lied this country into a war and has governed by sowing fear for the last eight years. And Bush's commitment to service members? His only commitment has been to continue sending them into battle in a tragically conceived and pitifully executed war for repeated tours, to cut VA funding, to conceal their sacrifices by limiting press coverage, and by stressing our military capabilities to the breaking point.
So what is it about the Webb Bill that is so objectionable to Bush? As summarized by the Times,
Their bill would pay full tuition and other expenses at a four-year public university for veterans who served in the military for at least three years since 9/11.
At that level, the new GI Bill would be as generous as the one enacted for the veterans of World War II, which soon became known as one of the most successful benefits programs — one of the soundest investments in human potential — in the nation’s history.
In Bushworld this type of benefit is unacceptable and anyone who says otherwise is a vitriolic bleeding heart. But why is that so? According to Bush, the bill is fatally flawed because it does not provide to the transferability of veterans benefits and those benefits are not based on length of service.. I'm not kidding.
This is how Bush characterized the type of Bill he wants.
There are several GI bill proposals under consideration in both the House and Senate. The Department of Defense has specific concerns about legislation sponsored by Senator Webb because it lacks transferability and could negatively impact military retention.
The President specifically supports the GI Bill legislation expansion proposed by Senators Graham, Burr, and McCain because it allows for the transferability of education benefits and calibrates an increase in education benefits to time in the service.
Give me a break. GI Bill benefits have never been transferable. If Bush wants Congress to revisit the entire concept behind veterans benefits to determine if transferability is appropriate, fine. But that is no reason to oppose the increase in educational benefit. The length of service argument is equally lame. Benefits have always been based on meeting a minimum service requirement. Period. There are re-enlistment bonuses and other incentives to encourage soldiers to expend their tours of duty.
Bush knows he is in a politically and morally untenable position because he can't discuss his real reason for opposing this legislation. He's really afraid that these benefits will be paid for with a tax increase. Perish the thought. And, horror of horrors, the increase will fall on the Bush Protected Class.
The bill passed the House with a surtax on the wealthy, in the form of a 1/2 percent tax on incomes over $500,000 and over $1 million for joint filers. This is referred to as a "Patriot's Premium" by Democrats, but has incurred the predictable wrath of Republicans.
"Raising taxes is Washington's easy way out all the time," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. "And I'm opposed to raising taxes."
What Boehner and his merry band of brain dead bozos fail to acknowledge is that by not supporting a tax hike now they are shoving a new tax burden on our children and grandchildren, but that's another story.
The only formal veto threat on this bill came from the Office of Management and Budget.
The White House this week issued a veto threat against the overall measure, singling out the tax increase to pay for veterans benefits as a top reason. “The president has been clear that tax increases are unacceptable,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement.
So what is it? What are Bush's real objections? The transferability and retention arguments are beyond lame, even for him. The only reason that is consistent with everything this administration stands for is Bush's consistent effort to reduce taxes on his protected class. Nothing else makes sense.
Now Bush may be saved yet. The Senate passe G I Bill does not include the House passed surtax. Senator Webb has said he would support the tax but there is no certainty that enough Senators will agree. They could well cave in to pressure, the type that has rendered the "world's greatest deliberative body" into a shadow of its former self. But if both Houses pass a bill with the tax provision and Bush vetoes it, nobody should be under any misimpression as to why the veto occurred.