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McCain refuses to support updated G.I. Bill for Iraq troops - tell me why again?

First our troops had to go to Iraq without adequate armor. Now they have to come home without adequate retraining. They must feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football while Lucy holds it.

Sen. James Webb, a Virginia Democrat, has been working for a year on an updated G.I. Bill that would cover the costs of home-state college once a member of the armed forces returns. Right now it only covers 60 to70 percent of costs, being decades old. The measure has solid support from Ds and Rs alike.

Bizarrely, Sen. John McCain refuses to support it.

He's following the lead of the Pentagon and White House, which are scared too many will use it at a time when it's a struggle to populate an all-volunteer army. The Boston Globe quotes Robert Clarke, assistant director of accessions policy at the Department of Defense, as worrying, "The incentive to serve and leave may outweigh the incentive to have them stay."

Gee, how long must they stay in uniform to suit you guys?

McCain supports an illogical alternative bill designed to encourage staying a lifetime. His would give an initial monthly benefit boost but then requires 12 years of service before the next upgrade. TWELVE YEARS. What are the odds they'll be alive by then? And it guilt-trips parents by allowing (eventually) transfer of their military educational benefits to family members. People who didn't serve at all. Who don't necessarily need a readjustment benefit. Oh, wait -- I get it. Not "transfer;" rather, "survivor benefits." Shhh... don't say it out loud.

Even The American Conservative calls it "creepy" to suggest that soldiers should want nothing more out of life than to be career killers.

Webb's bill is good public policy.

It enjoys strong bipartisan support.

Its cost of $2 billion a year is less than the cost of a week of war in Iraq.

It keeps America's military might brawny AND brainy.

I don't understand McCain't's limp reluctance to do this for the current generation of brave Americans.

Let's get a move on. We did it without breaking a sweat for 8 million WWII veterans -- and today we call them the Greatest Generation.

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