Friday, May 02, 2008

Vets and Missions Not Accomplished

Now Begins Month 61 Since 'Mission Accomplished'

Meteor Blades, KOS:

Whatever the number, it is horrendous. All the more so because the deaths of the Americans, of the Iraqis, of the other members of the coalition, have all resulted from a war of choice, an unnecessary war, a war of the new imperialism. A war founded and continued to this day on exaggerations, distortions, fabrications, concoctions and lies. A war which a smirking, strutting, absurdity of a president told us 60 months ago was Mission Accomplished.

Progressives should never declare our mission accomplished until justice is delivered to those who lied us into this war. Justice for the 52 Americans who died last month, for the 4065 who have died since March 2003, for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have also died. Without justice, they truly will have died in vain.

Webb calls out McCain on GI Bill: ‘He’s so full of it’

Steve Benen, C & L:

A couple of weeks ago, John McCain talked about the importance of increasing the size of the U.S. military. To entice more volunteers, he said, the government should focus on incentives: “[O]ne of the things we ought to do is provide [the troops with] significant educational benefits in return for serving.”

A few days later, McCain announced that he’ll oppose a bipartisan measure to renew and expand the GI Bill for a new generation of veterans.

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), the leading proponent of the modernized GI Bill, is calling McCain out and creating an interesting battle.

* * *

McCain concedes he hasn’t tended to his day job in a while, but said his Senate office staff told him that Webb “has not been eager to negotiate.”

“He’s so full of it,” Webb said in response. “I have personally talked to John three times. I made a personal call to [McCain aide] Mark Salter months ago asking that they look at this.”

For Webb, this seems to have far less to do with campaign politics, and far more to do with a deep desire to get a bill through the chamber: “I don’t want this to become a political issue. I want to get a bill done.”

For the troops’ sake, it’d be great if McCain agreed.

Worst Persons Awards

SilentPatriot, C & L, has the clips:

John McCain takes home the silver after getting called out by Senator Webb for dragging his feet on the bipartisan GI bill and claiming Webb hasn’t reached out to him. And after five years of admitting the United States “invaded” Iraq, Bill O’Reilly takes home the gold for changing his mind by now saying we didn’t. Oh, Bill.

Vets say they feel misled about GI benefits


Cheated. Baited and switched. That's how veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan say they feel about military recruiters who sold them on how the GI Bill would benefit them.

Soldiers, Marines and airmen, speaking at a Capitol Hill rally Tuesday, said they are not given enough funds from the bill to cover college expenses as they were promised.

* * *

One of the early beneficiaries of the GI Bill was Petty Officer 3rd Class John Warner, who served in the Navy in WWII and went on to earn undergraduate and law degrees. The GI Bill covered both degrees in full at that time.

Warner is a U.S. senator from Virginia, and he spoke to the veterans at Tuesday's rally.

"I would not be privileged to have served now these 30 years in the United States Senate, and at one time chairman of the Armed Services Committee, had it not been this great nation giving me the opportunity through the GI Bill to receive that education, preparation and training," he said.

Warner is one of 58 senators co-sponsoring Sen. Jim Webb's Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act.

* * *

Webb's proposal is designed to dramatically expand educational benefits for military veterans. A version of the bill in the House has 241 co-sponsors. Covering active-duty National Guard troops and reservists, as well as other service members, it aims to cover the cost of the most expensive public in-state universities and a monthly housing stipend. Those who served on active duty for three or more months after September 11, 2001, would be eligible.

* * *

"This is not a difficult concept. For all the people saying this is the new Greatest Generation, this is not a difficult thing. This is the easiest way to prove that," said Webb, a Virginia Democrat and Vietnam veteran.

* * *

President Bush warned Tuesday at a Rose Garden news conference that he would veto any additions to the bill.

Vets Get Weak Brain Treatment, Report Says

Associated Press:

Many Iraq war veterans with traumatic brain injury are not getting adequate health care and job assistance for their long-term recovery despite years of government pledges to do so, Veterans Affairs Department investigators say.

"Significant needs remain unmet," according to the report released Thursday by the VA's inspector general. It is the first to examine the Bush administration's long-term efforts in supporting veterans with traumatic brain injury, a leading problem among soldiers struck by roadside bombs that often causes lasting emotional and behavioral difficulties.

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The VA pledged to coordinate the necessary follow-up care with the Pentagon, but the latest audit concludes that efforts are still falling short for roughly one in four patients.

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