I’m a veteran of the Vietnam era and I’m eligible for benefits from the Veterans Administration. Among my benefits was/is the G.I Bill. Some of the college education I received was paid for with GI Bill benefits. It came in handy and helped me to readjust to civilian life following my tour of duty. I served my country when called. It wasn’t convenient for me but it was one of the requirements of citizenship at the time. Following the end of the Vietnam era, veterans of the all volunteer force received a smaller set of benefits referred to as the Montgomery GI Bill.
Recently Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, himself a Vietnam veteran has sought to provide a similar set of benefits to veterans of the armed services who have served around the globe since September 11, 2001. To view a PDF of the legislation click here. Senator Webb and others reason that the Montgomery GI Bill was for a peacetime all-volunteer force, but that the necessities of war with its increased risk ought to bring with it a grateful country willing to help returning veterans. The bill has won bi-partisan support as it should. The men and women of our armed forces have made tremendous sacrifices and ought to be rewarded for their service to our country. The Pentagon has suggested that Webb’s bill is too generous, conferring benefits to veterans with only two years of service. Senator McCain wants to withhold benefits too requiring someone to spend at least twelve years on active duty before receiving the maximum benefits. President Bush has threatened to veto the bill too. I’ve heard a lot of talk from the President, Vice-President and primarily Republican members of Congress and their media darlings on the right about supporting the troops. It’s apparently just hot air and holds as much water as anything else they’ve said.
I’m asking that you call your Congressional Representatives, Senators and even the White House to insist that the veterans of this war be taken care of in the same fashion as the veterans of all our other wars. It’s put up or shut up time. Remember these people work for us and it’s our money they are mishandling.