Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How to Kill an Army

-- by Sara

It's Tuesday, which means I've committed my weekly act of bloggage over at Blog for Our Future.

This week, I picked at John McCain's refusal to back Jim Webb on his attempt to update the GI Bill. McCain says he's against it because paying for our troops' college educations would create retention problems -- he thinks it's a bad idea to give people an incentive to leave the service and get on with their lives. (Of course, not offering college benefits presents other retention problems; ask any recruiter.)

I point out that this logic, extended and put up against some other current trends (like the declining quality of new recruits -- when you're issuing conduct waivers for felons, druggies, racists, and gang members, the bottom of the barrel is well in sight), takes us to some very ugly and dark places if it becomes enshrined in policy. It's a new vision of our relationship to the troops that abrogates all the old bargains great nations have always made with their soldiers. And it's a debt we owe that we default on at our own peril.

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