Dispatches from the Class War

Via Inside Higher Ed, the Boston Globe reports that the Pentagon opposes increasing GI Bill funding. Why? Because if they gave them full tuition, eligible soldiers might not re-enlist:

Now, five years into the Iraq conflict, a movement is gathering steam in Washington to boost the payout of the GI Bill, to provide a true war-time benefit for war- time service. But the effort has run headlong into another reality of an unpopular war: the struggle to sustain an all-volunteer force.

The Pentagon and White House have so far resisted a new GI Bill out of fear that too many will use it - choosing to shed the uniform in favor of school and civilian life.

"The incentive to serve and leave," said Robert Clarke, assistant director of accessions policy at the Department of Defense, may "outweigh the incentive to have them stay."

Yeah, we can't have that. How dare they think of trying to better themselves through education, rather than slogging along forever as members of the underclass, dodging bullets for their betters. It's not like we recruit soldiers by promising that military service will give them useful skills and money for college, or anything like that...

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I was reading that story yesterday and I had to stop and re-read that part. I know the W is a bad, bad man, but coming out like that and admiting it floored me!

I live in the UK and am disgusted that the tactics of our animal rights terrorists are now being used within the US. All I can say is that the only way to combat these people is to invoke the full force of the law and treat these people like the terrorist scum they are. You also need to be very active in getting out the message that everyone will either had their lives by medical treatments that came out of research involving animals, or will know someone who as.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 11 Feb 2008 #permalink

Sorry about my post above. I had several blogs open at the same time and got confused about which one I was replying to.

By Matt Penfold (not verified) on 11 Feb 2008 #permalink

I have to say, this article is highly suspect. The author says, "Today the most a veteran can receive is approximately $9,600 a year for four years - no matter what college costs." This can't be right. I finished up up a four-year enlistment in the Marine Corps in 1998 and I was promised $14.4k from the GI Bill. When it came time to use it, I actually received more than that (roughly $18k) due to subsequent increases. With the GI Bill, I found no problems at all supporting myself as I finished my undergrad. (Grad school was another matter. ;)

SMM: Wikipedia Pete tells me that GI Bill reimbursements are $1101/month for a maximum of 36 months, as of 2007, which works out to about $40k total, or averaged over a four year degree would be a little less than $10k/year.

Chad: I myself am hoping that someone was quoted deeply out of context here (although reading the article, I'm not sure how that could be) because it raises two red flags for me-- it requires me to think someone in a position of high authority is both evil and stupid. Evil, for the obvious reasons. Stupid, because it took me all of fifteen seconds of thought to make the counter-proposal that perhaps, just maybe, if the retention issue is real, then the reasonable compromise would be to leave existing benefits for one volunteer term the same, and attach deeper benefits to a second term.

By John Novak (not verified) on 11 Feb 2008 #permalink

John, umm...oops! I guess I read the article a little too emotionally. ;) thanks.

Outsource the American military and be done with all the overheads. Contract with the Chinese - lots of surplus military resources there! Line our borders, control all transportation hubs, guard all food distribution centers... peace in our time.

Make them sign a contract so we know nothing can go wrong.

This wouldn't be an issue if we would stop invading other countries ... I think we need to work on shrinking our military anyway.

By Sophie Hirschfeld (not verified) on 11 Feb 2008 #permalink

It is already shrinking just due to deaths and injuries that are too severe to allow returning to service.

No, no one has been misquoted. The rhetoric of "support our military" has been just that, rhetoric. They did not get body armor, a far more critical need, so why should the promised college education be treated any differently? They also won't support paying even a tiny amount more in taxes to "support" the troops, preferring to borrow it from their grandchildren.

By CCPhysicist (not verified) on 11 Feb 2008 #permalink

CCPhysicist has it right. If the troops aren't getting decent care in hospitals when they come home, what makes you think the higher ups would care about giving them education? A college education is extremely important, but you think caring for injuries, physical and otherwise, that they got as a result of serving the country would be a higher priority. And yet, it obviously isn't much higher to the folks in charge.