GI Bill and UI Bill: Grand Illusion with Unintended Irony

By David Swanson

I would support a GI Bill if Congress were to pass one and send it to the President.

I oppose from the bottom of my soul and with every fiber of my being the near universal pretense (OK, universal except for me) that Congress is about to do just that.

Congress is NOT. What Congress is considering sending to the President is a GI AMENDMENT. It says the same things about providing education for veterans as what everybody tells you is in the “GI Bill” but it comes attached to an unimaginably enormous piece of funding legislation that is absolutely guaranteed to give tens of thousands of members of the U.S. military brain damage and/or PTSD and to lay hundreds of them in their graves and seriously injure thousands more, not to mention causing the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis, enraging people around the world against the United States, wrecking what’s left of the US economy, and putting our unborn grandchildren in debt to China for life.

Oops, did Senator Webb forget to mention those little details? Must have slipped his mind.

The great GI Bill debate is a Grand Illusion. For the amount of money in the bill to which the GI AMENDMENT will likely be attached you could provide existing veterans with college money, AND provide every active duty service member in Iraq with approximately $1 million cash. That would be a very unorthodox procedure, but far superior to any being contemplated now. So, do you want to “fund the troops” or do you want to create newly injured veterans and then offer them the chance to take their PTSD to college? Or, if you understand how badly our military needs fewer troops, rather than more, then consider this: For the same amount of money, we could make college free for everyone, all veterans and all non-veterans. Doing so would provide young people not from the overclass with the option of not entering the military unless they really want to.

I would also support a bill to provide unemployment insurance to those who need it.

Congress is likely to insert that legislation, as well, into the so-called “supplemental.” The great UI campaign is little more than Unintended Irony. A bill that will wreak havoc on the U.S. economy, even if Bush doesn’t take some of the money and bomb Iran with it, is going to include a temporary pittance for some of the people thrown out of work, and the discussion is going to focus on THAT (and on the “GI Bill”). Are you kidding me?

Now, the Democrats will tell you that they have to keep funding the occupation because to do what three-quarters of the country wants them to do would be very dangerous to them with an election coming up. It’s only sensible that they should do exactly what we elected them last time to STOP doing, in order to persuade us to elect them to do it next time.

Fine, let’s accept that piece of nonsense as gospel truth. Now explain to me why they have to fund the occupation well into the next Congress and the next presidency? Why do that now? Could it possibly be because once the money finally runs out yet another most-important-election-of-our-lifetime will be just a “few months” away in 2010? (Yes, it’ll be a year and a half away, but the accepted usage of “a few months” includes 18 months, since congressional and media references to when Bush and Cheney will be leaving office have included “a few months” since mid-2007.)

Well, let’s assume there’s a resonable explanation that would be acceptable to the Iraqi people suffering hardest under the occupation, since morally they are the ones who would have to accept it to justify it. Let’s assume that. Now, can you explain to me why you would use two decent things (veterans’ education and unemployment insurance) as cover for a third far larger criminal law, knowing full well that Bush has a habit of selectively erasing portions of bills with “signing statements” or of simply not obeying them even without announcing his criminal intent? What in the world can the point be, unless it is to use veterans and the unemployed as pawns in an extended election campaign at taxpayer expense?

This bears repeating, because many of you reading this will be unable to understand it no matter how many times I say it in plain English: I support GI education funding and unemployment insurance. I support GI education funding and unemployment insurance. I support GI education funding and unemployment insurance. Pass them as bills and I’ll cheer. But I do not support them as lipstick AMENDMENTS on genocide, and neither should you.

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