In an editorial this morning, the New York Times chides President Bush for his resistance to the GI Bill, which he has pledged to veto:
Having saddled the military with a botched, unwinnable war, having squandered soldiers’ lives and failed them in so many ways, the commander in chief now resists giving the troops a chance at better futures out of uniform. [...]
So lavish with other people’s sacrifices, so reckless in pouring the national treasure into the sandy pit of Iraq, Mr. Bush remains as cheap as ever when it comes to helping people at home.
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino quickly unleashed an attack on the editorial, claiming the editorial board “doesn’t let the facts get in the way of expressing its vitriolic opinions — no matter how misleading they may be.” Yet, Perino offered no facts of her own to substantiate her anger.
Two of the White House’s key Senate allies — Ted Stevens and John McCain — have been disingenuously spewing misinformation about the GI Bill this weekend. Stevens warned of a “mass exodus” from the military if the 21st Century GI Bill goes into law. Similarly, McCain said today that the Webb GI Bill “would hurt the military and our country very badly.”
As ThinkProgress has previously noted, these fear-mongering claims about the GI Bill have little basis in reality. A recent CBO report showed that any loss in reenlistment rates is entirely made up for by increased military recruits.
The NYT editorial correctly notes, “[A]s a long-term investment in human capital, in education and job training, there is no good argument against an expanded, generous G.I. Bill.” But that won’t stop far-right conservatives from offering bad excuses, even on Memorial Day.