On ABC’s The View this morning, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was asked about the great strain placed on U.S. troops due to the Iraq war. McCain recognized the strain and said that in order to motivate Americans to join the military, the government should provide stronger “educational benefits”:
There a certain number who will join out of patriotism, thank God. And then there’s those who turn 18 or 19 or 20 or 21, and they look at their options. And one of the thing we ought to do is provide them significant educational benefits in return for serving. Americans will always serve their country. Americans will, if they’re motivated to do so.
McCain’s support of “significant educational benefits” is ironic, considering that he is still “hedging on whether he will support a ‘GI Bill for the 21st Century,’” as Jon Soltz and Gen. Wesley Clark note in today’s LA Times. That bill, sponsored by Sens. Jim Webb (D-VA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), would help fund higher education for service members who had served in active duty since 9/11.
“As de facto leader of the party, McCain could signal to other Republicans to sign on to the bill and assure passage,” Soltz and Clark note. VoteVets and BraveNewFilms has released a video on the new GI Bill and McCain. Watch it:
On the View, McCain said, “that’s what I believe I can do as President,” referring to implementing the benefits for troops. Curiously, he won’t do it now.
The Washington Independent notes that a McCain spokeswoman said Wednesday he has “not yet made a determination.” The bill, however, is a year old.