What do we owe the troops?

Although candidates and ordinary citizens complain about how the high price of gasoline and food is affecting Americans, most people go about their daily lives without much sacrificing many comforts. There is one group that does suffer and that is the men and women who are fighting, or have fought, in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are returning to a country that is more difficult and expensive to live in than it was when they left, and the benefits they get don’t help a great deal. In today’s S.F. Chronicle, veteran Patrick Campbell describes how the weakened G.I. Bill is failing to follow through on the promises made to people who enlisted in the services. Sixty years ago, when veterans were returning from World War II, society was transformed by the rush to education. A whole generation of new leaders were formed in the technical schools and universities that opened paths to new careers and a secure place in society. Now veterans, many of them from low-income families, are unable to get the college educations they have been promised because of the stingy benefits being offered. While the country concentrates on cutting taxes for the well-to-do, we are sacrificing our futures by not educating these young people for their proper roles as leaders in tomorrow’s America. For every dollar spent on veteran’s education, the economy benefits and society benefits. It’s about time for taxpayers to demand that Congress bring the G.I. Bill back to somewhere close to where it was half a century ago. We owe our veterans that much!

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