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Doing Soldiers Right

Brewing in Iowa is one of the more despicable abuses of military bureaucracy in some time since the revelations about Walter Reed hospital earlier this year. The full-time education benefit of the Montgomery GI Bill goes into effect when soldiers have been deployed for 20 consecutive months—specifically, 730 days. How long was the deployment of the Iowa National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry? If you guessed 729 days, you were exactly right.

I should be inured to it now, but I still find it astonishing how brilliantly the Bush administration—and, for that matter, all of the G.O.P. candidates—dotes on the military at the same time as it hates on soldiers.



I hold to the idea that it takes a tremendous amount of mental aptitude to be so consistently nonsensical.

The point is not to make sense, but to maximize the amount of resources going to people they like, minimize the resources going to people they don’t like/don’t care about, while simultaneously winning elections. It’s not that they’re nonsensical, they’re just evil.

JH is right on that score. A move to cut a deployments in order to shirk a benefit makes perfect sense if you believe the cost of a particular benefit is too great. If your goal is to maximize profit—in this case, to take full advantage of putting boots on the ground while minimizing the cost of putting them there—then ending deployment before the GI Bill kicks in is a really smart move. It’s also the work of vampires. I wouldn’t be surprised if most units are pulled out of Iraq for the same reason, although I doubt that many will have orders that demonstrate the conniving so starkly.

Evil works for me. I was just striving for the diplomacy that I learned about during the Clinton years.