A letter from my Dad to the Aitkin Age newspaper.
John McCain, the presumptive nominee for President from the Republican Party, is a war hero. There is no question about that. He is also considered a maverick of sorts for taking on his party in the past. Perhaps that is changing since he has a 95% pro Bush voting record in congress in the last few years.
However, as a veteran and a war hero, I have some serious concerns about his attitude toward today's veterans. Most of these facts are from a recent article in the Star Tribune by Edward Humes. (June 3, 2008) Even though my friends on the right consider the Star Tribune to be main stream liberal biased media, the facts of Senator McCain's voting record on veteran issues are totally accurate.
There was a time when the original GI bill (1944) was truly a reward for serving ones country. College was a free ride including books, tuition, housing, and living expenses. That has certainly been watered down in the past 60 years. Low interest loans once helped put GIs into homes. The article claims, rightfully so, that these rewards for serving the country helped create a well educated and prosperous middle class.
So, as Congress tries to get back to meaningful benefits for our soldiers, why does Senator McCain suddenly feel the need to vote against major legislation supported by veterans organizations. Examples: in March 2004, he voted "no" on $1.8 billion reserve for veterans medical care; in April 2006, he was one of 13 Senate Republicans to vote against $430 million for veterans outpatient care; in May 2006, he voted against $20 billion expansion of inadequate veteran medical facilities. Further, for fiscal year 2007, he voted "no" on a $1.5 billion increase in veteran medical services and establishing a trust fund for underbudgeted vet hospitals. He also voted against a Senator Webb bill mandating adequate rest for troops between combat deployments. Finally, on the latest GI bill, he expressed opposition before skipping a vote on the May 22nd legislation.
Senator McCain says if the benefits are too generous re-enlistments will go down. Interesting logic. I'll let readers ponder why re-enlistments might be a problem. Just who is this 'maverick' running for president? The fictional Maverick brothers were card sharks and con men. Is that what is behind the image Senator McCain presents to the public?
Hard to believe we're related, huh?
Your My Father's Son leader.