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A new GI Bill
By Bruce Walker
The group of citizen soldiers who have fought so bravely and so well in Iraq and Afghanistan may well be the best that the American Republic has ever produced. Huge numbers of young men volunteered for service after Pearl Harbor, but then - in stark contrast to now - the leaders of American entertainment were solidly behind the war effort.
Would America have had the will to defeat Japanese and German horror regimes if Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Jack Benny, Glenn Miller, Doris Day, Gary Cooper, Bennie Goodman and a host of other entertainers had openly opposed the war? Instead, of course, these idols of American society made it unpatriotic not to support the war wholeheartedly.
Would American soldiers have fought as well if Edward R. Murrow in 1940 had given a sympathetic interview to Hitler in Berlin? Or if Lowell Thomas had given Mussolini's "side of the story"? Or newsreels have complimented the courage and determination of Japanese soldiers? Instead, of course, American journalists play fast and loose with the truth to help the allied cause (e.g. Hitler's infamous and fabricated "dancing the jig" after the fall of France).
The cost in blood the Second World War was much greater than what our military
face today, but live itself was less comfortable and more dangerous sixty
years ago than today. Our modern heroes faced chemical, biological and radiological
threats more frightening than bullets and bombs.
The G.I. Bill filled colleges with veterans who became the leaders of the next thirty years. This was reflected in American elections for decades. Truman was a war president and a brave combat veteran of the First World War. General Eisenhower won two landslides. Without PT-109, John Kennedy would have lost the 1960 election. Veterans were mature, educated and wise.
Today, America has men and women who volunteered to serve even when the military was mocked by the elites of colleges and entertainment. These brave Americans, more than anyone else, have demonstrated a profound understanding of the global moral war our nation faces against totalitarian regimes and old, vile hatreds.
They have shown skill on the battlefield, but what our nation truly needs is to harness the skill these veterans for the battlefield of hearts and minds in America and in the world. The old G.I. Bill does not help in this area. Sending veterans to the academic gulag of American universities would demoralize our good soldiers and grant, by association, to crypto-Marxists who harangue students an unmerited dignity.
The new G.I. Bill should allow veterans the right to earn through long distance instruction provided by the military services with all the college credits needed to reach any peak of achievement which hard work and brains can attain. Formal campus instruction through the hoary and decrepit universities should be outflanked through a grand maneuver. Let privates and sergeants earn doctoral degrees in any field while still in the service or after leaving the service.
Then place these veterans as front line soldiers in the real war of the future - the battle against the vast lies of the left. Hussein's strategy flowed like this: (1) Bribe the French, Germans and Russians to give rhetorical ammunition to American leftists; (2) Use these leftists like Dan Rather and Tom Daschle to create impossible hurdles for any America; (3) Force American policy along crimped and dangerous lines.
American military power - as demonstrated in 1991 and 2001 - was overwhelming. No one doubted our military could eventually achieve decisive victory. But all the real fighting was done among the chattering aristocrats of Paris, New York, London, Los Angeles and Washington. Thanks to President Bush and the magnificent team he assembled, spectacular military success obscured the babbling left.
The real defense of America and of the values of ordered liberty which it champions must be fought in the places of learning, the arena of entertainment and culture, that nebulous lump of talking, pontificating, researching and advocating which keeps the infantile illusions of leftism alive.
Who better to fight that battle than the brave men and women who have already offered their lives as warriors against evil? What America needs is a G.I. Bill that insures that as many veterans as possible become screen writers, journalists, actors, professors, songwriters, film directors, performers, musicians, comedians, poets, painters and librarians.
The G.I. Bill can, and should, simply the process for veterans acquiring credentials and remove the bigotry against patriots and individualists which the hive mentality of leftism loves. This means helping servicemen get the experience in broadcasting, art, film making and entertainment which conservatives are routinely denied by PBS, NPR and other "neutral" taxpayer supported activities.
How? Grant veterans preference in any of these areas, much like veterans have preference in civil service jobs now. Make discrimination against these defenders of our freedoms a civil wrong remediable in court. Allow the Department of Justice to intervene against those who show patterns of excluding these veterans from equal opportunity in broadcasting, subsidized art and culture, and other activities granted special status and support.
Force the druids of PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts, NPR, state colleges, public school systems, library systems and a host of other bastions of sanctified leftist orthodoxy to open their doors to heretics or to face the wrath of juries.
Win the battle of ideas, information and imagination and America may never have to fight another war. Lose this battle, and we lose the next war without a shot being fired. Our new warriors understand better than anyone how war is about information. Let us give them the tools, the chance and the support to win this war. Let us pass a new G.I. Bill.
Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent
contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.
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