A new report by the Congressional Budget Office highlights the dilemma confronting America’s military– enact a GI Bill of Rights which will honor the sacrifices of those who have served or reduce benefits in order to force more soldiers to remain in service. The report said passage of the proposed legislation, which provides free tuition and living assistance, would most probably result in a 16% drop in re-enlistments. It suggested the only way the military could avoid such a conclusion was by raising its re-nlistment bonus payment. The estimated cost of the new bill over the coming ten years is about $51.8 billion.
The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been fought on the assumption the American people will not have to endure any hardshps such as higher taxes or requirements that people are drafted into the services. It is among the first wars in American history in which taxes were cut rather than raised. Perhaps, the nation must confront the issue as to whether it is time to institute some form of national service for young Americans. A nation can not endure over time only relying on volunteers, at some point the entire society has to meet its responsiblities. Or, perhaps, the alternative is not to become involved in wars leading nowhere and having no purpose.