Which is of course to not support them. The capacity of the Bush administration to act with such breathtakingly arrogant hypocrisy never ceases to shock the conscience and confound the mind.
The Bush administration opposes a Democratic effort to restore full educational benefits for returning veterans, according to an official's comments last week.
Senate Democrats, led by Virginia's Jim Webb, want the government to pay every penny of veterans' educational costs, from tuition at a public university to books, housing and a monthly stipend.
Such a benefit was a major feature of the historic 1944 G.I. Bill, which put more than eight million U.S. soldiers through college and is now credited by historians as fueling the expansion of America's middle class in the post-war era.
But in recent years the benefit has dwindled; under the current law, passed in 1985, veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan can expect Uncle Sam to cover only 75 percent of their tuition costs. That's not enough, say Democrats and veterans' advocates.
More than 450,000 used the benefit last year, at a cost to taxpayers of $2 billion, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which administers the program. The Democratic proposal would cost an additional $5.4 billion a year, the VA estimates -- and that's too much, it says..