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Veteran Education: To Big A Price To Pay?

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

Congress is struggling with a new veterans bill that would include full tuition payments for college.

Republicans, including the president, have said it's too expensive, and a number of conservative Democrats have added their voices to the opposed chorus.

The estimate two year cost for the program is around $700 million - that's $11 billion over ten years.

Does that sound like a lot of money to you?

People who volunteer to serve and have little choice but to go to Iraq and Afghanistan, sometimes over and over again, should receive the same respect their grandfathers got. World War II changed America for all kinds of reasons, but chief among them was a GI bill that put college within the reach of tens of thousands of young men who might never have considered it otherwise.

We no doubt ask too much from our military already. A real thank you would be the guarantee of a college education and the prospect of fully participating in the American Dream.
By Harry Smith

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