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US Papers Sun: More on the New G.I. Bill
Watching football (the American kind) from Iraq
By DANIEL W. SMITH 11/02/2008 01:55 AM ET
Today we continue with continuing education for veterans, and tune in to Dexter Filkins about tuning in to American football in Iraq - all in the Times .

Military Matters
Yesterday's New York Times Print Version online included Lizette Alvarez’s sizable feature about veterans braving colleges and universities, entitled ”Continuing An Education: Combat to College”. Today, it appears again, and looks to be in the Sunday edition instead, so I may have been a day early in my coverage of it. Since it's by far the most substantial article of both days, here is yesterday’s Media Watch round-up again.

The article by Alvarez has two companion pieces by Cecilia Capuzzi Simon. The first is called “The New G.I. Bill: A Primer”, and that’s exactly what it is. It details who are eligible for enrollment in the program, and what is offered them. Members of the active armed forces are of course included, but so are members of the National Guard and Reserve, which make up a sizable portion of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who weren’t included in the previous G.I. Bill. As long as you’ve served at least 90 days of continuous active duty since Sept. 11, 2001, or at least 30 days and were discharged with a service-connected disability, you’re eligible.

It is clearly set up as a tool for veterans, and includes helpful explanations (tuition, housing, expenses, etc.) and links.

The second one is called “Beyond the Bill”, and in it Simon writes about other government programs that benefit veterans.
The new G.I. Bill, officially the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, may be more generous than the old one, but a lot of tuition and myriad incidental costs can end up uncovered. Luckily, there’s money out there. More than $300 million in scholarships and grants for veterans and military members goes unclaimed each year, according to, a Web site that tracks benefits. How to take advantage? Step 1, says Terry Howell, the site’s managing editor, is to decide what education you want. Step 2: prepare to do some homework.
Among the benefits are financial assistance for the disabled, trade-school scholarships, help with continuing education tuition, and special programs such as “Entrepreneurship Boot Camp” and “American Corporate Partners”(and even “Outward Bound”, which seems as though it might be anticlimactic, after going to war).

In the New York Times Sports Magazine, veteran Iraq journalist Dexter Filkins tells of listening to his beloved Miami Dolphins via the internet, throughout the thick and thin of the Iraq war, a bit of home away from home. Even surrounded by suicide bombings and the risk of being kidnapped, grown men throwing around a ball to sell advertising still makes his heart beat faster.
In Baghdad, in December 2005, I was supposed to be reporting a story about the Iraqi insurgency but was instead in my room, listening to the Dolphins on the radio and watching them online. They were playing the Buffalo Bills. It was a moment of high tension: 29 seconds remained in the game. The Dolphins trailed by 6. It was fourth down, on the Bills’ 4-yard line — the last play of the game. The quarterback Sage Rosenfels dropped back to pass, readied his throw — and my colleague Bobby Worth walked into the room to ask about Saddam Hussein, then on trial for war crimes.

“Wait!” I shouted. “Wait!” Bobby looked at me, mystified.

Rosenfels tossed a high ball into the end zone, and the Dolphins won, 24-23.

The drama of sports, like the lure of love, can be heightened by distance. As long as the mind retains a store of happy memories, distance can intensify a romance, make its recollections more vivid, prompt the heart to yearn. And if danger lurks nearby, the longing burns ever more.

Washington Post no Iraq coverage.

Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, no Sunday Editions.


Wounded Warrior Project