COUNTERPOINT: Information Is Not Intelligence

A Navy corpsman protects his face from dust blown by an MV-22 Osprey external lift, April 5, 2014, at Landing Zone Bull, Calif. The external lift is part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 2-14, a seven-week training event hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One cadre.
Photo by Lance Cpl. Xzavior T. McNeal

As we veterans leave the service after a decade of war winds down, we struggle with questions about our future. What makes us marketable in the civilian world? In response, many of us are turning to college to obtain that marketability.

In her article, “Here’s How To Make College Your Next Mission,” Kate Taylor Logan leaves quite a few questions unanswered about college and does not provide much analysis for her recommendations. In reading the article, I felt that she was using her own anecdotal experience to infer that her experience was THE experience. I would like to point out various statements made by Logan and address them each individually.

I am always astonished at how many of them are not using any of their GI Bill, especially the active-duty veterans since under the post-9/11 GI Bill they would get paid to go to school!

This statement seems to suggest that veterans who served in the Reserve or National Guard would not have access to stipend payments if they used the post-9/11 GI Bill. However, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs, eligibility ties to cumulative active-duty service. The key word here is cumulative. According to a comprehensive analysis over at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, service members with as little as 90 consecutive days of active-duty time receive some sort of living allowance. Reservists and National Guardsmen/women have cumulative active-duty time, many times more so than an active-duty service member who does one pump and hits the street. If anything, we should consider the post-9/11 GI Bill an equalizer compared with the dueling Select Reserve and Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill, which were, in my opinion unfair and biased. Conversely, the post-9/11 GI Bill provides benefits to those who have skin in the game.

Let’s face it, the military is not full of academic enthusiasts. Sure, some of us joined for the college money, but a majority of us signed up when bartending seemed like a more viable career than biology after high school.

This statement is galling, drastically misinformed, and perpetuates stereotypes that only serve to reduce our credibility in the civilian world. The facts are actually quite plain. Sixty-four percent of the veteran population has some college experience under their belt. In contrast, 58% of the non-veteran population has gone to college. That means the veteran community has comparatively 6% more college experience than the non-veteran population. It would seem then, that we are in fact, academic enthusiasts.

You made it through the military, so take on a little more of a challenge than the ‘Anyone Can Do It’ online University.

In short, I would argue that veterans should stay away from schools that offer a quick and painless education regardless of whether they are online or have brick-and-mortar locations. College is supposed to be difficult. My master’s of public affairs was mostly online and I would not trade that education. It is a poor decision to limit your academic career to a brick-and-mortar school simply because you have to sit in the classroom and someone told you online is crap. Crap is everywhere. Go with what suits you, but do not be taken for a chump.

Night classes are great for those who work full time during the day, but can be much harder to motivate yourself to attend.

I am just going to leave this one right up here. I have never once heard a vet, or any college student for that matter, say, “I am super motivated for this 8 a.m. class.” The opposite is more often true, in my experience. Additionally, a study conducted in 2011, argued that students appeared better at insight-driven problem solving in the afternoon and “had a higher insight-problem solution rate” than morning participants. If you are better in the morning, take classes in the morning, if not, then don’t. However ambitious, taking morning classes may end up hurting individuals rather than helping them.

As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the GI Bill might I remind you that the post-WWII era of veterans changed our country’s entire disposition and helped to foster one of the greatest economic periods in U.S. history because they used the advantages given to them.

This statement, though generally true, is hyperbolic in the context in which Logan wrote it. The greatest generation was able to foster prosperity based on a number of factors, education only being one of them.

We should encourage veterans to expand their education; I agree with Logan’s goal. However, using anecdotal information to inform and persuade readers does a disservice to those readers. Additionally, without informed analysis of verifiable information coupled with well-reasoned arguments we lose credibility with our audience. I hope that Logan and readers take my critique as constructive rather than divisive.

Rick Schumacher served as a PSYOP Team Leader in Northern Iraq (2003-2004). He is a graduate of the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs with an MPA in Disaster and Emergency Management. He is a Tillman Military Scholar and is developing the Community Vanguard Initiative, a veteran-focused organization centered on community engagement in emergency management. Follow him on Twitter @rickslastchance.


Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.

The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.

During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.

"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."

"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."

Read More Show Less
Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. (Reuters photo)

Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.

Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.

Read More Show Less
(Associated Press photo)

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.

Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.

Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."

"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army Rangers resting in the vicinity of Pointe du Hoc, which they assaulted in support of "Omaha" Beach landings on "D-Day," June 6, 1944. (Public domain)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."

Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to award the Army Rangers of World War II the medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Read More Show Less
Senior Airman Marlon Xavier Cruz Gonzalez

An airman at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was arrested and charged with murder on Sunday after a shooting at a Raleigh night club that killed a 21-year-old man, the Air Force and the Raleigh Police Department said.

Read More Show Less