President Obama and the First Lady staged an expensive photo op Friday at Fort Stewart, Georgia, home of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. While Mr. Obama and his wife made passing references to the unit's remarkable combat record (and such pressing concerns as civilian employment prospects for soldiers leaving the service), the real reason behind the Fort Stewart visit was the public signing of an executive order protecting the troops from "predatory" colleges and universities.
Forget about the expense of flying to Georgia on Air Force One. And the cost of helicoptering from Hunter Army Airfield to the sprawling Army post. Or the extra security associated with a presidential visit. As we watched the signing ceremony unfold, a lot of us in higher education were left scratching our heads (DISCLOSURE: your humble correspondent is an executive for a private, non-profit college with a significant presence in the military market).
Mr. Obama told the crowd at Fort Stewart that the executive order is urgently needed to safeguard active duty service members (and veterans) from the for-profit institutions of higher learning that are preying upon them. The Commander-in-Chief even told horror stories about school recruiters who enrolled Marines assigned to a Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Lejeune. Many of the Marines had suffered traumatic brain injuries in combat and didn't remember what they signed up for after the recruiter left.
But is the problem as serious as the President would have us believe? Not surprisingly, the stenographers in the MSM quickly picked up the "crisis" theme. Here's a sample account from Air Force Times.