and Red Ink
The president plans to request
another $87 billion from Congress to fund operations in Iraq, a number that not
surprisingly is much higher than originally called for by the administration.
It’s not surprising because everything government does costs more than
originally expected, but it’s important to note that some in the
administration who warned about the true financial costs of an Iraq war were
forced to leave.
the White House concedes this spending will swell the single-year budget deficit
to a record $525 billion.
This is money the Treasury simply does not have, which means it must be
borrowed, printed, or raised through taxes.
None of these options are good for the American economy.
It is especially sobering to consider just how much we eventually might
spend in Iraq given our open-ended mission to rebuild it.
A decade in Iraq easily could cost American taxpayers one trillion
dollars and cause endless budget deficits.
question we might ask ourselves is this: What if our efforts to rebuild Iraq and
install a democratic government do not work?
Are we prepared to spend less on domestic programs like Social Security,
welfare, and education?
Are we prepared to raise taxes?
Can we continue to borrow money abroad?
Of course Americans are always prepared to make hard choices and
sacrifice for causes in which they truly believe, but the stark economic
realities of occupying Iraq have not been fairly presented.
the American people first were told they must pay to invade Iraq; now they are
told they must pay to rebuild it.
Those who complain risk being called unpatriotic or seen as not
supporting the troops.
But it’s not unpatriotic to ask how much Iraq is worth to us, and
whether rebuilding it is more important than countless domestic priorities.
“Whatever It Takes” is an easy mantra for politicians, but you will
pay the bills long after the current administration is gone.
can never hope to impose western, American-style democracy upon a nation that
has been rooted in Islam for more than a thousand years.
No matter what we say or do, millions of Iraqis and Muslims believe Iraq
has simply been invaded by the Christian west.
It makes no difference whether American, European, or UN military forces
are involved; all are viewed as outsiders seeking to colonize and rule Iraq
according to western values.
We cannot expect to overcome their resistance and bitterness quickly or
easily, and, if we truly intend to stay the course until democracy flourishes in
Iraq, we better be prepared to stay quite a long time.
many in Washington it simply does not matter whether the cause is Iraq, the war
on terror, or any other perceived crisis.
Any justification to expand the state is welcomed by politicians,
lobbyists, and special interests alike.
Before we spend a borrowed fortune in Iraq, we might remember the words
of General Douglas MacArthur:
“The powers in charge keep us in a perpetual state of fear, keep us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant sums demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.”