I always had a Princess Bride flashback during the run-up to Iraq.
"I am George W. Bush, you tried to kill my father, prepare to die."
Actually, if Clinton had taken it, this was best justification (note I
did not say reason) since trying to off a leader, even an ex-leader, has
always been viewed as an act of war.
Islam has always been one of the few religions where it was practiced
more as a blood sport.
People thought cybersex was a safe alternative,
until patients started presenting with sexually
Attempting to kill a country's leader (or leader-in-waiting) is not a reason
Consider Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.
Agreed. That part of the Muslim world is living in the equivalent of the
Christian Dark Ages. Give 'em another 500 years or so and they might have
their own Renaissance.
A quicker fix is to build McDonald's burger stands. Countries with
McDonalds' have never gone to war with each other.
Sadly there is. It's the munitions makers like Krupp and others like
Blackwater that rack up *incredible* profits and who often manage to
maintain that wealth in the post conflict environment. Dwight Eisenhower, a
general and a President warned us of a self-perpetuating military-industrial
complex, because he had watched it grow to behemoth stature during his years
of military and civilian service. Look at how that part of the pie is out of
whack with history and the rest of the world and you'll come to realize his
prophecy was correct.
The Iraq war was a planned squandering of American money for nothing except
show except an enormous debt. If we believed that they had WMDs and the UN
was "pussyfooting" than we had a right to look for ourselves. And that's
what most people thought they were approving of when the got behind the WMD
propaganda. But where did the right to make sure that Saddam had no WMD's
convert an Islamic inter-tribal balancing act to create an "arf arf:"
We spent truckloads of money trying to bring democracy to people who could
not care less, who aren't are friends and will never BE our friends. We lost
thousands of American lives trying to civilize people who would stone their
own children to death for intertribal marriage. Why? What did it get us?
Now the bills for the decade of war debt we've accrued are coming due and
there are those that want to blame lots of good government programs and
steal their funding instead of facing the fact that wars cost money. Big
money. And for a long time after they are ended. We'll be paying off AfRaq
debts for the next 40 years and it's almost like paying off a mortgage on a
house that burned down without insurance. No one wants to pay for it now
that we've regained our senses. That's perfectly normal because no one can
point to any serious gain we've made other than booting out Saddam, a busted
out dictator who thought that by convincing us he had WMDs that we would
leave him alone. We invaded without concern they would "light those nukes
off" because we knew at the highest levels that he didn't really have them.
It was a lie and a pretext to get everyone onboard the whack-Iraq express.
Even recently retired SecDef Gates said we must limit our involvement in
wars of choice.
<< [Gates said] that the U.S. has consistently failed to predict what is
just over the horizon. "Our record of predicting where we will use military
force since Vietnam is perfect -- we have never once gotten it right.>>
Iraq gained us little or nothing in the way of increased national security.
On the contrary, we've exposed a lot of military secrets to the Iranians,
the Chinese and anyone else with the right equipment and observers. Some
Arab tech students unscrambled the US drone video feeds.
"Shiite fighters in Iraq used off-the-shelf software programs such as
SkyGrabber - available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet - to
regularly capture drone video feeds, the Wall Street Journal reported
Thursday. The hacking was possible because the remotely flown planes have an
unprotected communications link."
Many more of our secrets have been lost fighting an enemy who we are trying
to democratize. Why? The final nail in the coffin of the claim that Iraq
was a war of need is the fact that North Korea has nukes, has missiles which
CAN reach neighbors whom we have defense pacts with and he has threatened to
use them. But we leave North Korea alone and even offer them bribes. It
demolishes the argument that Saddam was so much badder he had to go first.
It does make a case, though, for Israel to have pushed us hard to invade
Iraq to have us serve THEIR goals.
Even if Saddam *had* WMDs he had no delivery system capable of reaching us.
Once again, WE did the heavy lifting for Europe and Israel, the countries
most threatened by the imaginary WMD's that Iran will actually have some
day. Will the US have the money or the will to take on Iran if the need
arises? Just remember the story of the boy who cried "Wolf!"
It's the same in the war in Afghanistan. If anyone ever needed proof that
you can't deny conspirators a place to plot, it was finding Osama bin Laden
in Pakistan. Like Viet Nam, to prosecute the war we have to follow the bad
guys into an ever-increasing number of countries. Then, it was Laos,
Thailand and Cambodia. Now it's Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. The names
change but the concepts don't. It turns out our fears in the 60's of Red
China taking over the entire continent (the Domino Theory) have morphed into
China being our BFF in trade. So *what* did we gain in Vietnam? Companies
like Hughes got filthy rich while 55,000 American soldiers died.
Now, some of our own legislators, like they did in the years before 9/11,
are attacking the President at every turn, making us look weak in the eyes
of our many, many enemies. That, coupled with our "scheduled" withdrawals
in both theaters, will really pump up the terrorists who are already saying
they've bankrupted us and forced us to leave. Trying to score political
points by making us look weak worldwide both financially and militarily is a
game with no good consequences for the US.. With the 10 year anniversary of
9/11 just a month away, it's a very foolish thing to do. But alas, history
often repeats itself.
I heard Cantor say today: "We're doing everything we can for the people who
put us here." I would have said "voters" and not "people" but I guess he
answers to more than the voters. With the Citizen's United decision, he
could be answering to foreign powers that have contributed to his campaign
and we would not be able to tell. That's what's wrong with the whole
system. Congress represents Corporate America and big contributors, not the
American Citizenry. Until that changes, they'll be glad to have us at each
other's political throats. When Republican and Democratic voters are
fighting, our politicians are laughing all the way to the bank.
He had to cut taxes to pay for the wars!
In virtually every case where taxes have been cut, revenues to the
government have risen.
We conservatives also hold that tax cuts can cure cancer and heal bee-bites.
Not exactly. When tax cuts yield higher government revenues, there's more
money for the National Institutes of Health to award grants for cancer
research. Plus, when the general populace has more money, greater funds are
given to charitable institutions of which several are devoted to cancer
research and rehabilitation.
Admittedly, I haven't researched bee-bites.
Those tax cuts are stimulus money. They do not really last. I bet you
that if we announce that we will raise capital gains taxes to be equivalent
to income taxes, enormous amounts of capital gains are going to be
realized, and tax revenues will go up for a little while. Then they will
precipitously fall, until a new equilibrium is reached.
The tax codes are really funny. Heck, when I found out I could donate
stock, and realize that would give me a charitable deduction of the current
FMV, and would not have to pay Cap gain taxes if I had just sold that
stock, charity got a real boost and my taxes went down nicely. Apparently,
the sheeple want me to avoid paying taxes by letting me give money to
organizations I choose from among (in this case) 501c3 organizations.
Since 1992, federal revenue has increased EVERY year EXCEPT for a couple
at the beginning and end of the GWB years. Statistics are great, aren't they?
You can use them to support any argument you want!
Better to be stuck up in a tree than tied to one.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar.org
Do I really have to spell it out? War costs money, there is absolutely
no revenue from it except for a few individuals and corporations. It
doesn't increase a country's revenues (unless you mean conquering
oilfields and pocketing the revenues from selling the oil, which wasn't
done (yet)). Lowering taxes cannot by definition increase long-term
revenue, unless you're logic-impaired. That some statistics may falsely
show that is because, well, statistics lie.
Ergo, it is irresponsible (IMNSHO) to wage war and NOT p[rovide the
revenue to pay for it. I am leaving ethics, being right and morality
Of course wars cost money. Sometimes it's cheaper to get it done instead of
pussyfooting around. 9-11 wasn't cheap, and was caused by Clinton's
Lowering taxes *INCREASES* revenue, long term.
We got the oil. Oh, not us directly (very clever that), but oil is fungible.
The millions of barrels of Iraqi oil flowing into the world's market
depresses the price we pay to Canada, Nigeria, Mexico, and other sources.
In 1941, the U.S. was still in the grip of the Great Depression. The country
certainly had no extra funds to prosecute a world-wide war. Is it your
opinion, then, that the U.S. should have simply absorbed the attack on Pearl
Harbor, Guam, the Aleutians, and maybe the west coast, merely because the
country lacked the funds to proceed otherwise?
Of course you know my answer, since you know I am only alive because the
US and its allies defeated Germany - I was born in 1944 in occupied
WWII was a hugely deficit-driven proposition and it wasn't until the 50's
with the interstate program that the post war recession was really
lifted. Of course, the Marshall plan and the GI bill helped too. Oh,
wait - deficit spending ...
Han, it's become very apparent that you do have to spell it all out, and s l
o w l y because both R's & D's are deep into "magical thinking." One side
believes utterly false statements like "tax cuts *always* increase
revenues." The other side believes that giving out-of-work people money to
sit at home and drink beer and not do public service work or sign up for
retraining DAILY is going to fix unemployment.
Many on both sides seem blithely unaware that war costs money. BIG MONEY.
They're too busy fixating on fighting each other over nonsense. Even the
Romans eventually couldn't make it pay, and they plundered the treasuries of
their victims to help offset the cost. We don't even plunder our enemies,
we help them form Islamic pseudo-democracies. I can't recall seeing that
last task anywhere in the Constitution except in terms so broad it makes the
Commerce Clause look like a hypodermic needle.
Oh but the revenue they get. Blackwater made out very nicely in this last
war. If only we could have all done as well. As long as guys like them
make big bucks from war, wars will continue.
The Iraqis just concluded a deal to sell their oil to the Chinese. So much
for taking their oil. IIRC, you've been involved in military procurement,
Han. Anyone who hasn't really doesn't have a good "gut" feeling of what
wars cost. In the Iraq war, we were not allowed to see returning coffins
which helped hide the human cost of wars. The money part was hidden in
accounting tricks. The Iraq war hardly effected most Americans - until now,
when all the big bills are coming due along with all the debt TSA and
Homeland Security racked up for us. Or does the magical thinking extend to
believing those government functions, like war, are also paid for by the War
People just don't understand how slow the government payment pipeline can
be. There's still billions in mortgage aid appropriated but unspent. This
is a teaching moment: Wars cost money. The Civil War gave birth to the
nation's first income tax. Why? We ran out of money fighting the war.
Simple, logical, easy to understand. Yet very few seem to get it. And even
fewer want to pay for it now that it's almost over. IMHO, the people who
started both wars were very active in concealing their costs from us.
Precisely! I shudder when I hear people constantly make the claim:
"Lowering taxes ALWAYS increases revenue."
That statement's remarkably false and it's based on a few times in our
history where revenue *coincidentally* soared after a tax cut for a very
LARGE number of reasons: cheap money, hot economy, new economic sector,
paybacks from some accounting change, etc. Receipts often climb after tax
cuts, but not necessarily *because* of them. Income-tax payments tend to
naturally rise year-after-year because of population growth, wage increases,
GDP growth, and inflation. Monetary policy, government spending, and the
business cycle also have major impacts. So to pick out a few times when
cuts occurred and revenue increased and point to them as a rule is losing
the difference between correlation and causation. The sun does not rise
because the rooster crowed but simple observation might lead someone to
believe that relationship is something more than coincidental.
We are not in a period that looks anything like the times when revenues rose
and taxes fell. It's illogical to think that what works in one set of very
specific circumstances will work in all circumstances. When Greenspan kept
dropping interest rates to spur more lending, he was feeding gasoline to a
fire. Lots of that cheap money bought overvalued real estate and mortgage
"jelly rolls" filled with toxic waste that temporarily made the economy look
good, but actually brought us to our current mess.
What's that line so famous in the Pentagon: "If you torture the data long
enough, they'll confess to anything!"
"The last half-dozen years have shown us that we can't have both lower taxes
and fatter government coffers. The Congressional Budget Office, the Treasury
Department, the Joint Committee on Taxation, the White House's Council of
Economic Advisers and a former Bush administration economist all say that
tax cuts lead to revenues that are lower than they otherwise would have
been - even if they spur some economic growth. And federal revenues actually
declined at the beginning of this decade [2000-2010] before rebounding.
> Ergo, it is irresponsible (IMNSHO) to wage war and NOT p[rovide the
Like a rat eaten by a snake, the cost for war works it way very slowly
through the economy. Usually, wars START by producing a surge of employment
and economic growth because the GOVERNMENT is spending money. (How ironic -
GWB was running a public works project in disguise.)
The money (tons of it) goes to defense plants, for Army wages and care, for
base maintenance, cruise missiles, drones, tanks, Humvees, helos, etc. The
good times roll until quite a bit later (now) when the bills roll in. Then
the plants shut down, the Guard & Reservists try to get their old jobs back
and the government spending winds down causing tax receipts to sputter and
the deficit to soar.
The people that started those two wars of choice would have you believe that
the War Fairy will pay for them - and for the TSA and for Homeland Security,
too. They work hard to con people into believing that the current
administration is responsible for the current mess, but these debts were
incurred a long, long time ago.
The bills will keep coming in as expensive tanks, planes and other equipment
need replacing. The trillion dollars we'll need to care for horribly
wounded vets will come due slowly over the next 40 years, according to the
CBO. Wars cost blood and treasure and our modern hi-tech, 10 year long
"surgical" wars are outrageously costly compared to wars like WWII. Like a
deadbeat moving his debt from credit card to credit card to stall the
inevitable, we're now in a place where all the budgetary magic has expired
and it's time to pay up.
If both the R's & D's don't abandon their magical thinking and their belief
that 10 year long wars can be prosecuted for free, we're just going to spin
our wheels while the rest of the world leaves us behind. We're already
running in the middle of the pack in lots of areas where we once were the
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