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
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.
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.
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.
For 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:
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."