Bushies been wrong all along
|April 19, 2008||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Bushies been wrong all along
The wartime economy
Congress complains about the cost of war, but there better reasons than money to leave Iraq.
by The Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2008
The Iraq war met the economy on Capitol Hill this week, and Republicans were spooked. They have reason to worry. Democrats racked up political points in their effort to show that the cost of the war is ruinous and that the Iraqis are shirking paying their fair share. Administration officials conceded that the run-up in oil prices had suddenly enriched the Iraqi treasury but insisted that Iraq has plans to chip in more for reconstruction. Still, Democratic lawmakers fumed that Iraq is running a large budget surplus and has $30 billion stashed in U.S. banks alone, while the war’s $600-billion cost has pushed the U.S. deep into deficit spending.
Republican House members startled many by joining in the tongue-lashing. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) has even introduced a bill that would bar President Bush from entering into a “status of forces” agreement with Iraq — a legal requirement for keeping U.S. troops there once the United Nations mandate expires at the end of this year — unless Iraq pays for “all of the costs of the services of the American Armed Forces.” That will never become law under Bush, but it sends a message to Baghdad as well as the White House.
Bashing the Iraqi government for freeloading is a winner of an issue for Democrats and even more so for anxious Republicans facing reelection this year. Bush immediately smelled danger. He pushed back in a speech Thursday, arguing not only that Iraq was doing its part but that current defense spending, at 4.2% of our gross domestic product, is less than the 16% of GDP the U.S. spent during the Cold War or the 9% President Reagan spent to face down the Soviets. Moreover, it “pales when compared to the cost of another terrorist attack on our people.”
Bush is right: Money isn’t the real issue. If Al Qaeda were using Iraq as a base from which to attack the U.S. homeland, as the administration has often warned, then we would have to fight it whatever the cost. And Americans would deem the sacrifice worthwhile. But neither Al Qaeda in Iraq nor Iranian attempts to influence that country pose such a grave threat to the United States as to justify continuing a misguided five-year quasi-occupation of an Arab nation by 140,000 U.S. troops. The Al Qaeda presence and Iran are problems, but they are essentially political problems that require political solutions only Iraqis can find.
The U.S. should continue to help train Iraqi forces while beginning a withdrawal of its own. We must withdraw not because the U.S. economic downturn has made many voters belatedly realize that the war is shattering our financial security, but because this war is not — and never has been — in America’s best interest.
You don’t want waste. So why do you pay for it?
United States — Vanishing Freedom
The Carnage in Iraq — Past, Present, and Future
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