Thursday, October 30, 2008

Are we selling our country to finance our wars?

The fact that our national debt is growing larger every day worries me immensely. As a country I think this indicates we have been living beyond our means for some time. Or more to the point, we have been fighting a war we could not afford. The war in Iraq I believe came out of panic and paranoia over 9/11. What to do, who to punish? This was a puzzle that would have confounded any president. Our president, unfortunately, had a thing about Iraq because his father fought the Gulf war with Hussein and decided not to march to Bagdad when he was winning. I think Bush senior had gotten extremely sensitive to the criticism he had received over that war. I remember well all the justifications he brought before us for saving Kuwait's oil from whatever nefarious thing Saddam Hussein might do with it. It seemed like a good time to stop the war when Kuwaiti oil had been secured again, to be owned by the Kuwaitis who had it in the first place.

But that is neither here nor there. The point is you have to stop and think when you want to go to war if you can afford it, because modern war is very expensive. I remember Bush saying that as our commander in chief it was up to him to decide whether the security of our country was at stake, which he thought it was with Iraq in possession of WMD. Even had Hussein had some sort of weapon of mass destruction, to march on Iraq was a preemptive strike. I suppose Bush had jumped ahead in his mind and imagined a scenario where Hussein who hated us over the Kuwaiti war would suddenly drop the bomb on a US target and he would be to blame for not stopping him. But a president's paranoia after 9/11 could cause him to make a serious mistake. He not only had to continue with the war on Afganistan which he hastily claimed had been won (even though Osama ben Ladin was still at large) he now had to finance an even bigger and more costly war. To do that he was going to have to borrow money. Did not Bush understand that to finance his war he was going to have to sell the country back home more or less to the highest bidder?

I guess he did not understand high finance, so this did not bother him enough to think again and again. Naturally other countries want to buy the United States. It is not their fault that we have no idea what it is to be owned by the money men. They have been willing to help us go into the deepest deficit we have yet experienced, and this is not even a major war to most of us, because no attack on the US was actually perpetuated by Iraq. Bush told us he was saving us from sure attack, but it was obvious intelligence had not been good when no WMDs were found in any holes in the ground, caves, or anywhere else. It seems that the aging Hussein had just not got around to making any WMDs since idle threats terrified the presidents of the United States so effectively.

Bush ran amok with our promises to pay for others to finance this war, like a man pursued by demons. But being the president of the United States is a big job, and some men are just not up to making good decisions about all that it entails. War is a serious thing, and even if it is a mistake, it is so costly in manpower as well as war equipment nobody wants to contemplate the fearful idea that it might not even have been a good idea. I mean that the war is a dreadful drain on our finances and the longer we spend humongous amounts of money in Iraq, the more those who lend us the money for it are going to be in control of us in some degree for years to come. Somebody has to pay for war, and if we have gone to borrowing money to pay for it, what kind of price will we have to pay for our indebtedness? Our government has been as fiscally irresponsible as anybody in the private sector could possibly be, thinking war will get paid for somehow because they are necessary. Not all wars!

I remember being very worried about the deficit World War II had run up. Everybody was worried, and we had been attacked by Japan and Hitler was over running Europe. It seemed like we had to go to war. I think the fact that we came back from that huge deficit caused present presidents to think that war could always be paid for. If you will remember, the war in Vienam became a quagmire in which we were pouring an astronomical amount of money, and even after ten years commanders were calling for even more troops if any progress was to be made. I always thought that war was a mistake, the whole reasoning behind it. If we did not go to war over Vietnam the communists would take over. We did and ten years of very expensive war fare later we still had to let that happen. Now nobody even seems to know or care what it did to the world when the communists controlled Vietnam. After all the bombing and all the blood shed. Now if our young people said what was that all about we would be hard put to give them a sensible answer.

A lot of mistakes have been made by men too eager to go to war. Let us face it, some men like war games, and I am sure a nation of video game players making war for years on their computers might produce some more men that will think making real war might be a lot more fun. Will we then blow ourselves up, let alone have trouble paying for old wars? This could get worse. If McCain should lose, as far as war goes, that might be a good thing. He seems too fond of war, unfortunately. There is a bright side to anything that happens. Let us hope that the winner can add and subtract better than our present commander in chief.

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