Friday, January 12, 2007

The deficit-financed war

Contrary to popular opinion, President Bush is not committed to success in Iraq. He never has been.

This article from Bloomberg makes it quite clear. This is the first time in our nation’s history (with the exception of the 1846-48 Mexican-American War) in which American citizens have not been asked by their government to make a special financial sacrifice to support the war.
This is the nation’s first deficit-financed war. Before everything is said and done, the price tag for Bush’s war may well be in excess of $600 billion - or $2 trillion if you add the cost of caring for our disabled veterans and paying to replace all the worn out military equipment. And that’s assuming the war doesn’t drag on for another 5 to 10 years. If John McCain is elected president in 2008, it is easy to see this conflict dragging on for another six years at a minimum.
But so far we haven’t paid a penny for this war. Not one red cent! Taxes have not gone up. Domestic spending has not gone down. It is all being financed off-budget on borrowed money.

The war ``is being fought on our children's shoulders,'' said Judd Gregg, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. ``You're probably talking about around $750 billion that is going to be spent on this war that will end up not being funded.''

That’s incredible! Bush has tried to fight this war on the cheap since the very beginning. They have not supplied the number of troops that military commanders initially said were needed (those commanders were subsequently forced into retirment and replaced with commanders who backed the administration’s position). They skimped on armor and protective gear for our troops. And they have dramatically underfunded the estimated reconstruction costs.
In 2003, the World Bank estimated it would take $60 billion to rebuild Iraq after our “shock and awe” campaign. So far we have parceled out less than $20 billion to that end and a large chunk of that money has turned up missing.
Last year, the Bush administration announced that it was not going to spend any more money on reconstruction in Iraq and I said at the time that it demonstrated Bush’s lack of resolve toward actually achieving the kind of outcome in Iraq that he talks about in his speeches.

The result of this war-on-the-cheap combined with the gross fiscal irresponsibility and mismanagement has been a disaster of striking proportions. While we have been bogged down in Iraq, the real terrorists have been making unprecendented gains in other parts of the world.

Iraq is at a violent and "precarious juncture," while al-Qaeda is significantly expanding its global reach, effectively immune to the loss of leaders in battle, Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte told Congress yesterday. He also warned that the Taliban is mounting a vigorous insurgency in Afghanistan, that Pakistan has become a safe haven for top terrorists and that Iran's growing regional power is threatening Middle East stability.
The Wall Street Journal recently had an article about the “Nightmare Scenario” that our allies in the Middle East now fear may result from Bush’s debacle in Iraq.

As President Bush prepares to unveil his latest Iraq strategy, Arab allies are worried about what might happen if the plan fails: that worsening strife could engulf the entire region, sparking a wider war in the middle of the world's largest oil patch.
The potential of a much larger regional conflict that pits Sunnis against Shiites is increasingly on the minds of both Arab leaders and U.S. military planners, according to regional diplomats and U.S. officials. Some are calling such a possible outcome the "nightmare scenario." A wider conflict appears more plausible now because, even as Iraq is separating along sectarian lines, regional dynamics are shoving neighboring nations into two rival camps.
On one side is a Shiite-led arc running from Iran into central Iraq, through Syria and into Lebanon. On the other side lie American allies Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, along with Persian Gulf states such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. These Sunni regimes are horrified at the emerging, increasingly radicalized Shiite bloc, largely financed and inspired by Iran, Arab diplomats say.

Bush is clearly the worst president in the history of the United States. The only question now is how much worse things can get before he finally leaves office.

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