Tuesday, March 04, 2008
The illegal and immoral Iraq War now threatens the well-being not only of the majority of Iraqis but the overwhelming majority of Americans as well. It is, in the final analysis, as much a war on us as it is a war on them. Bob Herbert's column in the New York Times this morning reports:
The war in Iraq will ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers not hundreds of billions of dollars, but an astonishing $2 trillion, and perhaps more. There has been very little in the way of public conversation, even in the presidential campaigns, about the consequences of these costs, which are like a cancer inside the American economy.
On Thursday, the Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer, conducted a public examination of the costs of the war. The witnesses included the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz (who believes the overall costs of the war - not just the cost to taxpayers - will reach $3 trillion), and Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International.
Both men talked about large opportunities lost because of the money poured into the war. "For a fraction of the cost of this war," said Mr. Stiglitz, "we could have put Social Security on a sound footing for the next half-century or more."
Since the Iraq War now threatens to spill over past the end of the terms of office of those who hatched it, Stiglitz's observation about Social Security strikes at the heart of this administration's master plan from the beginning: because perpetual and intense warfare drains resources to an extent that causes the nation to constantly teeter on the precipice of insolvency (especially when combined with massive tax cuts for the richest members of the oligarchy), it precludes any spending on social programs. This illustrates perfectly Orwell's theory of perpetual warfare, whose dual purpose is to punish the foreign enemy while impoverishing one's own civilian population.
A quick look at Bush's proposed FY 2009 budget proves the point.
"Sorry," the dictatorship tells us, "we'd like to help you, but we just don't have the money." What they don't tell us is that they planned it this way.