Mr. Bush asked the citizens of the fifty states, via their federal congressmen, for an extra $75 billion to $90 billion worth of war in Iraq. The citizens of the fifty states approved the spending.
The money, however, will only last six months.
And so, taxpayers, with personal income taxes having been due on April 15, it is necessary to ask: are you getting your money’s worth? (Ignore, for the moment, that taxation is not the only means to pay for a war; there is always the debasing of the dollar).
To answer that question, of course, one must know what it is one is buying. “I’m buying war!” a Fox TV “personality” might say.
But why? one must ask. As payback for September 11? Or to kill Saddam Hussein? What will either of those things get for you, Mr. Taxpayer? Psychic enjoyment, at most.
Those who died on September 11 will not be brought back to life by the war in Iraq, and the conquest of Iraq (even if it results in the death of Saddam Hussein) will not decrease Arab dislike for America.
What is Mr Bush’s exit strategy? If we’re buying into a war, what is the time period for which we are “budgeting?” Does it include a war on Iran and Syria? Or does Bush the Beneficent plan to make Iraq the 51st state (ahead of Puerto Rico)?
If the Iraqis think the American government is belligerent now, wait until Iraq becomes the 51st state and tries to secede. The Union, after all, is older than Iraq, and older than Mesopotamia, as various court historians can attest. And arms are the highest tribunal known to man (as President Ulysses S. Grant famously stated). Ergo, Iraq can never leave the American union.
But I digress.
As Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State put it on January 29, 2003:
We want to say to America: is it worth it to you? Won’t you have, afterwards, decades of hostility in the Islamic world?
Memo to the Vatican: many American voters cannot spell “Islamic world,” let alone: (a) find it on a map; or (b) think farther than 14 days in advance. Regarding point (b), see “next paycheck” and “negative savings rate.”
Methinks the voting/couch potato public is neither listening to Cardinal Sodano, or the Pope, nor is such public thinking beyond the next segment of FoxNews or whatever sitcom happens to be popular. One hopes the predictable consequences will not materialize.
Mr. Dieteman [send him mail] is an attorney in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.
© 2003 David Dieteman