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November 19, 2007

Iraq War Is Worth Every One of Those Trillion Dollars


Congressional Democrats have tried everything under the sun to end the war in Iraq. Some of their most obvious means of doing so, namely forcing withdrawal and withholding money, have not achieved their desired goals.


Stopping the surge did not work either, neither did excusing the smearing our immensely successful top military leader in Iraq. Although they were stopped just short of passing an ill-timed resolution condemning non-existent Ottomans for the nearly hundred-year old Armenian genocide, they managed to anger Turkey by passing the bill in committee, opening the door for a much exacerbated situation on the Turkish-Iraqi border.


In the meantime, efforts to impact popular opinion on the Iraq War through defeatist language, such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s declaration that the war was “lost,” have been in high gear. Although this has worked to some degree, dramatic progress in Iraq threatens to make the war popular again.


Congressional Democrats have thus found it necessary to push even harder to alter public opinion toward the negative. Considering the substantial improvements on the ground, however, counting the dead isn’t going to work anymore. But counting the money, they believe, just might work.


The Democrats on the congressional Joint Economic Committee released a report this month suggesting that the true costs of the war are not merely limited to federal expenditures, but also include economic losses that are not as apparent. Thus the true costs of the Iraq War from 2002-2008 are $1.3 trillion for the country and $16,500 for a family of four. For the first time ever, congressional Democrats have become fiscal conservatives trying to convince Americans that, regardless of how the war is going, it is simply costing too much.


Now, let us for a moment assume that these numbers are true. This would require us to ignore the fact that the report was put together by Democrats without the consultation of Republicans on the committee, that the estimate is far above that of the Congressional Budget Office, that the methodology used and results released are highly arbitrary and inexplicable, that much of the money spent on the war here and abroad comes back to benefit the U.S. economy, and that, since the top 5 percent of the country pays 60 percent of total taxes, that top 5 percent bears close to $50,000 per family for the war while all other families contribute on average less than $2,000 of war costs over seven years.


So, simply for argument’s sake, let us assume that the Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee are correct about all of their numbers. Let us assume that the Iraq War has truly cost $1.3 trillion. Does it really matter?


The Iraq War ceased long ago to be solely about Iraq. It never really was. We are fighting a brutal war against extremists who cannot be pacified merely by the gun, and certainly not by diplomacy (or, as Ron Paul would have us believe, by leaving them alone).


If we fail in Iraq, the terrorists in and around that country will multiply. Al-Qaeda and like-minded organizations will re-establish themselves in Iraq and around the Middle East after being severely battered over the past few years. The hope of democracy, which since the Iraq War has gained ground in countries even such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (where, respectively, women have been granted the right to vote, and elections of any nature finally took place), would be shattered across the Muslim world.


An expansionist ideology of radical Islam will see an endless stream of young, hopeless men being dispatched to the malls of America, the clubs of Bali, the mosques of Iraq, temples of India and churches of Europe (however empty) in an effort to fulfill the sick yet real fantasies of fanatical “religious” leaders.


With time, the peaceful Muslim majority might be coerced into becoming a silent majority – or an outright minority.


If such a worldwide calamity is unleashed, it would be impossible to stop it. The Middle East would collapse immediately, and it would be only a matter of time before others, particularly Europe, would follow. The United States would not be able to handle a multi-faceted struggle involving nuclear-armed opponents, collective acts of domestic terrorism and extremely rapid population growth among the enemy.


There is simply no point in my saving money for health insurance when I won’t live long enough to use it, or to put aside cash in my kid’s college fund when I know he’ll be drafted into a global war the second he receives his high school diploma.


Halting contagious radicalism in its tracks through Middle Eastern democracy is indeed worth much more than $1.3 trillion. The cost of surrender would certainly be much higher – and we would just as certainly be unable to ever pay it.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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