The Costs of War

In the comments of the last post, Debater Larry posted this link to a running counter of Iraq war spending. At the moment, it displays a number that is more than $246 billion and rising rapidly. The site also provides links that put the amount into perspective using comparisons; for example, that amount of money could provide every child in the world basic immunizations for 82 years. (An explanation of how they calculated the comparisons can be found here.) Another Debater followed Larry's link and responded, "Wow! Is this true??"

One of the missions of this blog is to provide links to the hard facts behind the claims, always in the interest of fostering informed debate. So, here goes:

Based on Congressional appropriations figures, the counter appears to be pretty accurate. As of June 2005, DOD had racked up about $160 billion in obligations for the Iraq war (see page 7), with total Iraq war spending through half of FY2006 hovering around $251 billion, according to estimates presented by the Congressional Research Service (see summary page).

I believe this total includes the Iraq-dedicated portion of the $45 billion in "bridge funding" (see page 1), which refers not to actual bridges but to funds that bridge the gap between appropriations (otherwise, we'd have a heck of a lot of bridges to build.)

The $251 billion does not include additional funding requested beyond the bridge, like the Iraq-dedicated portion of the $72.4 billion supplemental request the president made last month "to fund our efforts in the global war on terror," nor does it include any part of the $50 billion in bridge funding the president is expected to request this spring.

When looking at those costs, however, it is important to remember that the GAO found serious deficiencies in the recording and reporting of war costs, calling into question the reliability of the Department of Defense estimates (see page 10). Billions of dollars allocated to reconstruction remain unaccounted for, mostly from the early stages of the occupation.

That's why it makes sense to use the most solid numbers we have -- Congressional appropriations -- until the day when, hopefully, a full and accurate accounting can be done. Another part of the reason it's tough to discern the impact of the war spending is that it's never factored into the annual federal budget -- it's funded by "emergency supplementals," as if the war has taken them by a surprise.

Theoretically, the costs could be lower than reported, but once the money's appropriated, I doubt DOD would put any excess back into the public treasury. It's also possible that the actual costs could turn out to be much higher than reported, potentially putting us in quite a pickle.

(Note: None of the figures above take into account the astronomical interest payments we'll have to make on all this war debt.)

As the monetary costs mount over here, the far more tragic costs of war mount in Iraq. Alaa, the Mesopotamian blogger who didn't post any updates for most of last month, explains that he has been "too stunned to post. Unfortunately, all the doom scenarios which I have nightmared before are unfolding in front of our eyes."

By Emily Messner |  March 9, 2006; 10:44 AM ET  | Category:  Facts
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For $246 billion plus interest, we could have already BUILT, INSTALLED, and had online enough wind turbines in this nation to REPLACE the entire energy exports to the US of the ENTIRE Middle East.

Time to pull the plug on this farce.

You're either with America, or you're providing Arab nations with money from oil exports so they can fund more terrorists.

Posted by: Bucket Brigade Seattle | March 9, 2006 11:17 AM

Bucket-

We'll need a link. Unless you've magically figured out a way to fuel my car with wind turbines, I doubt it.

Emily-

Thank you for this topic. We need to open the dialogue on how to pay for this war *NOW*. Three years after the war started we still have not even attempted to fund it.

You are right to point out the future cost this war has in debt interest. More importantly, who has considered the costs of running 300-500 billion dollar deficits *today* on our national debt interest in the not-so-distant future? It isn't our kids that will be footing this bill, because the costs aren't negligible. It will be us. And we will pay for that in social services formerly rendered and introduced taxes.

Posted by: Will | March 9, 2006 12:05 PM

The first priority is to get out of the Iraq war and stop the human and financial bleeding. The long war strategy is not working and is real time financing of Bush's War providing another excuse to keep us in Bush's War? It is good to have this subject debated, long overdue.
It appears the cost of the Iraq War is increasing with time. It would be helpful to see the increasing cost of the war on a graph with future yearly projections, including it's percentage of deficit spending. Unlike most entitlements this war was one person's choice. I hope this becomes a push button political issue in November; maybe then congress will stop funding it and give Bush an ultimatum of when to withdrawal. For better or worse; public opinion polls are being heeded by incumbents.

Posted by: Jamal | March 9, 2006 12:24 PM

"When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging." Jamal is right, the bleeding needs to stop now.

Will made an interesting post two days ago about paying for this war. He proposed a 12% tax increase. This increase should be levied on citizens and corporations alike. Or we could pass a bill authorizing the seizure of all assets owned by GWB, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove to help pay for this mess. Maybe if the cost came out of their pockets, war wouldn't be so attractive as when it puts money in their pockets (Halliburton, Exxon, etc).

I still advocate a "Don't Get Fooled Again" march on DC on April 1st. And the focus should be on paying off the deficit, not impeaching Bush like I first wanted. Of course, that might by a by-product (smiles).

Posted by: wiccan | March 9, 2006 12:41 PM

Jamal-

This is what you were looking for:
http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/67xx/doc6786/10-17-LT_Defense.pdf

It is the Congressional Budget Offices Cost Analyses of Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan Summary Update for Fiscal Year 2006, October 2005. Fairly voluminous. You can find a more detailed report (if this 50 page hunk isn't enough) at http://www.cbo.gov/publications/collections/iraq.cfm

Posted by: Will | March 9, 2006 01:21 PM

Thank you Will!

Wiccan,

Is there an internet link for "Don't Get Fooled Again" march on DC?

Posted by: Jamal | March 9, 2006 01:26 PM

As to Will's comment about fueling his car with wind turbines, that is exactly what fuel cell technology is about. It is also a large part of ethanol and other alternative liquid fuel production, since electrical input energy (crop dryers, grinding, fermenting, pumping, etc.) is such a major part of any alternative to gasoline.

It is also coincidentally something which can help the Middle East untie itself from dependence on oil revenue. There is a vast amount of energy falling on sparsely used land, much of which could be harvested. But rather than invest in that, we and the violent opposition are too busy blowing each other to bits.

So, while we cannot connect a windmill or a solar panel to your car, we can use the energy from them to make ethanol and hydrogen to use in a fuel cell to replace the gasoline. Personally, I think that would improve the lives of Iraquis, Iranians, Palestinians, Afghans, and everyone else in the region a whole lot more than smart bombs and car bombs.

Posted by: Gardoglee | March 9, 2006 01:52 PM

the costs of the Cold War still haven't been fully paid.....

It is ironic however, that the purpose we went to war in Iraq was the premise they had and would use WMD's. This is while the administration is busy ignoring america's veterans of the testing of WMD;s that was conducted from WW2 thru 1975 when it was forbidden by President Ford. America first opened Camp Edgewood in 1917 by the War Department, it's purpose was to build and research chemical weapons, mustard agents etc.

By the time WW2 came along they were in business wide open. They used many soldiers of WW2 in chemical weapon experiments, I have seen numbers that are in the range of 60,000 WW2 veterans that were exposed to chemical and radiological weapons. They used many men in chamber tests at Edgewood during WW2. David Zeman of the Detroit Free Press did a series about their plight in Nov 2004. In March 2005 this letter was issued by the VA to help these men and the VARO's to know how to handle their claims march 14th VA mustard agent letter but again the Cold War era veterans of the test that were done from 1955 thru 1975 were ignored.

There have been numerous studies on these men, going back to the 1976 Church Commission, the Veterans at Risk report 1993, and the 1994 Rockefeller Commission and last but not least the March 2003 report from the IOM, Dr William Page, which is based on data gathered in FY 2000, this data showed that 40% of the Cold war era test vets were dead, 2098 men, of the 4022 survivors they found 54% reported very poor to totally disabling health problems, the study did not elaborate as to what the cause of the deaths and disabilities were. about 2200 men were disabled. For a combined death and disability rate of 74.43% of the men, an astonishing rate given the fact that 25% of the 7120 enlisted men were classified as level D test subjects and there fore were not exposed to any chemical drugs or weapons.
Long-Term Health Effects of Exposure to Sarin and Other Anticholinesterase Che

How ever research of the EPA superfund site, the database shows that Edgewood area of Aberdeen Proving Grounds is one of the nations most contaminated toxic araes, the list of toxins found in the drinking water wells, the ground water and the soil of the training areas, contains about 100 toxins. In 1984 the EPA forced Edgewood to cap the water wells for the base and the town of Edgewood Maryland and pipe water in from out of the area.
Superfund Information Systems: Site Progress Profile Superfund Information Systems - CERCLIS: Contaminants

In October 2003 the VA published a manual for the health practioners who would be seeing the men of the tests at the VA hospital, what they could expect to see, the trouble with this book, it came 28 years after the last test was completed. Most of the doctors assumed we were lying about being used in "secret tests" the problem was these weren't "secret" just classified. By 1994 many publications and reports had been written about the test programs, the problem is most health care workers had never seen these books. My own doctor told me to quit watching the X Files. When I was able to obtain one of the manuals and a copy of my file from the tests at Edgewood, his demeanor changed immediately, he just assumed our government would have never exposed enlisted men to chemical weapons, drugs like LSD, PCP etc. It flabbergasted him. He has since become my greatest asset at the VA hospital.

I have seen copies of the letters Congressman Lane Evans and Ted Strickland sent to Secretary Nicholson of the VA, on 28 April 2005 where they noted that they has enclosed the names of the approximate 10,000 enlisted men used at Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick in the human experimentation program. They asked him with the VA's ability to use the IRS, VA and Social Security data bases to find these men within the next 120 days, so they could come into the VA to obtain medical care and file compensation claims if they were suffering medical problems that could be related to the tests.

On October 5th 2005, Secretary Nicholson, sent them a reply letter stating that he had truend the lists of names to the Pentagon to comply with a DOD prpgram that intends to identify these men in FY 2009, as was agreed to by DOD in FY 2004. Why would it take five years to identify men, they already knew who they were? Is it because the current administration will be leaving office, and that DOD is really not trying to find these men? Isn't it kind of embarassing to be seeking men that the United States used in WMD human experiments in the past 60 years, while we are fighting an international war against terrorists who are intent on using WMD's against us, according to this administration?

They would prefer to let these enlisted men suffer without compensation or medical care, they and their families deserve. When we volunteered for the tests, we had to sign national security act agreements not to disclose our participation in the tests. Given the fact that these tests have been investigated numerous times since 1975, it is not exactly a national security violation any longer. Most of us still do not know what susbstances we were exposed to, and if they do tell you anything it has to be taken with a grain of salt, many of the records were destroyed by Sidney Gottlieb of the CIA who was the liason between the CIA and the scientists at Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick. Like I said I have paperwork that shows I was classified as a level A, a letter from Len Sistek Jr that shows my number was 6778C, but he makes another statement in the letter that I was not exposed to any chemical substances, therefore I should have a D next to my name not either an A or a C.
I have had an Army major write a Congressman that implied that many men felt they were used in "secret" tests, when in fact they were doing normal gas chamber excercises with CS gas, etc. The difference is I never claimed to be in any "secret" tests, I have the proof I was in the classified human experimentation program at Edgewood.

For the first three years of my claim the VARO office in Columbia SC just ignored the claim of my problems being related to the tests at Edgewood, they never said they were not caused, they were caused, they just never put the words, Edgewood Arsenal, chemical weapons or drug tests on any of my paperwork. They just acted like it never existed. I wrote Congressman, Senators, and even the White House, a Mr Richard Henry handled the matter for the White House, after a meeting at the Columbia VARO where the DRO spent an hour yelling at my wife and I for writing elected officials, the VA awarded me a service connection of 50%. I have 6 of 13 known medical problems related to mustard agent exposure, I have multiple problems that warrant ratings of 100% each and a few that deserve ratings of 60% etc.

I filed an appeal for a hearing at the Board of Veteran Appeals, in the meantime I wrote Senator Larry Craig a letter as the head of the VA committee, he sent the letter to the VA in DC. They had Ms Renee Szybala respond to it, she sent me a letter and I assume Senator Craig a copy, that basically stated " your records at Columbia VARO show that you did volunteer for the "medical test" unit at Edgewood on 10 July 1974 but that you were taken ill before the tests negan. There fore none of your current medical problems could possibly be related to exposures at Edgewood Arsenal. She hoped that clarified the matter for me.

I wrote a thank you note to Senator Craig, that finally after 3 years he had made the VA address my use in the test program, I was sorry to see that they were attempting to lie their way out of it, as my records showed no such thing. My records show I arrived at Edgewood on 25 June 1974 inprocessed and was classified as a level A for use with pyshco-chemicals in anote to Dr Siddell. That I remained at Edgewood in the test program until 22 August 1974..

On November 8th 2005, more than 3 years after my claim began, the VA sent me a letter from Columbia VARO that said they were opening an investigation into my claim that I have health problems caused by exposure to chemical weapons and drugs while I was in service.
I have had three C&P exams since then, 28 Dec 05, 3 Jan 06 and 7 Feb 06. We are still awaiting the rating decisions. Considering the fact that I have been on SSD since June 2002, and in a power chair issued by the VA in Sept 2003, I would expect the VA would rate me at least 100% P&T as my doctors have stated I will not get better, that I am on a medicate until death treatment regimen.

I wish this only affected myself and my family, unfortunenately, there are 7119 other men from Edgewood and about 2300 men from Fort Detrick. While we are worried about other nations or terrorist groups using WMD's I find it ironic that our government is ignoring the men they used in these tests over the past 65 years. When cornered to answer they delay, obfuscate, lie, anything to keep from paying benefits. What part of Duty, Honor and Country do they not understand, We volunteered, we were damaged and we were told that our families and ourselves would be taken care of if anything happened. It now appears they lied to us. They ignore the elected officials that are trying to do the right thing by us, why? Bad publicity? It seesm the fact they refuse to care for us is worse publicity, then again I am only an old infantry sergeant and I do not understand how Washington DC works, obviously, or if I did these men would be getting the care and compensation they deserve. I am appalled by Secretary Nicholson's action to not find and help these men, as head of the VA his job is to care for the veterans harmed while in service, to delay and deny treatment would get an active duty officer court martialed. Failure to provide medical care and health and welfare benefits to his troops. As head of the VA all service members are his troops. This does not say much for the military at this point. Michael G Bailey 803-808-5371

DA IG report 1975
Jay Katz letter

Nat' Academies Press, Possible Long-Term Health Effects of Short-Term Exposure

Senate MKULTRA Hearing: Appendix A--Testing And Use Of Chemical And Biological

Roadmap to the Project: ACHRE Report

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/radiation/dir/mstreet/interim/intret.txt

Test Vet's

Thomas D. Segel

http://www1.va.gov/environagents/docs/USHInfoLetterIL10-2005-004_March_14_2005

http://archive.gao.gov/t2pbat2/152601.pdf

Nat' Academies Press, Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and

For Veterans ... Justice Delayed ... Is Justice Denied -- Thomas D. Segel -- G

Please consider helping us or having someone do a piece on this we need help many of us will not live until FY 2009 or later waiting for help, they promised to find us in 1993, now we are being told 2009, they just are not believeable any more Mike

Posted by: Mike Bailey | March 9, 2006 02:41 PM

Oooohhhh another march on DC! Hurray! Will there be giant paper machete puppets and hairy-legged vegans in sandals?

Posted by: | March 9, 2006 02:41 PM

The Republicans treat veterans the same way the democrats treat black voters..."hey, thanks for your vote, now go away".

Posted by: D. | March 9, 2006 02:43 PM

On war first, but then a comment for the windmill brigade of the technologically clueless environmentalists.

War -

Will writes accurately - "You are right to point out the future cost this war has in debt interest."
There are other factors that weigh in. One is the Pentagon is DEFERRING various systems to rob certain areas of the military acquisition and procurement cycle to pay for Iraq. They in budget requests, kept assuming it was a short war and they would just make up for foregone subs, fighters, trucks, intel satellites and such later - nor did they factor in the wear and tear on existing theater assets like M-19 grenade launchers, carrier jets, M-1 tanks, transporters that will prematurely reach the end of their useful life cycle. So future Pentagon budgets, to make up for that, will factor in hidden, deferred costs of the Iraqi War.
More importantly, are deferred human costs. You have a large number of Americans maimed by Islamoids and others with helath problems related to war service or who were in accidents that will receive 50-60 years of Vet payments for disability and medical care. Those cost estimates range from 700 billion to 1.3 trillion. The compensation is deserved - this isn't, per soldier, remotely close to what the 9/11 "victim families" got simply for being in the wrong plane or office at the wrong time - but it is a considerable cost.

I believe other commentors are correct. You should always pay for war in part in present taxes to assure sacrifice is spread. It IS nauseating that some of the biggest proponents of war are the same squealing for more tax cuts to the wealthy. Deferring some portion of costs to debt or deferred programs is OK, we've done that in other wars - but we have never said in any other war that we will cut taxes at the same time.

Now the Iraq numbers sound impressive, but the biggest waste of taxpayer dollars is in education, health care, and other entitlements that add little value to the country as a whole from investment. Newt Gingrich is correct in saying that if our health care system was as efficient as the Germans, we would have the same life expectancy, more competitive businesses free of exploding health care costs, and the nation would save 900 billion a year. The government monopoly on education costs Americans 40% more than in rival advanced nations, while making Americans the near-worst in math and science education...we are 27th and 28th internationally in ranking. The savings if we had a system that offered choice and paid teachers what they make in other advanced nations that enforce the discipline and desire to learn in students (only America has such percentages of "special ed" and tolerates unruly classroom conduct) - those savings that make large class sizes and less teachers per student would be 850-1,200 billion a year in savings.

So yes, if only the Europeans would fight Islamofascism instead of us, we would have more money for immunizations in Africa, food aid for Mayanmar, and be able perhaps to assemble a retinue of "caregivers, psychological motivators, teachers, and aggression counselors" around each "special student".

Or we could realize that security is the basis of all our liberties and the waste in entitlements is far more frivolous than the costs of defense.

============================

Windmills are the solution! type-people:

They kill me in their cluelessness. America uses 107 Quadrillion BTUs of energy. Most in forms for uses that demand 24/7/365 availabilty. We use 30% less energy per person than in 1970, so the idiot mantra about driving the Saudis to their knees if only SUVs are banned except for government employees that need them for work and environmentalists that need 4WD to commune with pristine nature is crap. We use 35% more than in 1970, and that is all driven by population growth, primarily illegal immigration. The Euroweenies populations are dying, so they can talk about reaching 1990 levels of usage.

Of that 107 Quads, which will need to be 132 Quads by 2030 as we go from 300 to 363 million Americans - despite triple tax subsidies, windmills only give us 0.14 Quad. Solar even worse - only 0.063 Quad and declining since the late 80s.

And we have found that well-heeled liberals and environmentalists are just as big a bunch of NIMBYs on offshore, mountaintop windmills or filling a desert up with solar collectors as they are on siting a nuke or coal plant near them. Ruins the view, doncha know! Stick some other NIMBY with them, not us! There are more lawsuits out now on blocking wind farms than any other energy projects. Most filed by the same sort of people that also kneejerk to any new nukes, gas, coal plants or any drilling anywhere offshore or in remote Alaska (known as the Cathederal of Pristineness to the Lefties)

The other big drawbacks to wind and solar are they are remote, and I^2R losses hurt any cost competiveness even with taxpayer subsidies out the yin-yang. "Green power", which lets "lifestyle choice" environmentalists buy far more expensive "renewable alternates" has been a general failure when offered as a consumer option. The only way it works is when utilities are forced to buy it and add it to cheaper methods of generation passed onto the ratepayer. Though certain windmill farms are efficient enough with new designs if you also build backup capacity when the wind isn't blowing. (Backup capacity is expensive).

Certain environmentalists now say that it is possible to build where they won't launch NIMBY lawsuits or "environmental racism" lawsuits and make up for I^2R losses in transmission by making electricity then using the juice to make hydrogen....which they swear will drive the Saudis to their knees. But windmill electricity, already expensive, simply makes hydrogen at 25-30 times the cost of it being made from abundant natural gas by the steam blanket method. Solar produced hydrogen is 350-375 times more expensive than the natural gas counterpart. But, as NIMBYs, they oppose all the cheap natural gas out there being brought to the US in LNG tankers and are suing to stop that - while China and India rush to build LNG terminals (8 are planned for the east China coast alone as new gas fields and known untapped fields are brought online)

America's energy needs in 2030 are projected to be 132 Quads. "Alternate" power, even with huge subsidies, are less than 1 Quad when you exclude hydro and waste to energy plants. Ethanol is only competitive with a huge taxpayer subsidy and mandated use in gas out in the Midwest. If you stop all immigration, you might get 5% of our energy coming from the all popular "alternates".

But as a replacement for coal, gas, oil, and nuclear - technologically clueless environmentalists are peddling a snake oil cure for America's real energy needs. Their other big bugaboo, SUVs, would only net us 3-4 Quads if their use was magically banned and that savings would be negated in 8 years of new Juans and Pedros pouring into the country and needing more pickup trucks for their blue collar job stuff and getting the familia around town in..

Posted by: Chris Ford | March 9, 2006 03:32 PM

Where's ErrinF. I have to eat my crow now over the port deal. I guess I'm not that surprised - it was the easiest way to pander to voters and it should have been killed anyway. But I'd be oh so much more satisfied if it had been the warrantless spying they had taken their stand on first.

Speaking of spying anyone consider how if they're only listening to calls with one end abroad, why so many FBI referrals turned out to be pizza orders?

But I digress. As far as energy goes, data many topics ago showed that while total freedom from fossil fuel is a ways off, the amount of energy we would need to save in order to stop importing from the ME could easily be done with relatively little sacrifice or economic interruption.

Bucket Brigade, America uses less than 5% oil to produce electricity and heat. Almost half our oil use is in transportation and almost half in manufacture of synthetics, mostly plastic. (That of course does not mean we should in any way give up on alternate forms of energy for electricity and heat. You are correct that we are desperate for leadership to start us on that journey to fossil fuel independence. It just means its not going to help that much with our current Middle East problem).

For an itty bitty fraction of what we are spending on Iraq we could have lured top scientists into making hybrid technology as good and cheap as Japans. If average gas milage for passenger cars was 40 mpg (like the new Toyota Sienna van will be), by the time we turned over the cars on the road (15 years, maybe 10 if tax incentives are transferred from the rich to the middle class for buying the new cars)we would cut ME imports 80%. If we just recycled all our recyclable paper it would cut ME oil imports almost 40%. The 50 Billion water bottles going into our landfills took a shitload of oil to produce. Weaning ourselves off ME oil could really be as simple as alternate fuel technology in cars, putting recycling bins next to all trash cans, public education campaigns about keeping tires properly inflated, and simply asking Americans to reconsider how much plastic they really need the stuff they buy packaged in.

How would this have really helped? Because we could have used it as a "big stick". "See, we don't need you anymore. If you don't do something to control your terrorists you'll lose our oil business." Where do you think the money that pays for terrorism comes from? It comes from thickly padded pockets inside the ME. And it will continue to do so as long as they can get away with it.

Re: hydrogen cells. Under current technology it is too inefficient to recover hydrogen from water. The cheapest and easiest way to recover hydrogen is... from hydrocarbons. Did you think it was a coincidence that the Bush dynasty decided to hype the technology that would keep us dependent on oil? There are pollution benefits from hydrogen cell cars compared to hybrids, but don't be fooled by the president choosing to pair hydrogen in his talks about oil reduction. Look where he got pairing Iraq and 9-11 in the same sentence.

And the topic of the day, the cost of war. Has it been worth bankrupting our country to chase WMD that weren't there, alarm Iran and N Korea into accelerating their nuclear programs, depleting our military reserves, and showing the limits of our military power? NO.

We made the bed we're lying in with Iran right now. We are screwed no matter what we do. World War III could well get torched off here. China will not support the US here. The rest of the world is pissed off at us for boxing Iran into a corner this way. Impeachment couldn't come one day too soon for me.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | March 9, 2006 03:35 PM

Impeachment over Iraq is just another liberal wet dream..just like Plame, just like NSA electronic surveillance, just like Katrina, just like....well you get the picture. It really has to be frustrating to be a lefty these days...furiously whacking off at each "WE GOT HIM NOW!!!" moment only to end up in the end with a little tingle and a blister.

Posted by: la Chupacabra | March 9, 2006 03:42 PM

"Wiccan,

Is there an internet link for "Don't Get Fooled Again" march on DC?"

Jamal-

Unfortunately this march exists only in my fevered imagination, and I readily confess I have not the expertise to organize it. I thought of talking to move-on.org, but those folks are just a little too strange for me. But the thought of the effect that thousands of "Raise Taxes Now" signs would have on the Bush Administration just delights my heart.

"Oooohhhh another march on DC! Hurray! Will there be giant paper machete puppets and hairy-legged vegans in sandals?

Posted by: | Mar 9, 2006 2:41:53 PM"

Sure, honey, come on down. You'll fit right in.

Posted by: wiccan | March 9, 2006 04:20 PM

I shall eat your young,

dear cliche ridden spin doctors, I appreciate your flaccid attempts but:


I would suggest that you start thinking of your redneck friends that don't have jobs and ask them to tone it down with the outsourcing as a start to making America a better place to live...


and I'd have the President arrested for perpatration of fraud when it came to "war" when in fact we're in an occupation to control scrarce resources that his family is invested in....


they're not invested in having the United States become less OIL DEPENDENT....are they?

your leaders?

will sell anything that isn't nailed down...


without giving the citizens of the United States honest and fair representation...if they can't steal the towels, they don't want to check in....they're part of the visit right, they're paid for....corruption is just part of the congressional life...


comeon...give me a break...


a high school student could tell you what happens if you don't work with the ecology of a system.....everything breaks...


and el presidente'


let's just say, he don't understand what a control loop is or how to use feedback to correct an out of control situation....


and dat's alright...


you just hold onto your corndogs pedro...


you'll need it.

Posted by: dear effete neocon spore babies....parasites of deceit...feel my truth... | March 9, 2006 04:31 PM

Chris Ford-

I cannot disagree about domestic over spending because it is apparent. I wouldn't call education or medicare "wasteful" spending because I think it represents an actual benefit to actual people, but we are certainly paying outside our means and anyone who thinks that the education, age-insurance, or medicare subsidies system we have is the one we deserve is welcome to fit the bill.

The fact is, we shouldn't even have a discussion about what programs need to be cut and which ones we need to keep, or about which taxes are too high and which too low, until we actually generate enough revenues through taxation to pay for the programs we have.

That hasn't happened and it represents a failure on both ends of the debate. While the left insists that "Cuts are bad bad bad!" they ignore that no reasonable tax increase could accomodate the kinds of programs they are so willing to let their children pay for. And the status quo is half a trillion in deficits a year. So how does the left propose we pay for the Government Programs they refuse to cut? Lottery tickets?

All the while the right clings desperately to its mindless tax cut mentality through wars, recessions, and economic growth never once questioning that at some point those cuts have to stop. Yet for all their heavy talk of "Cut spending cut spending!" the deficit is so incredibly out of control that spending cuts alone cannot possibly do the job. If you want to look sincere about balancing the budget at least be consistent. At least stop the cuts.

And we are stuck, politically, cutting taxes AND refusing to cut spending because the former is the political platform of the pary-in-power and the latter costs too much political capital to pass with any muster in Congress. Out of one side of his mouth the President insists that we need to cut Medicare while out the other he demands Congress extend his tax cuts. And Congress is all too willing to play in this two-faced charade they call Good Government.

When Congress debates a spending cut or taxing cut bill they should be forced to either/or it for the American public so that we can make a decision for ourselves. For every 30 billion in Medicare cuts they should propose a 30 billion increase in projected revenues through income taxes (or corporate taxes or removal of farm subsidies etc.) and let the American people choose. Do you want to pay 1% more on your tax return or do you want to be insured? Because you can't have both. And if you want to cut tax revenues by 70 billion over 9 years you should be forced to attach 70 billion in spending cuts with it. Because with a 500 billion annual deficit you can't have both.

Why, replies our short-sighted representatives, we won't have to pay for it, we'll be dead!

Well I won't.

Posted by: Will | March 9, 2006 04:39 PM

have you ever engineered anything besides the media?


what a bunch of clueless, useless supposedly conservative people...

engineers work with what is "most efficient"


if we're going to run out of oil soon, then act like it....


what effin sense does it make to control a dwindling resource when there _are_ alternatives...


I know, I saw a television shown on alternatives that showed a VW running on used fryer oil, on the highway...


'course that's not everything but:


having cities that are safe and livable.

having commuter systems, and making gasoline expensive enough that people carpooled, and requiring companies to start investing in telecommuters...


we don't need a WWIII to change our systems we need some people that are willing to intervene economically...


not with your staid: IS IT WAR OR NOT

everything looks like a screw when all you've ever used is a screwdriver approach...


engineers: always say what is the solution that is presenting itself to this problem, that is the most efficient


NOTE: our citizens are making less per person, our infrastructure is decayed, and we are making no real effort to move away from oil dependence and the congresses and the administrations response is to acquire more resources by _occupation_


that's not even necessary.

if you're really conservative, then embrace the least costly solution you paththetic ho's....


suck my expansion sweeties..

Posted by: do you have any idea how to change things? | March 9, 2006 04:42 PM

http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/

Dubai investment firm also owns Navy ship services contractor. ...Dubai-owned firm eyes U.S. Navy Mediterranean service contract

[http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/thedebate/2006/03/is_it_civil_war.html#comments]

Posted by: che [cropped by Emily] | March 9, 2006 04:51 PM

your corporations have been selling gas guzzling...


LARGE SUV's to city dwellers as if they were sex aides...


I mean what do all the CSI, FBI, Agents drive...besides HUMMERS....


is that necessary?

if we have an oil crisis, engineer the correct response...


don't let the corporations drive it!!!!

think about it:

in the United States the largest purchases that are made for any family that are not realestate are vehicles....

probably 1 to 2 to 3 cars per family, new ones bought every 6 years minimum.


but we really don't have a thriving domestic vehicle market, for American made vehicles...


because the corporations are bottom_line 30-60 days out....


they decided in the 70's not to compete with the Japanese...didn't retool, didn't do anything to make things different except Chrysler...


and we, as Americans, lost a lot of money, jobs, pension, benefits and other things as well as supporting industries...


you want to let corporations run your country? thru this stupid ass president? do corporations care about your families or their future, apparently not...


all your jobs are overseas, and juan is taking away the service sector and day-labor jobs....


and that's all right with Geo. W. and Geo H.W. 'cause they don't mind paying someone 5 bucks for what you'd charge 12 for...


get it through your head!!!!!!!!!!!


this isn't about being a pansy

or being a man


those are rhetorical tools to manipulate,

this is about seeing a job that needs done and making sure that it gets done

it's a project, it is plannable, and it makes sense or it doesn't


it's got jack shit to do with war.


it's got a whole hell of a lot to do with money....


and two kinds of thinking: short term profit driven

or


long term: profit driven, benefits driven, good life driven, safety driven and


kick-the-shit-out-of-liars driven.

you can have a long war, or a good life

what do you want?


are you so pathetic that when the media manipulators say,

"you're not men if you don't want war!"

that you get defensive?


tear them a new asshole by ignoring their plaintive wails as you change the direction and make it a better world for everyone by taking care of business at home first...


thank you and good night.

Posted by: please note... | March 9, 2006 04:59 PM

Liberals will never understand that competence is not important, control is.

Liberals will never understand that the middle class will sell their children's future to buy an SUV with their new tax cuts.

Liberals will never understand that fear is the greatest, most powerful political tool.

Liberals will never understand that war is a game.

Liberals will never win an important election due to their steadfast refusal to understand these simple truths 51% of the American electorate and the GOP hold self-evident.

Posted by: W | March 9, 2006 05:11 PM

There are 4 costs that bother me.

1- our national credibity - we attacked a country that did not attack us, and posed no real threat.

2- our soldiers - we have forced the sacrifice of war on a very small number of very loyal citizens - repeated tours in combat zones creates social carnage among these troops and their families
3- economic - we dump all of the monetary cost on future taxpayers - while the richest among us enjoy historically low tax bills

4- opportunity - we could have used that money, those citizen soldiers to so many other productive purposes

Chris F is right - won't avoid needing oil, but it's not an either/or thing about energy - we have to do everything we can to move to fuels that don't pollute so much, aren't quite so limited, and are not controlled by nut-case despots and anti-western governments - for so many self-evident reasons

we can enjoy a great life, and use less energy, and a smart mix of energy sources than we now do in the US

Mr Bush and Mr Cheney have provided exactly the wrong leadership on these issues - i hold them in contempt for how they have mismanaged our national interest

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | March 9, 2006 06:14 PM

W

I found your remarks fascinating. I originally suspected you of plagarism, but I don't really think its deliberate. Its just that when two people espouse the same philosophy sometimes their rhetoric can sound similar. But I do think the other guy said it even better than you. Read his words and get back to me if you agree. (This is a report of an interview)

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.
"Why, of course, the people don't want war," [he] shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America... That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Posted by: what is the meaning of democracy | March 9, 2006 06:47 PM

"Oooohhhh another march on DC! Hurray! Will there be giant paper machete puppets and hairy-legged vegans in sandals?"

Please choose another city. We citizens of Washington, DC, are tired of hairy-legged girls coming here and trashing up the place. We cant even complain to our congressmen because we really have none. So please respect our second-class American plea for go to Baltimore instead.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 9, 2006 07:07 PM

that was beneath you johnny

Posted by: | March 9, 2006 07:16 PM

You only think of the cost of this war in dollars and cents. What about parents, like my wife and myself, whose youngest son joined the Army - was fliflammed into it you might say. He was recruited as a nursing major while at college with promises of the Army needing trama nurses, promises of their completing his training. The, of course, made him a combat medic. His mpother and I complained and he was shipped off to serve on the front lines in Ramadi. We complained more, wrote lkeeters to newspapers, and to our Congressman - he was posted, as an ARMY MEDIC, to a forward Marine base, under Marine command. Now, he gets to go out on patrol with Marines, sticking out like a sore thumb dressed in his Army uniform. The Washington Post (of course!) is well aware of this, even has contacts with the COngressman, but cannot bring themselves to cross the Bush Whitehouse because those peope have a funny way of punishing anyone critical of them. So the real cost of this war is your right to speak up when you see wrong, the cost is nightmares and fear for your child because yoy thought you were dealing with a moral government, the cost is a government that would my son LITERALLY as a hostage, the cost is lies and deceit and the end of this country.

Posted by: Mike Brooks | March 9, 2006 07:21 PM

he, he I've seen my share of them, from the Veitnam, may-day-shut-down-the-govenment, million man, million women, anti-abortion, anti-globalization, and anit-many other things protests. The only good ones were the Vietnam ones, when the gals got naked in the reflecting pool. They were some pretty good-looking ones.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 9, 2006 07:26 PM

Ya see, I prefer succinctity. Bullets on a page. The American People understand ya need t'keep it plain and simple. Guess that's another thing librals will never understand.

Oh yeah, I typo earlier. Meant to say:

Liberals will never understand that the middle class will sell their children's future to LEASE an SUV with their new tax cuts. Heh, heh.

Posted by: W | March 9, 2006 07:28 PM

I would guess that the 250k security men add a lot to this 250 billion total...

250k security guards earning $250,000 each for 4 years would do it.

Posted by: mike | March 9, 2006 07:52 PM

So, W, in other words, you've improved on Goering. Another case of the teacher surpassing the student, I guess.

ANyone else who wants to read the words of W's mentor Hermann Goering at Nuremburg can start here:
http://www.snopes.com/quotes/goering.htm

Posted by: what is the meaning of democracy | March 9, 2006 08:59 PM

uh, I think W was tongue in cheek

Posted by: patriot 1957 | March 9, 2006 09:00 PM

We'll be serving roast congresspeople on toast, with creame sauce....


*hit on a shingle...I believe is what the British call it...

Posted by: I'll be marching my hairy legs down M street for you to be in awe of... | March 9, 2006 09:42 PM

$250B sounds like a lot of money for Iraq huh.

But since the fall of 02, we have spent well over twice that for interest on our federal debt. Need a link? cbo.gov.

And that is only the net interest. It does not count the interest on our borrowing from the social security trust fund, over $150B per year (if we every pay it). Well over $1 trillion total just for interest, and over $1 trillion in new US debt issues in the last three years. The interest on just that new debt is $40 billion per year, forever.

And interest rates were at a historic low. Watch them rise from here. They are selling long bonds again now, at twice the rate they were paying for short-term issues two years ago. And they have refinanced some of the old debt into short-term issues. Those rates will be going up. They will extend the debt ceiling above $8 trillion in the next week or so: watch for it.

Iraq is small potatoes in our overall financial picture. But nothing will bring back the dead or heal the broken bodies and minds, and we will never regain our nation's moral standing.

Posted by: liberal shmiberal | March 9, 2006 09:51 PM

once you tell the rube what the tricks are they can help themselves...

the fisherman analogy works with "giving the rube eyes that see,"

I'm surprised at the infantile level of rhetoric that passes for logic both within the media, in conversation and on the web..


appeal to emotion is the most sophomoric kind of tool, and yet it's used in almost every one of the

us vs them conversations


as a given

and although this blog is called "the debate"

no one moderates or discusses false logic, or fallicious reasoning...

even in a high school debate, appeal to emotion would be eliminated immediately...


and yet on the O'Reilly Factor, that's his whole toolkit...


that and fallicious reasoning and no one has pointed this out....they guy can't debate, your president is a liar and dick gets his way by intimidation, not by logic...


that's amazing...


and the media, who are trained in how to use language just sit by like

a bunch of clueless nitwits and let it happen...


you can even say, the president defended his position last night with sophomoric "appeal to emotion"

say it once, and it's over, where's you cajones kids?

try it, just tell the truth, it will destroy the dragons of deception...

it's real simple, practice.

Posted by: the point is this.... | March 9, 2006 09:53 PM

we're overextended and looking

"away from the problem"


the citizenship of the United States is not being included in planning for the future....


just the wealthy....

I mean, in 14th Century France the King lived in splendor, a hundred yards away the sqallor existed to support that splendor and the king go come and go and command whatever they wanted to have happen happen and it would...


sounds sort of like our King Geo. doesn't it?


well, I wasn't raised to have a King in charge.....


that is the reason there's a clause in the Bill of Rights for the right to bear arms...


I think, if our redneck brothers really understood how they've in served by the Republicans they might find use for those AK-47's, mortars, streetsweepers, British 308's and whatever else they have hanging in their basements....


that's the button I'd be pushing.


you won't need a peace march on Washington.

Posted by: whatever.... | March 9, 2006 10:00 PM

pedestrians wear shoes in order not to get doo doo between their toes...


pedestrians like to stick their shoes in congress-peoples behinds...

Posted by: I think you're confusing the word liberal with pedestrian... | March 9, 2006 10:05 PM

>>>"the $45 billion in "bridge funding" which refers not to actual bridges but to funds that bridge the gap between appropriations (otherwise, we'd have a heck of a lot of bridges to build.)"

We would be much better off if the money was spent for the heck of a lot of bridges.

Posted by: George Buddy | March 9, 2006 10:23 PM

Emily,

Please...I'm begging you!!!Take a dump!!!!!!!

Posted by: The Lonemule | March 9, 2006 11:07 PM

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC he, he I've seen my share of them, from the Veitnam, may-day-shut-down-the-govenment, million man, million women, anti-abortion, anti-globalization, and anit-many other things protests. The only good ones were the Vietnam ones, when the gals got naked in the reflecting pool. They were some pretty good-looking ones.

Seen? Sounds like you were taking part.

Posted by: Jamal | March 9, 2006 11:45 PM

Brazil is ahead of most of the world in future non-petroleum technology, maybe Bush should have invaded Brazil? Known world oil reserves are going to run out in 50 years, gone, no more.......... And as it starts to run out look for shortages, inflation, stagflation....... What about the global economy that's fueled by petroleum, will it expire in 50 years? As Middle Eastern Oil begins to decline, many of those countries are going to want nuclear technology; Iran is the first of many.

The following article on Oil reserves and Depletion of Oil reserves is ominous. I highly recommend it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves

"It has been estimated that there is a total of 2,390 billion barrels (380 km³) of crude oil on Earth, of which about 70% has been used so far. The World Energy Resources Program of the United States Geological Survey produces the official estimates of the world oil resources for the U.S. Federal Government. They estimate the remaining world oil reserves are about 1,000 billion barrels, and current estimates place the exhaustion of the remaining known reserves within the next 50 years. Other estimates of undiscovered reserves range widely from 275 to 1,469 billion barrels (44 to 234 km³). (It should be noted that one barrel equals 42 US gallons, or 158.97 litres.) The Middle East has about 50% of the known remaining world oil reserve. The USGS estimates the total reserves are about three times the known amount."

I'm not a world economist, but looking at the facts on energy derived from oil; 50 to 100 years from now and with world population continuing to expand, I don't think globalization is going to be the future of the world if the present trends continue.

http://www.prb.org/Content/NavigationMenu/PRB/Educators/Human_Population/Population_Growth/Population_Growth.htm

Posted by: Jamal | March 9, 2006 11:52 PM

Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota has just complained that the Republican plan would increase U.S. debt by more than $600 billion annually for the next five years.

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 12:30 AM

This congress never ceases to amaze me. IOUs for retirement funds don't solve budget deficits

The federal government is borrowing money from retirement funds to avoid exceeding the $8.2 trillion ceiling on the national debt. Treasury Secretary John Snow told Congress he would dip into these Funds.

The federal government plays fast and reckless with our money in ways that private individuals and companies, and even state governments, can't get away with.

Posted by: mm | March 10, 2006 12:35 AM

Patriot 1957 wrote, "America uses less than 5% oil to produce electricity and heat. Almost half our oil use is in transportation and almost half in manufacture of synthetics, mostly plastic."

Wow! No wonder I've been seeing so many commercials on TV lately about PLASTIC! I thought it was kind of strange that they'd have commericials touting it!

Posted by: js | March 10, 2006 12:45 AM

I get a big kick out of how republicans keep blaming 'entitlements' as being the biggest problem with our debt.

I tend to view a lot of tax cuts, especially for the upper 3% of the population as "entitlements".

People with lots of money tend to not pay as much in taxes. They can afford fancy lawyers and have tax shelters, etc.

It's the lower and middle classes that will be paying for it in the future.

Posted by: no name | March 10, 2006 12:57 AM

I think the left would be more open to program cuts if they were actually done fairly. The problem is the republicans want to cut social programs, yet also keep all their perks & tax breaks at the same time. It's always 'profits over people' for them.

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 01:06 AM

It might be a wise idea to go back to the "pay-go" law that Clinton used. No wonder we had a surplus when he left office. It was smart and responsible and didn't drag our country into the quadmire it is now.

Posted by: mark | March 10, 2006 01:10 AM

to provide it would be a good idea.


what rights should citizens have?


life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness


jobs at a good rate with benefits?


an ecologically sound energy system?


honesty from elected officials, and we get to attach their property if they get caught looting? I think so.


but about education, what good is an education if there are no jobs and no improving futures? education doesn't mean anything if no ones' highering, 'cause India's cheaper...


the future is rooted in NOW...


it's too late to change a dismal future when you're looking up from serf level..

Posted by: allowing yourselves to think clearly about what you need and then to ask your elected leaders... | March 10, 2006 01:29 AM

there is something to be said for a hardened, but sensitive person that is willing to do what it takes for his people...


Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin, people who were effective as well as thinkers...


I love having the ability to go walking in woods, kayaking, trout fishing.


I want it to continue, I want it to be easy...I don't want to wade through people and garbage or have to be a millionaire to enjoy it....

what happened to environment issues?

we're dealing with "trying to stay alive, barely making it issues," outside of DC.

see yah.

Posted by: actually to W... | March 10, 2006 01:35 AM

New revenue folks....will cover Iraq cost to date in 3 years!!!


A Business Plan in the National Interest.


OBJECTIVE

This plan has two objectives:

A..... Since the end of the cold war we have tasked ourselves with the role of playing bully policeman to the world in one form or another. This has led us to our current condition of being widely unpopular for both exercising and failing to exercise our powers in this role. A particularly onerous duty we have assigned to ourselves is Chief Enforcement Officer for the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty that is fraught with defects and to which we ourselves do not subscribe in good faith. One objective of this plan is to relieve us of this role that has proven to be both very costly to our treasure, costly in terms of lives, extremely difficult to perform, and very damaging to our reputation and relationships.

B..... Our government, having become profligate beyond reason, continues to charge generations to come with the costs of wielding our expensive military power rather indiscriminately around the world. Having already invested trillions of dollars in this institution, particularly the Strategic Nuclear Force Component, the second objective of this plan is to offset some of its cost by using it to insure other nations against particular nuclear threats in exchange for cash premiums.


PROPOSAL

Currently, the nations that we know have nuclear weapons include the permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Great Britain, Russia, and the USA), India, and Pakistan. Israel also has them beyond a reasonable doubt. North Korea may have them and has claimed to have them. In addition, there are a number of countries with the financial resources and/or technical/industrial resources to develop nuclear weapons should they find it in their national interest to do so.

The US and Russia developed vast tactical and strategic nuclear weapons during the Cold War which have since been substantially scaled back, but even so, far outstrip those of any other nation. Both of us remain uniquely capable of delivering these weapons to practically any point on the globe by cruise or ballistic missile, by airborne bomber, or by submarine launched ballistic missile. In time, it is likely that China will develop their nuclear weapons and delivery systems for those weapons that will approach our capabilities. It is not currently foreseeable that any other nation will.

We are particularly blessed by our geographical position on this Globe. We are beyond the reach of an effective land based missile attack by any nation other than Russia and will likely remain this way so long as the North and South American continents remain nuclear free, except for ourselves. No nation, other than Russia, can currently threaten our viability as a nation by a nuclear attack.

The 40-year Cold War remained cold throughout because the Russians and we developed sufficient offensive power to provide Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). This doctrine was based on the mutual certain knowledge that if either attacked the other, both would certainly be destroyed. This doctrine also implicitly assumes that nations do not willingly commit suicide, and neither of us did. While we no longer consider each other enemies, we still retain sufficient forces that MAD continues to prevail between us.

In an effort to curb the further spread of nuclear weapons in the world, recognizing the legitimate need for the spread of peaceful nuclear technology, the Non-Proliferation Treaty was developed under UN auspices which conditioned the spread of nuclear technology to an outside ongoing inspection regime by a UN sponsored agency the IAEA and an agreement not to research or develop nuclear weapons. Despite this treaty we have to date seen nuclear weapons developed in four 4 additional countries, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. In addition, Iraq and Libya have had programs which were interrupted, one peacefully and the other by two wars. The treaty has not been very effective in its primary purpose and cannot be so long as there remains such a huge power incentive to acquiring nuclear weapons capability.

What drives a nation to acquire nuclear weapons is one of two things. It may be for the purpose of dominating non-nuclear neighbors. It may be to defend against nuclear neighbors. Israel acquired them to defend against far larger opposing nations. India developed them ostensibly to defend against the Chinese nuclear threat. Pakistan developed them to defend against the Indian nuclear threat. Iran has reason to develop them against both the Israeli and Pakistani nuclear threat. So long as nuclear weapons are an offensive threat to neighboring countries, these countries are inevitably driven by their national interests to develop nuclear weapons for defensive purposes. Thus proliferation drives more proliferation.

What every nation wants is security from nuclear attack by its neighbors. Currently the only means of acquiring that security from nations already equipped with nuclear weapons is to develop nuclear weapons for themselves. We are in a unique position to offer an alternative in the form of an insurance policy.

For any nation that wished to pay the premium, we would offer to them the security provided by the Assured Destruction (AD) of the nation that attacked the insured with a nuclear weapon, excepting only the other permanent members of the Security Council as presently constituted. In other words we would annihilate any nation (other than China, France, Brits, and Russia) that used a nuclear weapon on them. This would be conditioned that the insured nation was not attacking by any military means the nation launching the nuclear weapon. We are not going to wipe out a nation just defending itself from the insured.

In addition, we would also extend that security to the Assured Destruction (AD) of any nation (excepting SC permanent members) which was found to be the source of a nuclear weapon provided to others who used it against the insured nation. Thus, any nation that chooses to develop nuclear weapons had best keep a very very tight control of them.

The premium would be 1% of the annual GNP of the insured country, paid quarterly in ¼% payments. The potential market for this insurance, especially if Iran develops nuclear weapons, is in the neighborhood of 13 trillion dollars of GNP. Thus it would not be unreasonable to expect something in the neighborhood of 80-100 billion a year in premiums which would more than offset the annual costs of our Strategic Nuclear Forces, reduce our current accounts deficit by that much and reduce our fiscal deficit by that much. It doesn't cover the whole deficit but it ain't exactly chicken feed either. It would pay for the current cost of the Iraq war in about 3 years.

In addition, this would make it unnecessary to go to war with Iran to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons, and, if we use Iraq as our guide, that saves us the 200-300 billion we would otherwise spend trying to enforce the unenforceable. Indeed, We might even want to encourage Iran on its path towards nuclear weapons, as that would encourage the European market to buy our insurance.

The availability of this insurance would have a distinct effect on any nations decision to develop nuclear weapons. If the nations intent is to brandish them at their neighbors, it has to be seen that this is something those neighbors could insure against, and to use them against an insured nation would be national suicide. If a nation is seeking to develop them to defend against a nuclear-armed neighbor, they have to trade off the cost of that versus the cost of the insurance, and developing nuclear weapons is by no means a cheap alternative. Consequently it is healthy in all ways; it tends to remove the offensive utility of nuclear weapons and provides a non-nuclear means of defending against them.

We should not discriminate in the market. We should be happy to sell such an insurance policy to any nation that wants it, whatever form of government is in power. Indeed, Iran, looking at Israel on one side and Pakistan on the other might well prefer an insurance policy from us rather than go through the expense and effort of developing their own nuclear weapons.

There do still remain a few countries that might wish to develop nuclear weapons for the same reason Israel did; i.e. any country that faces the possibility of being overwhelmed by the conventional forces of a neighbor. This we would not insure against, would not be covered. For this they would actually need defensive nuclear weapons or some adequate alliance.

This would go a long way towards changing our role in this world. Instead of being seen as a force for instability by pressuring and intervening in other states, we become a neutral force for stability, offering limited but essential security evenhandedly to all. Instead of losing money eternally, we actually make some for a change.

Since the end of the Cold War the United States has been struggling with the problem of finding and developing a coherent foreign policy, to bring some real meaning to the phrase "New World Order" that would both serve our National Interest and bring Comfort to the World, to find a place and a role for ourselves as the de facto and singular "Great Power" in a unipolar world.

Under the first Bush Administration we began this quest by intervening by ourselves to take down the Dictador Manuel Noriega, a Panamanian wannabe drug trafficker who had the temerity to get under our skin. I suppose you could call it a forced extradition of the Head of State of another country. Fortunately, the guy wasn't very popular anywhere so the political price we paid was relatively miniscule.

We continued this quest with a Bang, a Great Victory in a Great Cause. Saddam Hussein, our erstwhile friend and bulwark against Iranian expansionism, had the temerity to invade our friends in Kuwait and threaten our even more important friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The world's Oil Supply was at stake and this could not Stand. We marshaled the support of the UN; we marshaled a Great Coalition on behalf of all right thinking nations. We cut a deal with them to cover the costs. We threw the bastard our of Kuwait so fast it was almost disappointing; Victory came so quickly we were not even prepared for it. The World was Shocked, Awed, and Pleased. Alas, Saddam was none of these and lived on to patiently find his victory out of his defeat, while we had to leave enough forces in the area to keep him in his cage and make ourselves unpopular once again.

We did not intervene in the breakup of the old Yugoslavia as the Balkan Peoples returned to their ancient bloody roots and began slaughtering each other once again. First the Serbs and the Slovenes, the Croatians, then the Muslims in Bosnia. Being as this was in the Europeans back yard, we left it to them and the UN to sort out, which they didn't.

We did launch a humanitarian mission under military protection to Somalia where vast numbers of people were starving to death as war lords warred on one another with machine guns mounted on jeeps and pickups driven by drugged up teenagers.

Under the Clinton administration our Somali humanitarian mission morphed into a UN nation-building mission more in keeping with Democratic social norms of social justice. This gave the UN some enforcement tools to play with and they immediately put these to work chasing War Lords down through the streets of Mogadishu, which made our forces there quite unpopular. Ultimately, the other side baited a trap, caught a few too many of ours, dragged their bodies through the streets and we got the hell out of there in a hurry so Somalia could go back to normal, i.e. killing each other instead of us. They did.

Slick Willie was not all that interested in foreign policy having made his case on domestic matters and being hampered by his record of dodging the draft. But with the Europeans and the UN haplessly fluttering their wings and bleating incoherently while the Bosnian Serbs slaughtered and cleansed Bosnia of its minorities on the world's TV screens until it finally became a domestic US humanitarian issue, we finally intervened through NATO. It didn't take long to bring the Serbs to heel and impose a settlement at Dayton Ohio. More than 10 years have passed and we are still imposing in Bosnia. After a relatively brief pause, it broke into the open once again as the Serbs decided to cleanse Kosovo of its Muslims. Once more the vehicle of choice is NATO (together with strange bed-fellow Russia) and again it doesn't take too long, although long enough to take out the Chinese Embassy as collateral damage. In any case, after seven years or so, we are still there.

We took a pass on the Rwandan affair. This was a largely internal matter between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. The long suffering Hutu's just went nuts and started slaughtering Tutsi's by the 10's of thousands, mostly using machetes, while the rest of the world pretended not to see. The UN sort of intervened once the Hutu had largely spent themselves and the Tutsi's had gotten organized and were about to exact some real revenge. We were, of course, horrified, and if only we had known....

The major foreign policy challenge to Clinton was the discovery that North Korea was working towards developing fissile material for THE BOMB. Thus we had our first RNK nuclear crisis brought to a confrontation, only to be ultimately defused by EX-Prez Carter sticking his nose into the matter, and that led to a quid pro quo agreement, which turned out to be unexpectedly temporary a few years later after Clinton's time.

Apart from that, we intervened in Haiti (Carter sticking his nose in again to keep it peaceful) and restored Aristede to power, and periodically bombed Iraq to keep Saddam in his box whenever he got too uppity. Osama Bin Laden emerged from the shadows over the years with the first World Trade Center bombing, Khobar Towers, the Cole, the Embassies in Africa, etc. We took a pot shot at him with cruise missiles in Afghanistan and did a lot of police work that finally caught up with the architect of the first WTC try.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 10, 2006 04:44 AM

In addition to the $250B incurred but not yet recognized, there are other multi-billion dollar burdens, such as replacement of worn-out equipment, transport of equipment and personnel home, and compensation for combat disabled.

Posted by: On the plantation | March 10, 2006 07:00 AM

Cayambe:
"For any nation that wished to pay the premium, we would offer to them the security provided by the Assured Destruction (AD) of the nation that attacked the insured with a nuclear weapon, excepting only the other permanent members of the Security Council as presently constituted. In other words we would annihilate any nation (other than China, France, Brits, and Russia) that used a nuclear weapon on them. This would be conditioned that the insured nation was not attacking by any military means the nation launching the nuclear weapon. We are not going to wipe out a nation just defending itself from the insured."

Now were talking business! I like this idea. We would be like the Global Godfather. So who would be the competing party?

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 10, 2006 09:13 AM

You see, the real hero in the novel "Catch-22" was not Orr or Yosarian, it was Milo Minderbinder of M&M Enterprises.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 10, 2006 09:21 AM

Posted by: Cayambe

"The premium would be 1% of the annual GNP of the insured country, paid quarterly in ¼% payments. The potential market for this insurance, especially if Iran develops nuclear weapons, is in the neighborhood of 13 trillion dollars of GNP. Thus it would not be unreasonable to expect something in the neighborhood of 80-100 billion a year in premiums which would more than offset the annual costs of our Strategic Nuclear Forces, reduce our current accounts deficit by that much and reduce our fiscal deficit by that much. It doesn't cover the whole deficit but it ain't exactly chicken feed either. It would pay for the current cost of the Iraq war in about 3 years."

You call it insurance; I call it being mercenaries, hired guns to the highest bidder, whether our client is right or wrong. And of course you omit that any action taken by us will cause retaliatory action on our country. And what if the country we attack for our client has mutual aggression treaties with other countries? Or Russia gets in the insurance game as the protector of the county we're attacking? Looks like a formula for WWIII.

"In addition, this would make it unnecessary to go to war with Iran to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons, and, if we use Iraq as our guide, that saves us the 200-300 billion we would otherwise spend trying to enforce the unenforceable. Indeed, We might even want to encourage Iran on its path towards nuclear weapons, as that would encourage the European market to buy our insurance."

Iran with a greater population, more heavily armed, and more difficult terrain would be many times more expensive to invade than Iraq. A sobering thought right now.

"We continued this quest with a Bang, a Great Victory in a Great Cause. Saddam Hussein, our erstwhile friend and bulwark against Iranian expansionism, had the temerity to invade our friends in Kuwait and threaten our even more important friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The world's Oil Supply was at stake and this could not Stand. We marshaled the support of the UN; we marshaled a Great Coalition on behalf of all right thinking nations. We cut a deal with them to cover the costs. We threw the bastard our of Kuwait so fast it was almost disappointing; Victory came so quickly we were not even prepared for it. The World was Shocked, Awed, and Pleased. Alas, Saddam was none of these and lived on to patiently find his victory out of his defeat, while we had to leave enough forces in the area to keep him in his cage and make ourselves unpopular once again."

Explain Iranian expansionism? I don't recall them ever expanding, it was Iraq doing the expanding, where were the Iranians expanding to, LOL? And if Iran was expanding, it was wise to leave Sadam in "his cage" to keep Iran in check, make Sadam a chained killer guard dog over Iran. The guard dog stratagy is much more cheaper than Bush's War. Bush wanted to prove how America can fight, but only proved how vulnerable we can be.

"Under the Clinton administration our Somali humanitarian mission morphed into a UN nation-building mission more in keeping with Democratic social norms of social justice. This gave the UN some enforcement tools to play with and they immediately put these to work chasing War Lords down through the streets of Mogadishu, which made our forces there quite unpopular. Ultimately, the other side baited a trap, caught a few too many of ours, dragged their bodies through the streets and we got the hell out of there in a hurry so Somalia could go back to normal, i.e. killing each other instead of us. They did."

Tell me about Reagan's Lebanon campaign and the Marine bunker bombing. When Reagan "cut and ran" to let the Syrians move in and occupy.

"Slick Willie was not all that interested in foreign policy having made his case on domestic matters and being hampered by his record of dodging the draft. But with the Europeans and the UN haplessly fluttering their wings and bleating incoherently while the Bosnian Serbs slaughtered and cleansed Bosnia of its minorities on the world's TV screens until it finally became a domestic US humanitarian issue, we finally intervened through NATO. It didn't take long to bring the Serbs to heel and impose a settlement at Dayton Ohio. More than 10 years have passed and we are still imposing in Bosnia. After a relatively brief pause, it broke into the open once again as the Serbs decided to cleanse Kosovo of its Muslims. Once more the vehicle of choice is NATO (together with strange bed-fellow Russia) and again it doesn't take too long, although long enough to take out the Chinese Embassy as collateral damage. In any case, after seven years or so, we are still there."

LOL, calling Bill Clinton a draft dodger, who never dodged the draft and leaving out the three chicken hawks Bush (three deferments), Cheney (five deferments), and Rove (one deferment) out? This must mean the current administration is nine times as much draft dodger as Clintons. Oh, and let us not forget the Rummy chicken hawk. Cayambe, you stepped in this time!

"For any nation that wished to pay the premium, we would offer to them the security provided by the Assured Destruction (AD) of the nation that attacked the insured with a nuclear weapon, excepting only the other permanent members of the Security Council as presently constituted. In other words we would annihilate any nation (other than China, France, Brits, and Russia) that used a nuclear weapon on them. This would be conditioned that the insured nation was not attacking by any military means the nation launching the nuclear weapon. We are not going to wipe out a nation just defending itself from the insured."

And "China, France, Brits, and Russia", as well as the rest of the world, are going to stand by while we rain down nuclear fall out on them?

Either your comment is meant as humor or you losing it.

Posted by: Jamal | March 10, 2006 10:13 AM

Bush Touts Grants to Religious Charities

By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 10, 2006; Page A05

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/09/AR2006030900248.html?referrer=email&referrer=email

"President Bush said yesterday that the federal government gave more than $2.1 billion in grants to religious charities last year -- a 7 percent increase from the prior year and proof, he said, that his administration has made it easier for faith-based groups to obtain taxpayer funds."

Just a general question to throw out there for comment. Isn't the federal government granting federal tax payer obtained funds to faith-based groups a violation of the constitution? It's obviously caterting to the religious right at tax payers expense.

Posted by: Jamal | March 10, 2006 10:47 AM

I'll go one step further Jamal. The federal government should not allow any religious organizations any tax breaks.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 10, 2006 10:54 AM

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC

"I'll go one step further Jamal. The federal government should not allow any religious organizations any tax breaks."

Good point, I agree!

Posted by: Jamal | March 10, 2006 11:00 AM

Folks, we are victims to an unserviceable economic theory that holds that low taxes, deregulation and limited government will free up the business and investment classesto make the necessary investments to stimulate economic growth, creating more government revenues as a result of increased jobs.

But, look at what is happening. Where is all of this investment going? And, if tax revenues are actually increasing, why is the deficit increasing as well? And, if the conservatives are actually cutting spending, where are they cutting it?

The answers to these questions reveal just how unsustainbale the supply side theory is. Politicians who depend on their constitutuecies for re-election will never cut spending in the key areas where it would make a difference--defense and entitlements. Instead, they will cut around the edges.

And their tax policies will invariably favor the wealthy because that is the segment of the population that funds their campaigns. Moreover, all deregulation has done is give business and Wall Street a carte blanche to engage in the sort of corruption that brought about the fall of Enron and the loss of billions in pension funds that will have to made up by guess who?

I wonder when the intellectual elites in this country are going to wake up and come to the realization that supply side economic theories have never worked, are not working now and will not work in the future?

Posted by: Jaxas | March 10, 2006 11:03 AM

http://worldnewstrust.org/modules/AMS/article.php?storyid=2661

Let's get real about our rigged voting system
By Bev Conover

[Cut down from 1200 words. Explanation: http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/thedebate/2006/03/is_it_civil_war.html#comments]

Posted by: che [cropped by Emily] | March 10, 2006 11:07 AM

For an interesting perspective regarding the cost benefit analysis of war and the Bush Administration, I suggest reading this February 11th posting linked below, entitled, "The Sun Tzu Scorecard".

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com/2006/02/sun-tzu-scorecard.html

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | March 10, 2006 11:12 AM

Thank God Lonemule is back, I was worried sick. Back to the use of oil as fuel issue, we are overlooking a free source of energy. I'm talking methane. You know what I mean. And I think maybe Lonemule is angling for a fat Federal consulting contract as the resident expert.

Posted by: Lemon Grover | March 10, 2006 11:34 AM

Johnny-

I agree with your sentiment. The premise of supply side economics that I find most dubious is that lower taxes will increase growth which will increase government revenue. Despite this premise being self defeating (since lowering the source or revenues, taxes, intuitively lowers revenues) it is also impractical when taken to its logical conclusion: Zero taxes would equal zero growth.

Once we've established that simple premise, that we need taxes in order to generate government revenues, we can constrain Supply Siders to a reasonable policy of finding the perfect level of taxation. For reasonable people this taxation would be the one that maximizes growth with revenue. For those that espouse supply side economics, this perfect level of taxation is always "less".

Government revenues tend to increase annually because economic growth happens. This is not an absolute trend, however, and since 1962 (when such data was collected) government revenues have decreased five times. Once in 1971, once in 1983 (Reagan) and three times consecutively in 2001, 2002, and 2003.

It doesn't take a rocket science to connect the Presidents with hostile attitudes towards taxes with revenue losses, which seems to defeat the entire supply side principle. If lower taxes increase government revenue, why is it that supply side presidents are the only ones that can't maintain revenue increases.

Which doesn't necessarily mean Supply Side economics is wrong, it just means that people who argue that it increases revenues are either being disingenuous or are unfamiliar with the statistics. However, if someone is going to argue that taxes are too high and revenues are too high they should be forced to expend the political capital necessary to balance spending by also proposing spending cuts.

But that's just my opinion.

Posted by: Will | March 10, 2006 12:10 PM

Wasn't it Reagan that started the whole 'trickle-down economics'idea? And didn't president Clinton have a deficit to deal with when he became president?

It doesn't work. And Bush acts more like a CEO of a company than a president.

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 12:49 PM

I remember back in the late 90's when it really irked a lot of republicans that the budget actually had a surplus instead of a deficit.

There were many letters and opinions written back then about how Clinton should give them their tax cuts now that we have a surplus! A lot of them were really indignant and angry!

Then Bush comes into office in 2000 and gives them their beloved tax cuts, a big reason he was elected no doubt, and there goes the country's savings!

Now we're deeper than ever in debt.

Posted by: js | March 10, 2006 12:53 PM

The spin on everything is mind boggling. This administration brags about new jobs that were created, yet the amount is still so very low compared to the overall total of all unemployed. They never give the full account. In a country like ours, no citizen should be unemployed. None. Zilch.

This current administration seems to run the country like a big corporation. They love the tax cuts because it supposedly will make the people spend, spend, spend; which somehow (I don't quite understand) is supposed to be good for the economy. I think it's only good for the big corporations and the shareholders.

People are spending, all right. The average household credit card debt is higher now than at any time in history.

Posted by: mark | March 10, 2006 01:10 PM

and now they want to do another increase in the debt ceiling next week?

Irresponsible!

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 01:18 PM

"The spin on everything is mind boggling. This administration brags about new jobs that were created, yet the amount is still so very low compared to the overall total of all unemployed. They never give the full account. In a country like ours, no citizen should be unemployed. None. Zilch."

No Mark, having some unemployment, though not a lot, is a healthy thing. It would be wierd to think that at every moment in time, everyone is employed. Life happens, people get laid off, fired, make career changes etc. I'm no economist (my father was), but I do remember this from ECON 101.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 10, 2006 01:37 PM

And some people are simply unemployable. I have had my dealings with these types over the years.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 10, 2006 01:43 PM

in the statistics...

the other thing is that jobs in the service sector, or seasonal jobs are not jobs with benefits...


there has been a big jump in people that applied for SSI payments, when they couldn't get employment in the last few years...


retirement into SS payments is another option that was taken...


employment figures are not as "real" as they had been 20 to 30 years ago....as employment is a "real" issue now, and yet was not in the recent, 50 year past....


again, retirement from Macy's, with a pension was a reality before....


despite all the rhetoric, the United States isn't a friendly place for full employment with benefits for all right now...


like WalMart counting medicare cards as being part of their benefits package recently.


20 years ago, that would have caused some serious flak, these reporters nowdays are so seperated and jaded from the constituency in the real world that they can't identify.

Posted by: the types that are unemployable don't count... | March 10, 2006 01:55 PM

I can understand occasional unemployment. People get laid off, switch jobs and/or move.

What I meant to imply was when you consider the hugh population of this country, even 4% seems a bit high.

Or, as my friends would say, "would you like fries with that?"

Posted by: mark | March 10, 2006 02:21 PM

Cayambe wrote:
"Since the end of the Cold War the United States has been struggling with the problem of finding and developing a coherent foreign policy, to bring some real meaning to the phrase "New World Order" that would both serve our National Interest and bring Comfort to the World, to find a place and a role for ourselves as the de facto and singular "Great Power" in a unipolar world."

OOOPS.... Sorry about that. It was late at night and I was tired. This paragraph and everything following in this post was mistakenly appended to everything preceding this paragraph. Makes for a strange train of thought when presented as it was, by mistake.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 10, 2006 03:10 PM

Wow, I was just flipping the channels here and C-SPAN is showing an impeachment meeting for Bush, and C-SPAN2 is showing Condi Rice asking for more defense money!

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 03:27 PM

Condi Rice is asking for debt forgiveness for Afghanistan right now.

The counter just keeps getting higher, doesn't it?

This administration is unreal!!!!

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 03:37 PM

now Rumsfeld is speaking. This administration is so worried about 'saving face' that they're going to bankrupt our whole nation!

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 03:40 PM

looks like rummy boy is still blaming it on our media!

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 03:42 PM

"I believe this total includes the Iraq-dedicated portion of the $45 billion in "bridge funding" (see page 1), which refers not to actual bridges but to funds that bridge the gap between appropriations (otherwise, we'd have a heck of a lot of bridges to build.)"
- America does have a lot of bridges to build..and you just destroyed one of the most important ones with your xenophobic, and quite frankly racist, attitude towards the UAE.

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 03:44 PM

There goes that 'name calling' again!

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 03:47 PM

xenophobic & racist?

Good one!

I'm shaking in my boots!

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 03:49 PM

xenophobic
racist
homophobic
baby killer
unpatriotic

can anyone think of any more names?

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 03:50 PM

Hey, now General Peter Pace is talking on C-SPAN2. They're talking 15 more years of needing money!!!

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 03:51 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen: Two different worlds on CSPAN and CSPAN2. What a mind-f--k.

The people that want this administration out, and the war-mongers wanting more money.

I wonder which group will win, after all is said and done?

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 03:53 PM

Our gulf coast is a mess and they had to quit searching for bodies in attics because of no place to stay while searching.

And they're requesting billions of dollars more to nation build in other countries.

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 04:03 PM

and consumerism that is pure impulse, sexual, patriotic, "you've got a big-one" oriented...


which kind of consumerism do you think this congress and administration are appealing to and thus, validating and creating?

sex is a nice thing to have,


it's not the biggest part of anyones day though....

appealing to a dream is different than creating a country of voyuers....


who treat an addiction as if it were food.

Posted by: there is a difference between consumerism that is thoughtful... | March 10, 2006 04:05 PM

watch out, you unpatriotic previous poster! Big Brother is watching you

Posted by: mm | March 10, 2006 04:06 PM

creates a greater sense of
validating immediate gratification...


the media is working that too.

Posted by: the tone of this government during this time, period... | March 10, 2006 04:08 PM

oh waaaaah! Here comes the FEAR TACTIC again! Now they're whining the U.S. could go into another depression because of what happened to the ports deal!

These guys will stop at nothing!!

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 04:24 PM

in a way invalidating this presidency is a way of invalidating the way it was achieved...


through lieing, deceit and corruption...

we've not been a true democracy except for a breif period after WWII....

we do have a real opportunity to achieve that now, if you hold them responsible to actually telling the truth...


it is ineffective to lie,


if the American public can not bear the truth then educate them.

Posted by: one thing you need to see too, is this... | March 10, 2006 04:25 PM

arrest the president and the autocatic dictatorians currently in power and establish a democracy...


by arresting the entire plutocracy and selling their estates...


please, do this now!

thanks.

Posted by: I think Big Brother needs to | March 10, 2006 04:27 PM

oh, just turn the channel and watch faux, I mean fox, news. They're the national enquirer on cable.

It's all about big business, folks!

Someone else here mentioned profits over people!

Dead On!!!

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 04:29 PM

Hey, what building are they in down here. I think I'll go stand in line behind Rummy for some cash.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 10, 2006 04:29 PM

Bush says today, "I'm concerned about the relations with our arab community".

Funny. I've never once heard him say he's concerned about american citizens.

Posted by: mm | March 10, 2006 04:33 PM

Jamal wrote:
"You call it insurance; I call it being mercenaries, hired guns to the highest bidder, whether our client is right or wrong. And of course you omit that any action taken by us will cause retaliatory action on our country. And what if the country we attack for our client has mutual aggression treaties with other countries? Or Russia gets in the insurance game as the protector of the county we're attacking? Looks like a formula for WWIII."

Jamal, you are not thinking too clearly. Read it with an open mind.

1. There is no highest bidder, there is no bidding. What we offer is simply to "rent" out our massive strategic nuclear deterrent capability for the limited defense of another nation (limited to an offensive nuclear attack by some other nation) as an alternative to developing nuclear weapons for that purpose themselves.

2. Lets be clear about what is right and what is wrong in this context. It is right to use a nuclear weapon in defense against an actual attack by another nation. It is wrong to use a nuclear weapon for any other reason. This is what we might call "a bright line" separation between right and wrong. What nation can you imagine would take issue with it? What specifically would you take issue with in this definition?

3. Retaliatory action. No, I have carefully excluded from coverage all countries with the CAPABILITY of taking retaliatory action. You must realize that by the point that "retaliatory action" is a consideration, the country considering it gone, caput, effectively wiped from the face of the earth. All we have to worry about are leftover boomers (submarines) wandering about under the ocean. Since the countries with these capabilities have already been excluded from coverage, we face no retaliatory action.

4. I'm not familiar with any mutual aggression treaties extant. Could you perhaps cite one? Certainly there are plenty of mutual defense treaties around, but these usually have exclusions for unprovoked aggression by the parties joined by the treaty.

5. I have no problem with Russia getting into this particular market so long as they conform to the same principles and definitions. If they did, I fail to see how we could come into conflict. Perhaps you might outline a specific hypothetical case where this would occur?

Jamal wrote:
"Iran with a greater population, more heavily armed, and more difficult terrain would be many times more expensive to invade than Iraq. A sobering thought right now."

It certainly is, but the open question is, is it sobering enough? We did after all, as a nation, talk ourselves into invading Iraq.


Jamal wrote:
"And "China, France, Brits, and Russia", as well as the rest of the world, are going to stand by while we rain down nuclear fall out on them?
Either your comment is meant as humor or you losing it."

Of course they will, Jamal. What other choice do they have? Will they like it? Of course not; no one will, least of all ourselves. But Jamal, consider what has had to happen to bring us to this situation. Some nation has seen fit to launch an offensive nuclear attack on another nation that has purchased our insurance. Already the atmosphere downwind of this nation is raining fall out on its neighbors. Absent our insurance, how should the world deal with this Jamal? What would you propose? An economic boycott of the offending nation? World condemnation by the UN General Assembly? A Security Council resolution authorizing all non-nuclear means to remove the offending regime from power? Jamal, WHATCHA going to do against these bad boys?

To affect rational judgments of those considering the actual use of these weapons, the consequences must be clear and certain, unambiguous and credible. What we have the potential to do is to provide most of the world relief from nuclear anxiety.

I would personally feel that the WRONG use of nuclear weapons is equally wrong by our friends as our opponents, and the consequences should be no different. Every nation, good, bad, or indifferent is equally entitled to freedom from nuclear anxiety. If that can be made the case, there is no need for a Nuclear Non-proliferation agreement with all of its attendant problems.

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 04:59 PM

OOOPS again...that was me Jamal

Posted by: Cayambe | March 10, 2006 05:00 PM

The white house is only concerned about trade relations.

The majority of americans opinions don't matter.

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 05:00 PM

New PR campaign! Your tax dollars will now be spent trying to change peoples opinions of the war!

Posted by: mm | March 10, 2006 05:05 PM

It would be nice to find out how much of our tax money Bush has actually spent over the years trying to persuade everyone to his way of thinking.

If you have to try so hard to persuade people, that right there should tell you something.

Americans aren't so dumb after all, are they?

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 05:08 PM

that teacher who accused Bush of being like hitler just got his job back! He goes back to work on monday

Yahoo!!

there's hope for America yet!!!

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 05:14 PM

He never lost his job. He was placed on administrative leave. Besides, he's in the union. When's the last time you ever tried to get rid of someone in a union? i mean, if he actually said something positive about the US than that would be grounds for dismissal, but that won't happen.

Posted by: Colorado Blue | March 10, 2006 05:22 PM

okay, so I was wrong. that's what I get for listening to fox news. sorry.

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 05:28 PM

Cayambe,

My hypothetical debate to your hypothetical nuclear war in a hypothetical future brought on a hypothetical response from you to my initial hypothetical response. I'm going to try to hypothetically leave this one with you and return to a not so hypothetical present.

Here's a hypothetical statement for you. I've heard and read the comment that impeaching Bush would only worsen the country, because Cheney would become president. Who in the hell do they think is running the country now!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bush is only the façade for Cheney. And in many ways Bush is a façade for Rove. Both Rove and Cheney at one time wanted to be president. Neither has the social ability to be elected, so Rove found Bush in Texas and Cheney jumped on board in Washington. I see Cheney as the functional President and Rove the functional Vice President. Did I have another typo, should functional be dysfunctional?

Posted by: Jamal | March 10, 2006 05:37 PM

Actually, the whole operation is run by a timid book keeper in a back room office somewhere in Bayonne, NJ. Bush, Cheney, Rove? Just mouthpieces.

Posted by: D. | March 10, 2006 05:42 PM

I agree with you Jamal. Well put.

A lot of of people are thinking now that if Bush is impeached, a few others will have to go too. Cheney, Rice, Rumfield, Rove.

In an odd way, they all seem to blur into one entity.

Posted by: js | March 10, 2006 05:43 PM

What is comment spam and how do you find out your url?

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 09:17 PM

A lot of what we see on this board is a pseudolibertarianism that wants the benefits of libertarianism but not the responsibilities.

Ronald Reagan did not invent supply side economics. Ayn Rand wrote an endearing treatise on it and the libertarian philosophy in her 1950's book Atlas Shrugged (which should be required reading for every human being). But she didn't invent it either.

The best answer I can give is that Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan didn't really grasp that the cream who rose to the top in a free trade economy would be more likely to be Orren Boyle than Hank Reardon (book characters). Or in modern descriptions, Enrons and Global Crossings and Tycos and Wal-Marts.

If I lived in utopia I would want it to be a libertarian one. But what I have seen of human nature does not lead me to believe in supply side economics or pure libertarianism. It was actually a sad day when my bubble was burst about it (that and a lot of other ideals of my late day boomer youth).

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 09:18 PM

"The white house is only concerned about trade relations.

The majority of americans opinions don't matter."

Number one is still true. But I think we had a bit of a defining moment here on number two. Congress was innundated with calls and letters on this one.

Maybe, just maybe, the American people might have an epiphany here and demand that Congress do something about domestic spying, deficits, the war, and last but not least, Iran?

Get those calls and letters coming folks.

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 09:22 PM

After further thought on a hypothetical Bush impeachment, Vice President Cheney would be forced to take a demotion in the chain of command in the current administration. Demoted from Vice president to president.

On to the next topic.

Posted by: Jamal | March 10, 2006 10:21 PM

Rove planned it well. He knew that Cheney would make a worst president than Bush. That's why Bush chose him. This ensures that Bush will never be impeached. Brilliant!

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 10:34 PM

2 1/2 more years of these bozos! Can you even imagine what shape this country will be in at the end of Bush's term? It's scarier than hell!

Just in the last couple of days we find out that:

Interest rates are going up again
Gas prices are going up again
More money is being asked for Iraq
They want to raise the debt ceiling
The deficit is getting higher.
Elderly people are choosing between food and meds.

Incomes have gone down while more jobs are being outsourced to other countries for free trade.

Walmarts are putting other stores out of business.

The ecomony is worst now than when Clinton was president. Do 97% of americans have savings? Are they deep in debt?

2 1/2 more years of this.

No one trusts this administration anymore. They value corporate interests, other countries opinions of us, and free trade more than their own citizens.

Posted by: mm | March 10, 2006 10:45 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of lawmakers on Friday said an industrial bank owned by Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, could threaten the stability of the U.S. financial system and drive community banks out of business.

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 11:06 PM

to National Security....

we used to call those monopolies...

Posted by: well that begins to sound like a threat... | March 10, 2006 11:17 PM

you don't want your children to wake up in peasant garb in 30 years....


and have the ocean dying from sewage...

a little extreme, perhaps as a future.

but there is a very real erosion of the middle class, who made a democracy nearly happen with their informed decisions, leisure and numbers...


now homophobia, sheepherding-disguised-as patriotism, gawd-threatening-from-the-primitive-dayz and other factors have been slipped into place and need to be cauterized with education....


.

Posted by: although this talking may be depressing... | March 10, 2006 11:26 PM

Speaking of Walmart, it seems We got a two-fer with this administration: Neocons and capitalists.

An old 1909 Dictionary defined capitalism as:

The concentration or massing of capital in the hands of a few; also, the power or influence of large or combined capital.

A newer definition, however, refers to an economic system characterized by private or corporation ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision rather than by state control, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly in a free market."

I guess you could also call this Libertarianism.

Here's another interesting word ~

Dictatorship: a form of government in which absolute power is concentrated in a dictator or a small clique; a government organization or group in which absolute power is so concentrated.

Here's my favorite:

Democracy: Democratic government aspires to serve under "the people" rather than ruling over them. Democracy is a system where the population of a society controls the government.

Posted by: | March 10, 2006 11:39 PM

Despite what some liberals may believe, President Bush's misdeeds do not merit impeachment. You don't have to worry about a sex scandal with this one, folks.

However, I'd sure like to know why there's $24.5 billion -- that's billion with a 'B' -- that the federal government cannot account for.

They know they spent it, but they don't know who they spent it on, where it went, what program it went toward, how much of it was stolen--whatever.

That's $24.5 billion.

Totally Inept Administration!

Posted by: mm | March 11, 2006 12:01 AM

It's partially the nature of the beast

we're embedded in Roman,


power-over culture, conquest-as-a-way-of functioning


that's not over yet, but it's time for some new flowers to poke their heads out.


there are enough inner landscapes to conquer to keep us busy for a few more years.

again:

social skills in school,

intervention in marginalized citizens cases to prevent them from being an unused resource.


if there are cells in the body that don't receive nourishment, they become stagnant and need constant attention.


if you view citizens as cells, you can see each one needs to be working properly.


there is no moral right, wrong or blame to talk out here, this is science.


flow implies, "it works," we need a little flow here.

and we need to replace a few brain cells, and get the heart working again.

clear some garbage out...take a dump.


maybe sing a little bit.


YOU ALL really need to get this, bush may be the obvious villian here, but there's complicity written all over this congress....

and anyone that Bush appointed....that's a Bush family person...

like the Secretary of the Interior.

.

Posted by: bush's misdeeds merit arrest-ment for fraud and treason. | March 11, 2006 12:40 AM

Look folks, just use your common sense. What happens to you when your level of borrowing reaches a point where you cannot be reasonably expected to make good on what you owe? One day you approach your favorite lending institution and you get a rude awakening. They no longer consider you a positive risk.

They all have their formulas and the personal data on you to back up those decisions. But, look what happens when the government finds itelf in a situation where it is not producing enough revenue to pay off its debt. What does it do?

It usually raises taxes. Reagan was thrown ito precisely this situation in the early 80s when David Stockman--his budget czar--informed him that his supply side tax cuts in 1981 were not generating sufficient economic growth to replace the lost revenues. And Reagan had just sold the Pentagon on one of the most ambitious military spending enterprises in history--the Strategic Defense Initiative. So what did he end up doing? He raised payroll taxes to generate revenue--a tax that heavily hits the middle class. In a very real sense, those two dolts who were to show up later in the Harry and Loise ads to kill Hillary Clinton's health care plan, ended up paying for all of those tax cuts in the top rates. It was a tranfer of billions of dollars in tax liablity from the richest 5% in the country, to hard working middle class Americans.

And, guess what? After the bumpkin in the White House leaves office, the next poor schmuck, whatever his party affiliation, is going to get stuck in the same predicament Reagan faced in 1983, only far worse. By then Bush will be busy working out the deatails of getting his pathetically smirky mug on Mt. Rushmore--or so he and his hagiographers hope.

Posted by: Jaxas | March 11, 2006 11:36 AM

Posted by: mm

"Despite what some liberals may believe, President Bush's misdeeds do not merit impeachment."

I strongly disagree with your statement. The rubber stamp neocon republicans in control of congress have and will protect bush from impeachment. Sen. Specter will continue his white wash of bush. In the event Democrats regain control of congress and end five years of republican rubber stamping, John Conyers will replace Arlen "the rubber stamp" Spector. Conyers will no longer allow bush officials to testy to congress while NOT under oath. Conyers will build a solid multifaceted Impeachment on Bush. To vote for democratic candidates this November will be, by default, a vote for bush impeachment.

http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0Je5rsZBhNEs2gBlmhXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2cDBpbnJ0BGNvbG8DdwRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMgRzZWMDc3IEdnRpZANpMDIyXzQ4/SIG=11f2muoa3/EXP=1142183833/**http://www.johnconyers.com/

Posted by: Jamal | March 11, 2006 12:32 PM

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