Last year I had the pleasure of sharing a long ride in a towncar from La Guardia to Pocantico, a conference center on the Rockefeller estate near Sleepy Hollow, with Steve Clemons for a conference. The conversation and the conference were both incredibly interesting. He is now working for The Atlantic and writes about the Republican drumbeat for war with Iran and how it conflicts with their endless zeal for lower taxes:
Today, things are fuzzier — but at the highest levels of the national-security decisionmaking tree there is palpable doubt that bombing Iran achieves any fundamental strategic objectives while at the same time ultimately undermining U.S., Israel, and regional security, undermining the global economy. One senior official I heard when asked about bombing Iran then said, “OK, and then what? Then what?! Seriously, then what???” …
It is ridiculous to think that a strike by Israel against Iran, that would in real terms tie the U.S. to the conflict, would not be staggeringly expensive and consequential.
So, it would be interesting to hear from those who want to reside in the White House — and even the Obama administration which has some ‘kinetic action’ advocates on the inside — on what a more sensible financial management strategy for these proliferating conflicts, including an Iran war, would be.George H.W. Bush got the Japanese citizens to write a check for $13.5 billion to the U.S. to pay for the first Gulf War. He was perhaps the last fiscally responsible war-time U.S. President.
Wars cost lots and lots of money — and if a substantial chunk of the GOP crowd wants these wars and feels that it is in our national interest to have them, then by all means they should start lining up some of the wealthiest in the country who are helping to agitate for these conflicts to pay more in taxes for them.
The vast majority of the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were off-budget and were added to the national debt. And not only were they not paid for, the Bush tax cuts further destroyed our ability to pay for them. You simply cannot be in favor of more wars AND less revenue and claim to be in favor of fiscal responsibility. But these are not serious positions, they are just ways to pander to their political constituents.