Saturday, December 5, 2009



After campaigning on peace platform, president decides war is the way—
and guess who’s going to pay for it.

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THE POPULIST VIEW about working class Americans being forced to pay the bills and bleed in the wars rings true today.With the country fighting
two costly, unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Democrats in the White House and Congress are debating how many more Americans to send into battle and just who is going to pay for it all.

In contrasting legislation, legislators are proposing increasing the cannon fodder in Afghanistan. At the same time, senior House Democrats want to impose a new tax on Americans to pay for the rising cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The House is expected to take up the issue of the White House plan to send more American soldiers to Afghanistan. But in a strange twist, the Democrat Party remains deeply divided over the issue so theWhite House
is using support among Republicans to muscle through its agenda.

Despite Barack Obama’s campaign pledges not to escalate the two wars, Obama appears to be in the clutches of the military-industrial-banking complex. But populists in the Democrat Party are pushing hard to end the
war and bring the troops home. As a result, the White House has had to turn to the neoconservative wing of both parties to push through support and funding for sending tens of thousands more Americans into that no win

In mid November, Democrat Rep. David R. Obey (Wisc.), the current chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, along with Democrat Reps. John P. Murtha (Pa.), the chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and John B. Larson (Conn.), the chairman of the Democratic Caucus, unveiled the measure which creates a new “surtax,” or an extra tax on income, that the president will be able to set annually so that it pays for the previous year’s war costs.

“The president is being asked to consider an enlarged counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan, which proponents tell us will take at least a decade and would also cost about a trillion dollars. But unlike the healthcare bill, that would not be paid for.We believe that’s wrong,” the three congressmen said in a joint statement.

“The only people who’ve paid any price for our military involvement in
Iraq and Afghanistan are our military families. We believe that if this war is to be fought, it’s only fair that everyone share the burden.”

It’s laudable that some in Congress recognize the insane costs in men and treasure associated with these two unnecessary wars. But the suggestion that tax increases will help anyone but the banks and the weapons makers would be laughable were it not so deadly serious. Much as it is false to suggest that a draft would force the wealthiest of Americans to send their own sons and daughters into battle, it is misguided to say that increasing
taxes will “share the burden” across the spectrum of wealth in this country.

By definition, surtaxes disproportionately hurt small businesses and average Americans, because large multinational corporations and the elites—the loudest cheerleaders for wars—will always use their money and power to figure out how to game the system and avoid paying the bills or bleeding in the wars.

A far better solution to end these needless costs and the bloodshed would be to exit Iraq and Afghanistan and leave the cleanup to leaders in Iran and Pakistan, who have a vested and legitimate interest in providing stability
in that part of the world.

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