Sunday, November 27, 2005

How Did This Travesty Come About?

I have generally refrained from commenting here on the Iraq war since it's outside the area that this weblog is designed to cover. (Yes, I know, I violate the coverage rules all of the time, such as on Thanksgiving.) However, David Brook's column on the Op-Ed page of the NYT today (now behind the NYT Select firewall) crosses sufficiently into areas that have been discussed here that I feel comfortable responding.

Brooks discusses a US military operation in Iraq, focusing on the bravery and high level of competence of our personnel there. He complains that there aren't enough stories about our warriers in Iraq. In the course of the article, however, he makes the following bizarre comment:
After the Marines took Ubaydi [their objective], they didn't have the troops to hold it, and it again became a terrorist safe haven. Over the past two weeks, the Marines have been back in Ubaydi for more bloody fighting. This time they have enough trained Iraqi forces to hold the area, but why weren't there enough troops last spring? Every time you delve into the situation in Iraq, you come away with the phrase "not enough troops" ringing in your head, and I hope someday we will find out how this travesty came about.
(Emphasis supplied.)

Is Brooks kidding? The Bush Administration, with the support of cheerleaders such as Brooks, has cut the tax base, primarily by handing out tax cuts to the rich and the very rich. As a consequence, the federal government does not have sufficient revenue to accomplish the tasks that the Administration has assigned to it.

Thus, when confronted by General Eric Shinseki's analysis that the war would require far more troops than the it was willing to commit, the Administration cashiered Shinseki.

When asked why US forces lacked sufficient body armor, Rumsfield lied and claimed that the Pentagon was doing all that it could to get sufficient amounts of armor. In fact, the companies that provided the armor had excess capacity: They awaited only contractual directives to increase production. Of course, the reason the contracts were slow in coming was that this would have highlighted the cost of the war.

The travesty came about because the Administration and its apologists (including Brooks) made a conscious decision to compromise the war effort rather than to compromise their attack on the fundamental structure of our tax system.

At the outset of the war effort in Iraq, one might have agreed or disagreed with whether the invasion was appropriate? I believe that a reasonable case can still be made that continuation of the war is still justified. (It's not a case that I agree with, but that's another story.)

One can reasonably agree or disagree with whether we were lead into war due to the overhyping of the dangers posed by Saddam by the Administration.

What one cannot reasonably argue is that we have competently executed the prosecution of the war. We have not. The reason for this travesty is that the Bush tax cuts have made it impossible to properly conduct the war.

So long as the tax cuts remain in place, the federal government will regularly be unable to successfully carry out its assigned tasks, whether those tasks are domestic or military. The real travesty is that Brooks knows the reason that we have insufficient troops in Iraq. He is simply unwilling to acknowledge that he was complicit in helping to create the problem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should volunteer to be a judge at Saddam's trial. There's sure to be an opening soon.

And why haven't you discussed the tax implication of Saddam's conviction and execution. Will his estate be subject to the death tax? Wow, that will pay for some stuff without threatening any family farms or small businesses. And all those fun jurisdictional issues in collecting. Free trips to Switzerland for lawyers, Republicans all.

Get on the case, tax boy.