ISIS

The Latest War Will Not Be Free

You want a war? Pay for it.

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John Kerry
Wikimedia Commons

Young people may find it hard to believe, but going to war used to be a big deal. When the United States started bombing Iraq in January 1991, Americans somberly watched President George H.W. Bush address the nation, followed by live video of Baghdad being bombed. The Bush address drew the biggest audience TV had ever had.

This past week, by contrast, life went on normally as U.S. warplanes and Tomahawk missiles destroyed targets in Syria and Iraq in a new war, which has no clear goal or time limit. As our leaders took us into a conflict fraught with peril, most people yawned. We're at war again? Oh, right—and rain is still wet.

Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has been at war two out of every three years. Remember Somalia? Bosnia? Kosovo? It's hard to decide whether this is our third war in Iraq or a continuation of our second, which began when Johnny Manziel was in the fourth grade. Our fight in Afghanistan has been going on for 13 years, five years longer than the Vietnam War.

This one, Secretary of State John Kerry said, could last two or three years. He doesn't appear to worry that the American people's patience will run out before the administration leaves office. Though they occasionally get weary of particular conflicts, they rarely evince strong resistance to new ones.

There are many reasons for that. The 1973 abolition of the draft was a worthwhile achievement with an unfortunate effect: divorcing most people from the tangible consequences of war.

A lot of parents would be warier of Obama's bombing campaign if they had to contemplate that one day, the gods of war would demand the healthy bodies of their sons and daughters. Young people would be likelier to march in protest if they feared being sent to Syria against their will and returned home in coffins.

Most of us are even further removed than the Civil War-era humorist Artemus Ward, who said, "I have already given two cousins to the war and I stand ready to sacrifice my wife's brother."

The majority sacrifices nothing noticeable for the privilege of reminding the world that we can blow up whatever we want and kill whomever we want anytime we choose. For the time being, we don't even have to put up any money.

The latest war will cost some of that, though how much is anyone's guess. Asked the likely price tag, White House press secretary Josh Earnest replied, with charming nonchalance, "I don't have an estimate on that."

Members of Congress show no sign of weighing the benefits of this operation against the outlay. Nor do voters, because they have no reason to. It's a free lunch.

It hasn't always been that way. During World War I, Congress raised taxes twice to pay for sending an army to France. During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt proposed the biggest tax increase the nation had ever seen. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau didn't sugarcoat it: "The new taxes will be severe, and their impact will be felt in every American home."

During Vietnam, President Lyndon Johnson pushed through a surcharge of 10 percent on all personal and corporate income taxes. He justified it as a way to "finance responsibly the needs of our men in Vietnam."

Our government may provide for the needs of those fighting this war, but not in a fiscally responsible way. George W. Bush launched two invasions while cutting taxes, not raising them. Barack Obama is happy to let Americans assume the funding for this war will come off the money tree in the Rose Garden.

It won't. It will all have to be borrowed and repaid, with interest, by us or our children. The total cost of Bush's Iraq and Afghanistan wars will come to at least $4 trillion, according to a study by Harvard scholar Linda Bilmes. Had we known that—and had we been forced to make a noticeable sacrifice with every paycheck—we might have insisted he do things differently.

If Obama and Congress had agreed to impose immediate new federal burdens on American taxpayers before launching this latest war, public attention would be greater and resistance would be stronger. We would at least have had a real debate.

Nothing would do more to break our addiction to perpetual war than a simple requirement that everyone can understand: You want a war? Pay for it.

NEXT: Brickbat: Well, Shoot

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  1. Young people may find it hard to believe, but going to war used to be a big deal.

    I blame Call of Duty.

  2. Nothing would do more to break our addiction to perpetual war than a simple requirement that everyone can understand: You want a war? Pay for it.

    Nice plan except government is the way you get people to pay for things you don’t want to. If everyone got a bill for their “share” of government everyone would be an anarchist.

  3. Young people may find it hard to believe, but going to war used to be a big deal.

    That was back in the old days, when we had a Republican President, before the glory of Chocolate Jesus.

  4. Dude seems to know what the deal is that is for sure. Wow.

    http://www.Ano-Web.tk

    1. Looks like Chapman finally has a fan. An artificial one, but one nonetheless.

  5. He doesn’t appear to worry that the American people’s patience will run out before the administration leaves office.

    “Look, the next guy can just blame it on us….on Bush, I mean.”

  6. Peace Nobels for everyone!

  7. my neighbor’s half-sister makes $73 /hr on the laptop . She has been without a job for 5 months but last month her pay check was $19692 just working on the laptop for a few hours. hop over to this site…..

    ???????? http://www.netjob70.com

    1. did she invest in good knee pads?

  8. We are trying to spend as much money as possible at this point. Really think we need to use Maverick missiles or GPS guided bombs to blow up some idiot’s house in the desert?

    I’ve seen unguided iron dud bombs strike targets metal – to – metal in exercises. The targeting computers in the bombers are that good. But that wouldn’t be good for Raytheon, would it?

    1. Obviously, if you’re putting a bomber in the air, then a dumb bomb is gonna be cheaper than guided, but I’m curious if cruise missiles are cheaper to deploy.

      1. TLAM’s run about $1.6 million apiece, and have a significantly smaller warhead than a typical gravity bomb. They’re generally launched from a ship or submarine with a crew numbering 100+. I’m fairly sure an F/A18 is cheaper than a ship or submarine. JDAM’s range from 500-2000lbs, run about $30K, and a 2000lb JDAM is way more powerful, and just as accurate as a TLAM. The only benefit to a TLAM is that you can launch it, and then go eat chow and take a nap.

  9. You want a war? Pay for it.

    Whatever happened to that quaint notion “the spoils of war”?

  10. Thank you for that picture of the noble John F’ing Kerry.

    *BARF*

  11. Cheer up! Whoever is elected President in 2016, and takes office in January 2017, will be as consistent and predictable as the current administration in taking us to war in some armpit country somewhere on the globe. You can count on it. So, “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag, and Smile, Smile, Smile” or something along the lines of that good old World War I song.

    What the Hell! Maybe we can combine our Armed Forces and change the name to “The War Corps”. What the Hell! We have the “Peace Corps” and the “Job Corps”. Why not The “War Corps”? While we are at it, we could also “clean out” our prisons by forming “Dirty Dozen” Regiments. So once again folks, cheer up! The worst is yet to come, and it will get even worse after that. As we used to say back in the day – Fucking A, It’s All O.K.

    1. On The Road To Mandalay|9.29.14 @ 8:53AM|#
      “Cheer up! Whoever is elected President in 2016, and takes office in January 2017, will be as consistent and predictable as the current administration in taking us to war in some armpit country somewhere on the globe.”

      This lefty shitpile has never learned the concept of tu quoque.
      He’s actually stupid enough to think this somehow gives his fave laying bastard a pass.

      1. Hi There SEVOLINGUS,

        I figured you would show up like the chronic disease that you are, and post a stupid response to my comment as you always do.

        Because you repeat the same stuff all the time, I recommend you get some sort of new material. I know the readers get bored with the same old worthless rebuttals.

        I realize you are upset, but don’t blame it on me because the circle jerk for retards at your trailer court recreation center was cancelled this past weekend.

        I’ll be looking for some more of your literary farts in the future.

        You have a great day, scrotum brain.

      2. “This lefty shitpile has never learned the concept of tu quoque”

        I am confused. It looks to me like he has learned the concept of “tu quoque”

        By diverting our attention away from Obama’s (And not singling out his complicity) actions by mocking the notion that any President in office will do the same thing (start wars) isn’t that in fact a “tu quoque” response, or do I misunderstand the concept?

        1. San Diego,

          Question: Do you believe that the next President of The United States won’t involve the U.S. in a war somewhere?

          The premise of my comment (along with the utter sarcasm about a “War Corps”) was that the U.S. will probably always be involved in some fucking war somewhere regardless of who is President.

          State your case. Also, don’t think that I am turning attention away from Obama. However, I have the feeling that your dislike (hatred?) of Obama blinds you to the reality that all Presidents (regardless of their fucking party ties) has embroiled the U.S. in some sort of war.

          So, what is your premise? Instead of trying to dissect my comments based on some moron’s rebuttal to my comment (in this case Sevolingus), state your own case.

          1. Am I the “Literary turd?” I am flattered!

            “Do you believe that the next President of The United States won’t involve the U.S. in a war somewhere?”

            For me the subject was whether you where committing a “tu quoque,” and nothing else, and I will practice one now by asking you if you’ve been highly critical of Obama’s hypocrisy regarding the war, and what he said about the matter when he was campaigning and what he is saying now. If you have been then I have no complaint.

            “Also, don’t think that I am turning attention away from Obama. However, I have the feeling that your dislike (hatred?) of Obama blinds you to the reality that all Presidents (regardless of their fucking party ties) has embroiled the U.S. in some sort of war.”

            What do you base these comments on? I have a strong revulsion for executive power being used to subvert the Constitution for any president, do you feel that way as well?

            1. Excuse me. When did I ever call you a “literary turd”? If you think I did, you are a damn liar! When did I ever call you that? Before you accuse someone of something, perhaps you should get your brain in gear.

              My original post stated that no matter who is going to be President in the future, that he/she will probably get us into a fucking war somewhere. I DID NOT SAY I APPROVED OF THAT. Either get your shit straight, or shut your fucking pie hole!

              1. Go take your meds and enjoy another Walter Mitty afternoon, old man.

          2. “…dislike (hatred?) of Obama blinds [one] to the reality that all Presidents (regardless of their fucking party ties) has embroiled the U.S. in some sort of war.”

            This can’t be overstated, IMHO.

            The same characterization would have applied to the BDS-inflicted Anti-Bush Party and their pet media throughout the entire 8 years following Al Gore’s embarrassing failure to carry his own Home State in 2000.

            Americans – and probably all humans – are genetically selected to lean toward tribal behavior. This makes distraction via partisan politics a trivial exercise for The Beltway Party.

            Time to recognize that Obama’s not the enemy. Bush is not the enemy. So-called “progressives” are not the enemy.

            The real enemy is too much economic and political power concentrated in too few hands.

          3. On The Road To Mandalay|9.29.14 @ 12:12PM|#
            “Question: Do you believe that the next President of The United States won’t involve the U.S. in a war somewhere?”

            Question: Can you prove you didn’t have sex with a goat yesterday?
            Buzz off, ignoramus.

            1. SevoLingus,

              You really are stupid aren’t you. Fuck you, you asshole moron. Make me “buzz off” you fucking piece of shit.

          4. the U.S. will probably always be involved in some fucking war somewhere regardless of who is President

            Did you just make the argument “All the cool kids are doing it”?

            I don’t see how a rebuttal of that argument is even necessary; it’s its own rebuttal.

            1. ace_m82,

              No asshole. I did not make a fucking argument at all. However, a number of mother fuckers seem to think I did, and THEY are the ones who made their fucking ass “rebuttals”.

              So, are you a fucking “cool kid” or what? Otherwise, shove you comment up your asshole.

              Have a nice day, shit head.

              1. On The Road To Mandalay|9.29.14 @ 5:39PM|#
                “No asshole. I did not make a fucking argument at all”…

                True.
                An argument presumes some logical statement with some method of supporting it with facts. You have never done anything of the sort.
                You merely make imbecilic ‘predictions’ and then ask people to ‘disprove’ them; true marks of an IQ near the single-digit numbers.

                1. Hey There SEVORECTUM

                  Guess you will just have to dream about licking my asshole, won’t you, you fucking piece of shit.

                  Go suck your own cock, and then report back to me, and I will give you something else to do, you fucking slug.

                  1. What a piece of shit.

          5. Do you believe that the next President of The United States won’t involve the U.S. in a war somewhere?

            That kind of depends on who we elect, doesn’t it?

            However, I have the feeling that your dislike (hatred?) of Obama blinds you to the reality that all Presidents (regardless of their fucking party ties) has embroiled the U.S. in some sort of war.

            You’d be surprised at all the evil, stupid things our presidents used to do quite reliably, all the way until we started electing presidents who stopped doing those stupid things.

            Yes, your cynicism notwithstanding, the US is capable of positive political and social change.

            1. Mark22|9.30.14 @ 12:27AM|#
              ‘Do you believe that the next President of The United States won’t involve the U.S. in a war somewhere?’
              “That kind of depends on who we elect, doesn’t it?”

              The road guy actually presumes that a defense of Obo-the-liar can be predicated on requiring others to ‘disprove’ an arbitrary prediction of worse future presidents on his part.
              We have all heard of imbecilic tu quoque claims as some sort of ‘argument’, but I’ve never before run into someone stupid enough to claim a baseless prediction is an argument that the current liar is somehow an acceptable president.

      3. SEVOLINGUS,

        I also meant to add that I’m a little surprised that you were able to send one of your literary turds my way so early in the day. Then I did a rethink, and realized that this was probably the break time between your early morning job as an assistant garbage collector in a low grade neighborhood, and your late evening job getting the douche kits, towels and condoms ready at the back alley brothel you work at.

        You take care now, moron.

        1. Go take your meds and enjoy another Walter Mitty afternoon, old man.

  12. This article seems a bit removed from the reality.

    Americans are ambivalent to the federal government’s wars TODAY for the same reason they no longer actively resist much else that the federal government does: acknowledgement that the federal government no longer represents their interests and no longer listens to anything they say or responds to anything they do.

    For generations, Americans have been indoctrinated via compulsory ed. with the belief that the federal government is there to serve them and solve their problems – essentially, to rule them, with the President functioning as an ersatz king. The cognitive dissonance inherent in the status quo, however, where the federal oligarchy does what it pleases and is never held accountable in any substantive way, mutes public response to a tongue-click. What, after all, can Joe Sixpack do if Obama wants to bomb a village in Syria? Nothing. What could he do if Obama added a War Tax to all the other taxes presently imposed without the consent of the governed? Again, nothing. This is the essence of tyranny.

    1. Instead of whining should-a-could-a-would-a articles, based on 20/20 hindsight, proponents of responsible government should be pushing for exactly THAT, i.e., paring the federal government ITSELF down to a constitutional size and scope that doesn’t have the luxury of printing, borrowing or extorting whatever money it needs to finance its next imperialist military adventure.

      Thanks to generations of indoctrination, a desire to dismantle and rebuild the federal government is not the default response, however. Instead, the response to perceived federal overreach is to try to replace those doing the overreaching with the “right” politicians. The problem is, the federal government itself has grown well beyond this solution. Only the States, themselves, can ever get things back under control now – through the Amendment process.

      As long as focus is obsessively centered on the federal government, the President, Congress, and pointless attempts to “fix” it all via the electoral process – the usurpation, and the endless wars, will continue.

      http://bit.ly/1p6qQml

      1. AGoyAndHisBLog,

        Maybe it’s time to separate the U.S. into different countries, by mutual consent of our 50 different “sovereign nations” of course. I recommend (for starters) resurrecting “Old Dixie” (without the slaves of course) and letting them go their corn pone way. Texas could once again become the Redneck Republic it was from 1836-1845.

        How about it folks? Maybe it’s time to chuck the idea of a U.S. as we know it, and create different countries based on political ideologies currently in vogue on both the fucking right and the fucking left.

        1. Possibly. This seems to be a common suggestion, actually, but I don’t know if it’s absolutely necessary… yet.

          I DO think balkanization will be the result if the federal oligarchy is left to pursue the current course, regardless whether it’s dominated by the “right” or the “left”, as it leads us toward economic collapse, social chaos and, ultimately, a disintegration of the federal structure, leaving the States to fend for themselves individually.

          IMHO, if liberty-minded activists of EVERY stripe – “progressive”, conservative, libertarian, etc. – were to take all the effort and resources presently focused on trying in vain to fix the unfixable (i.e., the federal government) and apply it toward promotion of State-level initiatives aimed at dismantling and rebuilding a federal government that actually conforms to the Constitution, a breakup wouldn’t be required.

          The Articles of Confederation revealed themselves to be unworkable in fairly short order. The Constitution – at least as written and presently amended – has taken a good deal longer to reveal its one glaring omission: an explicit mechanism for the States, themselves, to control the inevitable usurpation the general government was always guaranteed to pursue, as noted by the Founders. Too many of the restrictions on the federal government are implicit, and those who would usurp civil authority and extort economic and political power have used that, along with an increasingly ignorant electorate, to their advantage.

        2. The more interesting aspect of this suggestion to “separate” is that it represents what I believe the Founders originally intended, i.e., a physical manifestation of the Free Marketplace of Ideas, where individual Citizens could either demand their local (i.e., State) government represent their values – OR – vote with their feet, and relocate to a State that represents their personal ideal of liberty, etc., more closely. The federal government – in that context – was never more than a mechanism to provide for the States’ common needs, like defense, and to resolve any disputes arising between them. That this mechanism morphed into the oligarchic, Leviathan Lincolnite State is exactly the sort of thing folks like Jefferson predicted in warning against allowing the federal government to usurp sole authority over the limits of the federal government’s authority.

          The upside of moving civil authority BACK to State and local levels would be renewal of competition between different models of social organization. Unsustainable models – in a system where each is not propped up by the other 57 States via federal wealth redistribution – would quickly reveal their non-feasible nature.

          I don’t believe a regional separation is necessary to accomplish this. Simply strip the federal government back to the size and scope ORIGINALLY defined in the Constitution, and add the explicit limitations on authority that are presently implicit (i.e., NOT delegated to the general government).

  13. Just finished reading “Steve Kroft’s Softball Obama Interviews” where the author compares the obsequious questions offered up to Obama on 60 minutes last night and then compares the critical questions asked of Bush ten years ago, and it just makes you want to heave. Are they (left-tards) ever critical of themselves? Would Steve Kroft ever read a review like this and think yes I am being unfair? Or do they just live in a bubble? Or do they just not care if their bias shows?

    http://www.theatlantic.com/pol…..es/272611/

  14. San Diego,

    Have you ever considered that the entire country might be run by a bunch of assholes posing as left-tards and right-tards for the purpose of creating the illusion that there might be some sort of a “democracy” at work here, when in fact there is NOT?! Ever thought about that? I have, and came to the conclusion a long time ago that the Democrats and Republicans are really one party with left and right factions dictating to the country for a very long time. Why don’t we just called them the “DemoPublicans”? Ever thought about that? Ever considered that Bush and Obama might be the same breed of cat in different disguises.? Give your brain a chance, while you are watching all those overpaid media pimps on Fox and/or MSNBC.

    1. Road guy, you seem to assume a lot things.

      1. San Diego,

        Instead of a one liner denouncing me for “assuming a lot of things”, why don’t you refute my argument? Anyone can write a few words dismissing someone. However, it takes a somewhat intelligent person to present a counter argument.

        My premise is that we have two political parties which are all powerful, and pretty much run the country based on an ideology that is not all that different, but seems to be so.

        That’s my basic argument here. If you don’t agree with my opinion, then what is your opinion?

    2. Bingo. However, they are the political aristocracy and why the entire country is a mess. They work to serve themselves and the ones who support them only and do so at our expense. They wish to have us all dependent on the government because they are the government. If they can control our ability to live, they control us. Why do you think the first step was taking over healthcare. Obamacare was never intended to fix healthcare, but destroy it. That is the only way to force the people to accept a government run single payer system. Once they control who lives and who dies, the United States as we understand it no longer exists.

    3. “Why don’t we just called them the “DemoPublicans”?”

      I think “The Beltway Party” describes them pretty accurately.

  15. Since 1950, we have allowed politicians to drag this country into wars that have done little to keep us safe or address the problems they were intended to solve. Is North Korea less of the threat now with nuclear weapons than in 1950 without them? Did fighting the first gulf war stop the terror attacks ending in the largest on 9/11 or simply stiffen the resolve of those who carried them out? If the US goes to war, it should be because there is a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States and we should engage is total war. WWII was total war where everything is thrown at the enemy with the intent of their total and complete destruction. If we totally wiped ISIS off the face of the earth as well as any country who harbors them, terrorists would have no safe havens. If it was clear to foreign governments to support terrorism against the US would result in your immediate and total destruction, they would not do it. Libya is a good example. President Reagan did not hem and haw after the Berlin bombing. He took the fight to Gaddafi’ front door and he never again involved Libya in terrorism. Obama like the naive fool he is topple Gaddafi and now the country is in total chaos. The US keeps leaving power vacuums and then freaks out when radicals fill the void.

  16. To All Posters On This Article,

    Glad all you morons got so excited by my comment, that you all felt you had do post some sort of a fucking dumb ass response.

    Wake up, jerk wads! War, and our involvement in it, is here to stay regardless of who the President is. Adjust to this reality.

    1. Dipshit, if you don’t like being called on your bullshit, don’t bullshit.

      1. Hi Sevo:

        I am sorry for my foul language. Sometimes I forget to take my meds and my emotions get out of control. I apologize for my bad behavior.

        And yes Obama is a president with no principles.

        1. What a great guy!

          1. What an asshole you still are, and always will be.

          2. Thanks. Sometimes I feel like I’m the Robin to your Batman.

        2. Nice try. Someone using my posting name has sent an incorrect message to SEVOLINGUS. I apologize to this asshole for absolutely nothing. Nice try anyway.

          1. What a piece of shit.

      2. Get a new line you fucking turd. You have used this one way too many times. However, I realize your vocabulary is limited, you fucking moron.

        Have a nice week, Anal Breath. Fuck you.

        1. What an piece of shit!

      3. Does this mean you want to join the War Corps?

        1. What a piece of shit.

  17. Barack Obama is happy to let Americans assume the funding for this war will come off the money tree in the Rose Garden.

    I call bullshit.

    Obama will push for a permanent temporary increase in taxes for fiscal responsibility.

  18. See all of you assholes around the web.

    1. What a piece of shit.

    2. By “assholes” I meant great guys with 12-inch penises.

  19. My buddy’s mother makes $83 /hour on the computer . She has been fired from work for 7 months but last month her income was $16557 just working on the computer for a few hours.
    you can check here ———- http://www.jobsfish.com

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