Tuesday, December 1, 2009

No one need be surprised that President Obama is widening the war in Afghanistan. Even before he declared his intention to run for president he never made any secret of his belief that Afghanistan was the war of importance that had largely been forgotten by the Bush Administration’s obsession with Iraq.

So now we are to send 30,000 more Americans to fight for democracy to be instituted in a country with no history of it and purportedly to make the United States safer. It was the Bush Administration’s policy to prosecute war in Iraq and Afghanistan with no inconvenience to the American public. During a recession it is time for Americans to be inconvenienced by the war. I believe that the American government should return to selling war bonds to Americans. If our government feels that keeping the Taliban and Al-Qaida out of Afghanistan will make the United States safer it is time for us to directly support the war with our pocketbooks.

After 9-11 I thought the government would institute rationing of gas and spend real money in overcoming the Middle East’s real stranglehold on the United States—oil. I thought that we’d be called on to sacrifice to protect our country as my parents generation did during WWII, but President Bush didn’t want us looking too closely at the reasons we were going into Iraq or how he ignored Afghanistan. Maybe the time has come for us to step up to the plate.

Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee David Obey is leading an effort to impose a tax to pay for the war. According to The Week, Obey’s “Share the Sacrifice Act” would impose a 1% tax on income between $30,000 and $150,000 with wealthier American’s paying higher rates. The Bush policy of hiding what the war was costing in terms of dollars and lives (by not showing returning coffins) put Americans at a distance from the war. A war tax or campaign to buy war bonds would give the public a real sense of the cost of the war and of participating. Maybe it would meet with opposition, but it is time that Americans became aware, on a daily basis, of the cost of war. Only then will they decide to put their full weight behind the war or demand that the United States withdraw.