Okay, it seems I have sat down in front of the TV before and heard another President or two or three or maybe even four tell me it’s time to send in the troops. No matter how many times I hear that speech it’s always the same: the bad guys are at the door and if we don’t act now look out! And they always assure us that their particular war, wherever it may be, is not going to be another Vietnam. Funny how that reference means absolutely nothing to anyone under thirty!
President Obama did however make one statement last night that no other President has ever made. That being: Let it be understood that the reason we are doing this is for our own self-interest. Our own protection and not necessarily that of the country or countries we find ourselves heading into. The altruistic idea that we are the police of the world and that we are heading off into battle to save the poor and down trodden of another country just because we are the good guys went right out the window and well it should have a long time ago.
However in saying that, he basically did what no other President has had the chutzpah to do before. He put the definition of what success will be in our hands. If we are going there to make our world safer, then we are the ones who determine that, not someone else. An exit strategy that not only makes sense, it has one wondering why the last bozo in office didn’t come up with it.
The idea of never ending war has left us with a population that has written off all of these combat issues as just one more story on the nightly news. We rally around sending boxes of cookies to our troops for Christmas, and lament they are gone, and then get on with worrying about our jobs and putting food on our table.
Big numbers of what the costs will be for expanding the war don’t even faze us anymore. Numbers ranging from thirty billion a year to a hundred billion for ten years numb us to the bone. If we paid every one in that country a salary and threw up a couple hundred Wal Marts and shopping Malls, we would come out cheaper than what they are asking for to fight this war. And if we said the stores could only sell our products we could in effect save our economy and so many American lives giving us all a win win ! But alas, the war machine that is America now, wants war, and that is what it will get.
As for fiscal responsibility that is a word that over the last forty years of spending like there is no tomorrow and no bottom line in a checkbook have left us numb to what anything costs anymore, Both Republicans and Democrats are to blame and unfortunately the only way of changing that perception is to go through a real recession. Not one in America but in Washington! Sadly they control the money, so their pay stays high, insurance benefits stay paid and their retirements plump. No chance of Christmas being bleak there!
It might be interesting to hear a President come on TV and state that while we need to go to war, we just can’t afford to do that right now. But that is never going to happen, nor are we going to sell our way out of this mess by increasing our markets. When it comes to war, there are never any happy endings. Much more sadly, never any empty checkbooks to pay for their either….