If you listen to Tea Party favorites such as congressional candidate Craig Huey, the reason why we have such a big deficit is that the U.S. is bankrupting itself with entitlements.
Yet one of the biggest causes of the economic mess we now face is the Republican-initiated Iraq War.
The death of Osama bin Laden shows more than ever how much of a waste our presence in Iraq has been.
The trail to bin Laden began with the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Pakistan by that country’s security forces, which turned him over to the United States. Mohammed’s interrogation produced other intelligence activity in Afghanistan and Pakistan that ultimately led to finding bin Laden.
Iraq did not figure into the process.
The Iraq War was unnecessary, justified by a threat of weapons of mass destruction that were never found. More than 4,444 U.S. soldiers have been killed with 32,051 seriously wounded. The war will cost more than $3 trillion, including billions that are unaccounted for, and it is financed with borrowed money.
Those numbers can be a little daunting, so let me put it another way: The war in Iraq will cost each American approximately $10,000.
That spending has directly affected America’s ability to fund social programs and to bring down unemployment by stimulating the economy with needed infrastructure improvements.
Yet the Republicans in Congress are focusing their attention on cutting discretionary domestic spending as a condition for raising the debt limit.
Huey himself backs continued high military spending.
The war in Afghanistan could still go either way. Both sides claim they are winning. If we cut and run now, the Taliban will fill the vacuum.
I am not optimistic. Afghanistan is a tribal country with one of the most corrupt central governments in the world. The drawdown of forces should start as scheduled this summer in Afghanistan, with a speed to be determined by conditions on the ground.
But when it comes to Iraq, one of the best ways we can cut the deficit is to maintain the timetable for the Iraqi drawdown with U.S. forces totally out of the country by year-end.
On July 12, vote for a congressional candidate who takes that unequivocal position.