Sunday, February 26, 2006

In the National Review, I just read a stinging rebuke to the Bush administration by William F. Buckley, Jr. who is now effectively calling for a "Cut and Run" policy in Iraq. (Although I borrow the words from Richard Reeves' column in Nov of '04).

Founder of the National Review, Buckley is a leading elder statesman of American conservatism. Along with recent utterances of the not so distinguished Bill O'Reilly, this is strong evidence of conventional wisdom sharply moving to the conclusion that Iran, terrorist recruiters, and radical Islamists are the prime beneficiaries of this--so far--most unwarranted, disastrous and deadly project advanced by the Neocons.

With this nightmare, the Bush Administration and its Republican acolytes in the Congress have already brought us: the needless human tragedy of almost 2,300 dead (as of 2/25/06) and over 16,000 wounded (approximately 7,600 unable to return to duty) among US military, well over 30,000 dead Iraqis, and at least $400 billion in debt (through US Fiscal '06) for US tax payers and our children.

In rough terms, that cost breaks down to about $4,000 per US household, or $1,540 per man, woman and child. For those of us with young children (under age 18) and college students (in total, there are about 92 million US citizens under age 21) that's about $4,345 more debt riding on each of their backs. Call it the Birth Tax or Death Tax or whatever you want, but that monetary cost, along with the eternal debt paid by the shattered victims, cannot be repealed - they are what economists refer to as sunken costs.

Since the Bush Administration and its Congressional Republican allies have chosen to finance the war with record tax cuts for the wealthiest among us, that $400 billion is now the fastest growing part of the country's total debt: it has now rocketed to almost $8.25 trillion.

For perspective: on Sept 30, 2001, the total national debt stood at just under $5.81 trillion. This more than $2.44 trillion increase (+41%, with no end in sight) has been added in less than 4.5 years under Bush!

For perspective: in the last 5 complete Fiscal Years years under the Clinton administration (from 9/30/1995 through 9/30/2000) there was a slightly more than $700 billion (or +14%) increase in the National Debt.

Back in 2003 and 2004, the good Doctor Dean was certainly right (as were others, of course) in clearly and forth-rightly warning us about the fact 'you can't trust the Republicans with your money'; about the deceit that accompanied the Administration's taking us to war on Iraq; about the disastrous consequences that would accompany our becoming bogged-down in this sectarian civil war; and about its dangerous implications for our national security interests and reputation seen in the broader context at home and abroad.

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