Critical Section

Pick a War

Tuesday,  09/23/03  11:35 PM

Halley writes Pick a War, any War.  "Do you really think Bush's economic war on the middle class, is any less lethal than his military war?"  So, I really like Halley, but this is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start.

First, let’s be clear that the war in Iraq saved lives.  Many.  So far about 400 coalition soldiers have died.  Maybe 10,000 Iraqi soldiers died, and about 2,000 civilians have died in war-related action.  That’s horrible, but before the war over 15,000 people were being killed every month in Iraq.  Not dying, being killed.  So the Iraq war is not lethal.  You don't have to agree with the war or feel that it was worth spending money or lives fighting, but this is a fact.

Second, let’s be clear that the U.S. economy is not killing anyone.  Maybe metaphorically, but hardly in actual fact.  This is a crummy analogy.

Third, Bush hasn't vaporized any jobs.  The economy has done that without any explicit action or lack of action from him.  You know what the biggest thing slowing down our economic recovery has been?  9/11.  Yep, the terrorist attacks did a huge amount of damage to the economy, ask anyone who works for an airline, or a car rental company, or a hotel chain.  Or a software company.  Far more than $87B in damage, in fact, probably close to ten times that much.  Preventing further attacks is a sound investment.  You can argue about whether the investment will pay off – maybe you'd rather invest the $87B in schools, or tax relief, or business stimulation – but you can't argue with the economic logic of trying to prevent further terrorism.

(Oh and by the way, the economy is recovering.  We had this huge bubble, remember, and it popped?  And that surely wasn't Bush’s fault.  The market was already heading for the tank when he took over.)

I first wrote this in an email exchange with Halley.  She disagrees - obviously! - but was respectful about it.  My first email to her was not.  So sorry, Halley, and thanks for being an adult.

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