Nobody wants to admit it, but America is addicted to war. Bush’s debacle in Iraq only exacerbates that fact. America is truly in the war business. So many people and so much money are funneled through this effort that any “exit strategy” from Iraq is bound to have a deleterious effect on the American economy.
The fundamental problem with an economy based on war is that it creates no useful “product” as an end result. Spend 600 Billion dollars on a war in Iraq and you end up with thousands of dead americans, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi’s, countless more humans crippled physically or emotionally, a pile of body bags, and a series of large smoking holes in the ground. (Not to mention the enmity and distrust of a large part of the globe…)
Take that same 600 Billion dollars and put it into Health Care, Education, Environmental and Energy Research, or infrastructure and you are going to see concrete, material improvements in the quality of life for you and your neighbors. Ignoring the greater moral issues of who is entitled to kill who and why, even a simplistic examination of the purely economic impact of our current course should show anyone with even a shred of logic that we are ignoring the most basic tenet of commerce, the exchange of value for value. Our government is spending mountains of money and receiving little of any use for the money. Primarily, they are moving that money from the hands of our general citizenry into the pockets of those who profiteer from war.
We need to transition our economy away from feeding off the war machine and into vectors that improve the quality of life of those of us who are paying the bills.
I don’t mind paying taxes when they provide me with clean water, better roads, effective schools, and a business environment that creates and holds good jobs within our community. I do mind the government spending half of the money they collect on military actions halfway around the globe, loosely trying to justify them by linking the people of Iraq to a terrorist act that we know full well they had no part in.
But the fact remains, War is so deeply ingrained in our economy that we can’t just stop feeding the beast, we have to find a way to rechannel the silent army of industry that supports our addiction into efforts that make our quality of life better. We have to retask the creativity and hard work that made America the most effective killing machine in the history of the world into efforts that can make us smarter, healthier, more resilient and tolerant, and prepares our children and our children’s children for the challenges they face in the millennium to come. I can’t help but believe those war workers will do an even better job when they are working towards a goal that they can take more pride in.
If you don’t believe or understand the truly monumental amount of money we are wasting, check out these links: