Saturday, January 06, 2007

The War in Iraq Costs Too Much - Let's Leave Now


That's a pretty succinct summary of that proposition on the table at Economist's View.

Of all of the reasons to simply leave, that one seems a little hard to accept.

Wars are dirty things fought for many reasons... some noble and some shameful.

Sometimes the information available at the beginning of a war is revised by the end of the war... not because the information was lies at the beginning, but because it was wrong or partially wrong because good information was difficult to obtain.

Sometimes wars are won, but the peace is lost... not because the military is incapable, but because politics makes up impossible rules for the military to retain its victory.

Sometimes we are for the war before we are against it... we thought it would be like a TV mini-series that runs for a couple of weeks and then it's over, and now we are tired of the same plot.

Sometimes we believe we are being noble and self-sacrificing by going into war... and then we don't like the reality of the sacrifice and are willing to be less noble so that we can quit.

Sometimes we are philosophically against war of any kind... and all of the negative aspects of war gives us a sense of moral superiority to oppose it.
But of all of the reasons for getting out of a war, the crassest is that "it costs too much."


The ranting continues at Economist's Blog (90 comments at last count) and most of it has nothing to do with the original post about the VA having a difficult time facing it because of the number of soldiers being injured. The number of injuries from the war has been overstated in the original post and, conveniently, the fact that the VA will only have to treat a relatively small portion of the total injuries (because many are handled either in Iraq or at Walter Reed... has been ignored. However, addressing the personal insults addressed to anyone who doesn't believe that cost is the only consideration, I have posted the following there:

I see the steam is still billowing.

The point I was making about the VA is that it has a large budget, but the staff is stretched because so many veterans use the facilities for treatments that could be provided closer to their own homes by either hospitals, clinics or family doctors... if the VA had a system in place like medicare for those purposes.

Then more personnel would be freed up to work with soldiers who needed continued treatment... from Iraq who were among those not completely treated in Iraq... or those from any previous military-related injuries.

The rest of the ranting here is like listening to protesters who believe the louder they shout the more meaningful their sounds.

BTW, I'm satisfied that my military service was honorable and I can call myself patriotic. Even if you haven't done so and want to say that my support of the war effort is wrong, I won't call you unpatriotic. Your concern for what is happening is reasonable. But, while there are economic consequences surrounding war, it is not about economics... it is about politics... always has been and always will.

So trying to justify stopping a war because of economic consequences is blowing into the wind. War is about politics and will. If either of those falter, then the war is abandoned. If you are against the war, then it is enough to just say that and that your political efforts are aimed to end it immediately. There will be consequences, both economic and political in the long term for an immediate pull-out... and I don't believe even Nancy Pelosi will vote for that.

Can"t Find It?

Use the SEARCH BLOG feature at the upper left. For example, try "Global Warming".

You can also use the "LABELS" below or at the end of each post to find related posts.

Blog Archive

Cost of Gasoline - Enter Your Zipcode or Click on Map

CO2 Cap and Trade

There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

My photo
Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)