Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Cost Of War

This Larry Kudlow piece touches on one aspect of a point I've always tried to make in discussions regarding the justifications for the war in Iraq specifically and the war on terror in general. Here, he focusses on the literal cost of the war, that is, the moolah. I thought it was a good point to make to those who believe that the money spent in Iraq is a major factor in whatever economic woes the left believes have now befallen us. Yet, as Kudlow points out, the cost is quite minimal. Even in our current situation, our economy is still strong. Right now we're experiencing a mere hiccup in the grand scheme of things. Elect the wrong candidate (that being Hillary or Barry) and we're likely to go from hiccup to coughing up blood. (Yes. With Barry's notion of taxation, it can get that bad. Hill's no better.)

But I, like many, am also concerned about the costs in terms of lives lost or negatively altered due to injury. This, however, to the chagrin of the Bush-bashers and other lefties unable to see clearly, is still, by any standard applied, far lower than anyone could have predicted. And the unfortunate numbers of lost and injured are higher than they likely would normally be were it not for our compassionate regard for collateral damage. This reduces the lefty argument to "any life lost is too many". And I agree. The three thousand lost on 9/11 was definitely too many. The lives lost in the first WTC attack was too many. The life of Leon Klinghoffer was too many.

So the question to the lefties is this: What's it worth to you to insure that we lose no more, that this evil is put down and made impotent, that those under the yoke of Islamofascism have at least some of the benefits we enjoy, including the benefit of being able to defend themselves against oppressive scumbags like Hussein, the Taliban, and others like them?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not surprisingly poor analysis from clownhall. And 1% of GDP not a big deal? Tell yourself that when people are voting in November on the heels of the announcement that the economy has contracted for the second consecutive quarter. Besides, some have put the cost closer to $3 trillion.

If you want to complain about candidates and their policies, then perhaps McCain can crack an econ. book. Seeing as he, by his own admission, doesnt understand the subject.

Marshall Art said...

Not surprisingly a real Bozo calls an educated and respected source a clown. Perhaps you can put up your sheepskin against Kudlow's, wiseass. You don't seem to understand what "1%" means laid upon the big picture. Krusties like yourself get your panties twisted over the cost of this war (and yes, free would be best), and then someone with a brain and real knowledge explains how small that cost is compared to our overall picture, and you still bitch? Get a freakin' clue.

"Besides, some have put the cost closer to $3 trillion."

It's still compared against the 63 trillion and not the burden jokers like yourself present in your attempts to discredit Bush for fighting scumbags you like to pretend don't exist or can't hurt us (as if 9/11 never happened and can't happen again).

Hashfanatics (a real clown who shows up here on occasion) like yourself can't crack wise about McCain, but he knows enough to keep the tax cuts in place and he knows enough to understand the greater damage an Obama or Clinton will cause the economy.

Contractions and expansions happen in every economy. It takes more than a couple of bad quarters to wreck the economy and two in a row doesn't mean we're in the tank yet. Vote Dem and get ready to flush.

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about? I've really said very little. Yet, it seems to be your panties that are twisted. Really, what are we going to do about the cost of the war? Seems like not a whole lot.

Larry Kudlow is a TV personality. If you like to watch cartoons, then feel free to get your economic advice from Bugs Bunny.

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Marshall Art said...

anon,

What would you like to see done about the cost of war? Your gray haired grandmother needs to deal with the growing crime rate in her neighborhood. Are you going to bitch about the cost of security devices or the cost of moving her to a better neighborhood? I hope not. Likely you'd spend what is necessary to assure her security. So sad you're willing to nickel and dime the security of your country and it's allies.

Do you mean to tell me Kudlow was a game show host who learned a little economics to get a different TV gig? That's like saying Dan Marino is just a TV personality who does football pre-game shows. Give me a break.

Marty said...

I'm not so much concerned with the cost of the war in dollars as I am with the cost of what it is doing to our troops and their families.

The reason more have not been killed is because of the advances in medical care and treatment on the ground and the speed at which we can get the injured to a medical facility. Much is owed to the skill of the doctors and nurses. Anyone who has seen "Baghdad ER" knows the valient and heroic efforts of our medical personnel. But even they are under a great deal of stress, of which, over time, takes its toll.

The severity of the injuries are like nothing we've seen before. Extensive physical damage and trauma. Traumatic Brain Injury is the "signature" wound of this war. And it is not always detected until the one affected begins to exhibit extreme behavioral and mental problems. And even then they are most always diagnosed as having a "personality disorder" rather than a brain injury. Without the proper diagnosis and treatment, they and their families are left in desperation to fend for themselves in a VA system that is underfunded and understaffed.

Without a draft the same troops are sent over there again and again and again. Extention, stop-loss, and multiple deployments are taking their toll mentally and physically on our troops and their families. With no end in sight......what's to become of them?

So I ask you a question. How much burden are you willing to place on the shoulders of the 1% of Americans who are the boots on the ground before you say enough is enough?

Marshall Art said...

Marty,

Thanks for stopping by. You show a lot more spine than does the boorish Alan. Good for you. You are welcome any time at all.

As this post, or rather the article on which it is based, is focussed upon the financial costs, I felt the need to address that first. But as you've read, I, too, am not ignorant of the cost in lives lost an altered, nor am I willing to overlook them. Thus, I feel that that cost is at least equally important to consider in determining the limits of our resolve. Now to your points:

I believe another good reason why more have not been killed is due to our superior ability militarily. The training and capabilities of our military is far higher than those with whom we are engaged. It is not merely dumb luck that protects our troops, but their own selves.

"The severity of the injuries are like nothing we've seen before."

I don't see how this is possible. Being blown to bits is being blown to bits. To introduce biological or chemical agents to the mix would indeed bring about new challenges, they have not been the concern at first feared. We need to resist the urge to hype up the difficulties beyond the level of challenge they truly are in order to more accurately gauge just where we are in all this.

I'm sure enlistments would be even higher were it not for the intensely negative rhetoric of the left. The stop-loss, extensions and multiple deployments are a unfortunate result of this. As it is, re-enlistment is higher than they've ever seen, and most of the branches are reporting that their enlistment quotas are being met. There are mixed reports, however, on both sides of this issue, but I've no doubt the level of anti-war rhetoric is a large factor regarding who is fighting and for how long.

So to your question, we must first address whether or not what we are doing is worthy of any sacrifice, and if it is, can there be any such limits as you would place upon them? I would prefer that not one more soldier, of ours or our allies, should even wrinkle his pants. But how long do we tolerate the mindset of those who feel that their own deaths are more glorious when taking the lives of others, and with that mindset, go about wreaking the kind of havok for which they have long since made themselves notorious? Cops and civilians die as a result of crime. Should we assume the same attitude and simply allow crime to flourish, or should we continue to fight against it? How is it different here? Because some feel that Bush was wrong to attack a sadist who we now know more certainly than at the start of the conflict that he was a major supporter of terrorism? Based on 1400 years of history, I agree with Bush that this well be a long struggle. So the question is really one of when do we give up the fight against true evil? For that is the enemy here. One way or the other, we are a target of these people. It won't stop with the withdrawal of our troops. It will only follow us home.

Marty said...

I wish my son had time to address some of your comments. He knows much more about the situation than me since he was in Iraq for a total of 27 months, both in combat his first tour and working in the Tactical Operation Center his second tour.

"Should we assume the same attitude and simply allow crime to flourish, or should we continue to fight against it? How is it different here?"

Yes we should assume the same attitude in that terrorism is a crime and should be dealt with as a crime, an international crime at that.

But therein lies the difference, we aren't dealing with it as a crime. We are dealing with it militarily.

It ain't workin'.

How many soldiers or marines have you talked to about this? Not the ones who are given talking points by the government that you see on TV, but the actual boots on the ground...the grunts? I'm not talking about the anti-war crowd either.

I would also think that in order for your military training to work you would need a clear objective and know who your enemy is. You've got neither in Iraq. Just ask a soldier who kicks in doors for a living or rides around town in a humvee.

And as far as it following us home. I seriously doubt that.

Marty said...

What my son stated regarding re-enlistment and retention:

"The reason why the Army is able to press the fact that many soldiers have "re-enlisted" which "shows that the morale is high and soldiers enjoy doing their jobs", is that they're forgetting to mention how they are getting those high numbers. The fact is the majority of soldiers re-enlisting are not doing it because they want to, but because there really isn't any other option. With stop-loss keeping so many soldiers in beyond their dates, Retention is selling the fact that since they are going to get stop lossed anyway they might as well get a bonus by re-enlisting. The Army has made the process so convincing that many are doing it because they feel if they are going to get screwed they might as well profit from it. That's something you won't hear coming out of the Army's mouth tho :)"

Marshall Art said...

All I've heard from the military on this is what I've heard through other sources reporting it. In those cases, they only state that re-enlistment is high.

I don't doubt that there are others who would side with your son. I think we both err in believing that only the side we support is perfectly considering every nuance of the situation. What I don't believe is that every soldier is privvy to every piece of info that would enlighten them on the overall picture. But I do believe that there are plenty, if not most, who believe in what they are doing and want to continue the mission until victory. There are tons of guys blogging from there, and I'm sure some are in your camp. There is also people like Michael Yon and others who report from there and sing a tune a bit different than that which they sang before going.

As stated here and elsewehere, there have been naysayers speaking against every war in which the USA has been engaged, beginning with the first. There can be problems with people being too close to the events to be objective. I think McCain is one of those when he speaks about torture and Gitmo. And of course there are far too many not close enough.

But I believe our purpose is a sound and noble one. It's difficult for someone in my position (too old to be allowed to fight--never enlisted when I was young enough, not understanding why I should at the time) to argue in favor of any war, but it seems to me that this one need not require deep thought. If, God forbid, Obama becomes president, he will never accomplish anything talking to the real scumbags responsible for the carnage of the Middle East. The reason is that these people are indeed evil and that they are not interested in our opinions. We can't wait around until everything is perfect for us to do something about such people who threaten the world.

Marty said...

Marshall,

In the words of Chris Cooper, Wiscasset Newspaper Columnist:

"We are most of us too many years and miles removed from what war is and does to be able to feel its heat and recoil from it".

When you've held in your arms enough grieving mothers, when you've looked into the tortured eyes of enough vets, when you've placed one too many flags in the ground as a memorial, when you've looked into the eyes of a child whose father couldn't live with what he'd done so took his own life...when you've done that enough you no longer see war as a way to bring peace.

Jesus said to love our enemies and repay evil with good.

Violence begats violence. It never leads to peace.

Anonymous said...

"So sad you're willing to nickel and dime the security of your country and it's allies."

haha.. really? Thats why you go to war with the army you have. Not the one you might wish to have.

Besides, what does my dead grandmother have to do with anything? Honestly, I dont worry about her getting blowed up.

"That's like saying Dan Marino is just a TV personality who does football pre-game shows."

I think you may be learning.

Marshall Art said...

But apparently, you're not.

Both Kudlow and Marino are not TV personalities, but experts in their field who have TV gigs because of that expertise. The fact that they are on TV in no way dimishes their knowledge on the subjects they discuss there, and to take the position that listening to them is folly shows a great lack of intelligence on your part.

"haha.. really? Thats why you go to war with the army you have. Not the one you might wish to have."

This is an incredibly silly retort. There's an obvious distinction between fighting the threat NOW with what one has on the one hand, and on the other, spending whatever it takes to get the job done.

But hey, thanks for playing and you're welcome to give it another try once you've cleaned up.