Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Joe Scarborough: …How many more in this endless war must die?…

Morning Joe Scarborough of MSNBC has a 9/11 10th Anniversary song called “Reason to Believe”.

A decent song, especially if you like steel string banjo. I do. Typical country sentimentality. Appropriate. Patriotic.

However, there is a very curious line in the song:  “… In an endless war tell me how many more must die before my boy comes home …”

Listen: Reason to Believe by Joe Scarborough

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Truth in Spending: The Case for a War Tax

A Guest Blog by Aaron Alghawi

Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, is widely regarded as the father of capitalism, as well as a strong influence on the founding fathers of the United States. He believed in a war tax and once said that the willingness of citizens to be taxed is the greatest test of public support for war. I agree with such a philosophy. In a time of record deficits and debt, everything must be on the table in terms of cuts. But with a sluggish economy, we do need to raise revenues. Some 50% of Americans pay little or no income taxes. This must change. But could we have a more democratic tax system–for semantics I mean one based on political opinion at the individual level?

According to this USA today article,  the FY 2010 cost of our failed nationbuilding in Afghanistan was approximately $105 billion.According to a March 2011 ABC/Washington Post poll, which was quoted in this National Review post by Katrina Trinko:

“Nearly two-thirds of Americans think the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released today. Sixty-four percent think the war hasn’t been worth it, with 49 percent agreeing strongly.” And only “Thirty-one percent remain convinced that the war was worth fighting.”

For simplicity’s sake, lets just assume 2/3 of Americans oppose the war. If we had a balanced budget amendment and were required to use such a tax to continue operations in Afghanistan the coffers would dry up pretty quick unless it was a significant tax. If the 1/3 or so of Americans that support the Afghan war each donated $1000 extra to the IRS this year, we’d still be a few billion short of the cost necessary to pay. Based on our current population it’d be about $102,915,179,333.33

So, lets up it to $1100 each. That way we’d have a few billion extra to help with making sure the troops were well protected, or to pay off various war debts we have.

I’m against our continued involvement, but if I was rich, I’d make the donation for fiscal sanity’s sake!

I’m guessing not all of these pro-war people are wealthy. Since its 1/3 of Americans, let’s assume a normal distribution meaning a per capita income of around $47,000. That $1100 tax would hit pretty hard at your pocketbook on such an income. My father makes more than that and he feels the difference in such a tax hike or cut.

The Dems want tax hikes, but only on the “rich”. I say instead hike taxes with a fee-for-service concept. If you support the war, you pay an extra $1100 regardless of income. If you don’t want the government to cut your entitlement programs, be prepared to pay more money! Somebody else can do the math on those and then get back to you!

I bet when faced with such tax hikes, that 1/3 of Americans would start to shift toward opposing the war and all those people saying “don’t touch my [insert imperial federal government program here]” would start to reconsider the benefits of those programs vs. the cost. Americans lately seem pretty opposed to the national debt and like to call for cuts, until it touches something that personally affects them. There should be no sacred cows!

You can find Aaron on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TheOnlyAaronAlghawi


Bill4DogCatcher welcomes guest blogs on items of interest to the dogs in our community. Your blog item should be thoughtful and facts should have a basis. Appearance on Bill4DogCatcher.com does not represent an endorsement of either the idea or the content — but obviously I find your thought or thesis interesting or it wouldn’t be appearing. DUE TO COPYRIGHT issues: I really need your permission to publish a specific item on Bill4DogCatcher. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts please send an email to Bill@Bill4DogCatcher.com and send your item or tell me that I have permission to include a specific article from your blog, etc.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Honor And How We Want To Be Remembered

“It’s all about how you want to be remembered” as my buddy and war journalist Andrew Lubin says.

We must be better than those we oppose. We must hold to higher ideals.

Honor is not honor through brave talk, but brave actions.

If we want the world to follow then we must lead.

America at its best - Honor


Bill Golden, aka Bill4DogCatcher.com and JeffersonConservative.com, is a conservative independent observer of life, economics and politics in America. Bill votes for Democrats just as often as Republicans. If you want Bill’s vote then tell him what you are going to do for America and not your party. You can reach Bill at Bill@Bill4DogCatcher.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Afghanistan and Crystal Balls – Does Rachel Maddow Have A Point?

by Bill Golden
Bill4DogCatcher.com aka JeffersonConservative.com

Rachel Maddow recently wrote and aired her thoughts on Afghanistan in a piece called ‘Rachel Re: Life during wartime‘, aka ‘Nation building is not a military objective’.

The Maddow piece has many valid points.

Maddow clearly sees that staying has a limited chance of success, and that leaving also has its challenges … the primary challenge being:

“The consequences of there not being a real Afghan government are probably dire. Our desire for there to be a real Afghan government is strong and rational. But us just wanting it to be so does not mean that we are capable of making it so. To me, it seems likely that nothing we can do — nothing within our power as the United States of America — will result in there being a real Afghan government.”
— Rachel Maddow, July 15, 2010

My interpretation of what Maddow said: she would just walk away. That is what she is advocating.

While I believe that there is no definable sense of victory anytime soon in Afghanistan, I agree with Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan:

“We’re in Afghanistan because if we fail in Afghanistan, it will have a direct, immediate danger to us. It will increase al-Qaeda’s worldwide reach. They will come back with the Taliban in all likelihood, and they will gain a worldwide success which will be very dangerous for our national security interests. So we have to be clear. The American public needs to be clear on why we’re in Afghanistan. This is not Vietnam … This is not the Balkans. It’s not Iraq. This is quite different, and this one relates directly to our safety at home.”

The Taliban support and ally with Al-Qaeda even today. To leave Afghanistan in the forseeable future would be to see the Karzai government fall within 30-45 days at the maximum.

I don’t have an answer. But leaving Afghanistan now is not an option that I support.

We need a bit more analysis and thought and suggestions than ‘just walk away’.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Goodbye Charlie Wilson! 1933-2010

Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson had a reputation for liking women, good booze and it has been debated for decades as to whether he shared cocaine with two strippers in a hot tub in Vegas.

“Good Time Charlie” Wilson, 76, died Wednesday, February 10th, in Lufkin, Texas from an apparent heart attack.

Back during the Reagan years as we sternly warned the Soviets about repercussions in their war in Afghanistan, it was a liberal congressman from Texas that actually did something about it. Charlie Wilson almost singlehandedly is responsible for meaningful American support to combat the Soviets via backing the Mujaheddin.

For his efforts, Wilson, a 12-term congressman from Texas (1973-1997), inspired the non-fiction book and movie “Charlie Wilson’s War,” which told of his campaign to supply weapons to Afghan Mujaheddin fighters battling Soviet invaders. “Campaign” is a very mild description of his efforts to put weapons into the hands of Afghani.

Charlie broke all the rules:

  • Used his position on the House Appropriations committee to use CIA money to fund support and to buy weapons; hijacked $300 million of unused Pentagon money just before the end of fiscal year to buy even more weapons; pushed for the Afghani rebels to get direct access to one of our most advanced anti-aircraft STINGER missile systems, and much more.
  • In political life, he took 30 days leave from the Navy back in 1960 and went home to Texas to run for a state legislature seat. Military members are not allowed to run for political office but Charlie won and was seated anyway at the age of 27.
  • His real political career started when he was just 13. His neighbor, a city councilman, poisoned his dog. Farm families could get driver’s licenses at very early ages, and Charlie put his to good use. He went out and found voters that would not normally vote and got them to the polls — telling each that the city councilman running for election, his erstwhile neighbor, had poisoned his dog. The councilman lost.

As his reward for helping defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan by supporting the Mujaheddin, Wilson was the first civilian to receive the Honored Colleague Award by the CIA.

So now we bid you goodbye Charlie. Try to behave yourself … wherever it is that you find yourself in your next life.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2010 Dog Catcher Predictions – The Wars & Terrorism

==========
The War On Terror
==========

Al Qaeda has been reborn. The Muslim world will become more radicalized than ever. This is not an indictment of Islam. But if just 1-in-10,000 Muslims become radicalized then Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups can expect to have passive or active support worldwide by 10-15,000 motivated supporters.

The force multiplier for jihadists will be a continued demonstrated willingness to bring violence upon fellow believers that do not cooperate or appropriately support their operations.

Bottomline: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now a distraction. We can’t walk away but ‘winning’ is not a definable concept. Stopping Al Qaeda internationally will be as difficult as it was for pre-Soviet Russia in its multigenerational war against the Anarchists.

==========
The Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan
==========

Iraq

It will be a relatively quiet year in Iraq. Economic power has been transferred to a diverse set of Iraqi beneficiaries. It is in their economic interests to put downward pressure on jihadists. Late economic developments in 2009 shows the emergence of a national economic development strategy. An unexpressed part of that strategy is to encourage the U.S. to leave and to give it no reason to stay.

U.S. fortunes in Iraq are best illustrated by the fact that of 24 countries investing in Iraq, the U.S. investment level is barely 1% of total investments. China, France, Russia, South Korea, Thailand and Turkey have heavily directly invested in Iraqi economic development.

The U.S. relationship with Iraq exists almost exclusively within military terms, and Iraq sees the U.S. in the same way. See http://www.dfcinternational.com/files/DuniaPrivateForeignInvestmentinIraq2009UPDATE.pdf — Iraq is not Afghanistan, it is more like Lebanon: with moderation of the most negative internal influences then the nation thrives. Foreign assistance is needed only when those internal divisions get out of control.

Afghanistan

Al Qaeda will focus on demonstrating that it still exists and that it has diversified its operational base — the message being that large armed forces are of limited value in fighting it.

Despite the surge in Afghanistan the Taliban will thrive. It does not need to win military battles to control Afghanistan.

The Taliban share a common trait with Hezbollah: it seeks to win the trust and respect of the ‘core’ of local citizens through through the provision of stability, legal predictability, and essential social services.

Afghanistan’s current national and regional government have neither time nor trend on their side.

The alternative to the surge is a policy of long-term military presence. The Afghani cannot become a nation within a single generation, possibly not in 2-3 generations. An equilibrium of development across tribal areas may bring cooperation of locales, and opposition to the Taliban but there must be trust that we will be there for years to come. Won’t happen. We can’t afford it. The Taliban will wait us out; they will wait out the 2010 elections and the next major phase in their retaking of Afghanistan will be in 2011.

Two scenarios for 2010 are the most likely:

— Scenario #1: U.S. surge forces arrive, conduct fly-the-flag operations with minimal effort to confront Taliban and Al Qaeda forces. There will be some pushback but mostly Taliban and Al Qaeda will stay under the radar. Instead of direct confrontation, the Taliban will focus on small personal strikes against Afghan government targets to undermine confidence in it, and against NATO C4ISR facilities. The goal of both us and them will be to make it through 2010 with minimal confrontation.

— Scenario #2: U.S. surge forces seek out and seek to disrupt Taliban operational capabilities. The objective would be similar to Iraq where surge forces wanted it understood that they were omnipresent and would respond accordingly. In Afghanistan, this will be like throwing rocks at a hornets nest, where the hornets are able to cajole others into joining the fight. The Taliban will respond violently.

One Army estimate (Jan 4, 2010 Army Times) is that this scenario would cost the U.S. casualty rate to rise to possibly 500+ per month beginning in spring and running through next September. The Taliban will respond violently because it wants it understood that this is an all or nothing longterm battle. If it cannot be eradicated then Afghani should be on notice that it will outlast both the presence of NATO forces and the existence of the Karzai govenment. In the minds of the Taliban this is a win-win situation. Perverse but it is a strategy that could work.

The real war on terrorism and against Al Qaeda and friends will be outside of Iraq and Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda Inc. will seem to be everywhere. Al Qaeda wants to be viewed as active and operational across the face of the planet: the message being that they cannot be stopped.

Leave a comment

Filed under International

Sen. Lugar (R-IN) proposes setting aside health care debate to pay for war. Afghanistan surge cost: $1,000,000 per soldier; DoD budget not enough.

Dog Catcher’s thoughts: It is a bit strange that we are just now debating the war’s cost after 8 years of being in Afghanistan. Not only is it expensive but this is the highest year on record for casualties. Our troops are tired and it is also the highest year on record for military suicides.

The Bush Administration named its doctrine  the Long War (DoD PowerPoint explaining the doctrine), and expectations were that we would be fighting it 10 years, 15 years or perhaps even indefinitely. Someone should have done a cost estimate. Someone should have leveled with the American people that the mission may never be accomplished, but that once you start a shooting war it isn’t over until someone loses or someone quits.

If I were a Democrat or America First kind of person: I would say no to delaying the health care debate. No to delaying the things that we never find time to discuss or get around to deciding on domestic issues.  For the first time in 100 years we are actually close to having a health care vote in Congress. Theodore Roosevelt started the health care debate in 1909 and now in 2009 we want to delay due to national security costs? I would not trust Republicans to ever get around to revisiting the health care debate. Not some. Not at all. I would propose that we discuss national security costs instead.

If I were a Republican or national security before all else person:  I would make the argument that America is essentially bankrupt and unfortunately we are not in a position to just walk away. And the status quo is not working either. So we need to get serious about pay-as-we-go; not only for the war but for everything. In Afghanistan we need to either totally change our game plan or step up our current game plan, which unfortunately will be expensive: about $1 million per every soldier we send to surge in Afghanistan.

As for Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) idea that we should get the rest of the world in on paying for the war: great idea but each of the nations in Afghanistan is already paying their own way. And European taxpayers are already paying for a “NATO” war that many of them find hard to understand. Won’t happen. But there is always the chance that we could make a case for it: the Pentagon reports that foreign countries paid for 97% of 1990’s Gulf War.

Hmmm? What would you do?

Fox News reports:

President Obama on Tuesday is expected to outline his plan to send around 30,000-35,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan over the next 12-18 months. The prime time speech comes as the Senate begins debate this week on expanding coverage of health insurance to 30 million Americans for six years at a cost of $848 billion.

The cost of the war surge is being estimated at $1 million per soldier for one year on the ground — or $30 billion to $35 billion additional dollars next year based on the president’s expected announcement.

Opponents of the war say America can’t afford that cost.

“What’s happening now is not only a $12 trillion national debt, we’re in the midst of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The middle class is collapsing. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing wider,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. “So I’ve got a real problem about expanding this war where the rest of the world is sitting around and saying, ‘Isn’t it a nice thing that the taxpayers of the United States and the U.S. military are doing the work that the rest of the world should be doing?'”

Read Complete Story: Fox News Online

Leave a comment

Filed under International