Friday, September 15, 2006

Cheer up! Congress is on the Job!

Take a look at our intrepid House of Representatives Armed Services Committee web page.

They've got a plan for Iraq! In fact, they've got an organized "Victory In Iraq" Caucus all set up and working to ensure our... well... Victory in Iraq!

Scroll down the page a little to the "Victory In Iraq Caucus" link for further details on all the excitement! I don't know about you, but I feel SO much better. Tip of the hat to Atrios for spotting this.

The Iraq War: We Told You So.

All right, I've tried to resist this for a long time. I really didn't want to do it. Well actually, I did. Here goes:

We Told You So. We Were Right. You Were Wrong.

The Iraq War is a devastating, bankrupting, economy destroying disaster. Each time you fill your tank up with $2 to 3+ gasoline, remember that:

We Told You So. We Were Right. You Were Wrong.

You don't remember that we warned you before the Iraq invasion? Well on October 14, 2002, six months before the invasion, the group I've been involved with, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, ran a full page ad in the New York Times entitled "They're Selling War. We're Not Buying". The ad spoke of how the war was marketed like a new product, and suggested that warning labels be attached to that product: "Warning: War Will Wreck the Economy"; "Warning: War Will Breed Terrorism"; "Warning: War Will Discredit America in the World's Eyes" and "Warning: War Will Take A Terrible Toll in Human Life".

In March 2003, BLSP marshaled 7 Nobel Prize winning economists and scores of other businesspeople to sign another New York Times full page ad, this time highlighting the economic cost of a war with Iraq. The message:

"Which is smarter? Spending $80 million a year to disarm Iraq peaceably -- or spending a thousand times more on a war? In a time of economic peril, such a crushing "war surcharge" could only be justified by a clear threat to our nation. Iraq presents no such threat."
On March 6, 2003 I had the opportunity to co-sign a letter to President Bush asking to speak with him concerning the economic consequences of war. That letter predicted lower stock prices, higher oil prices, lower consumer confidence, forced cuts in Federal state and local government programs, disrupted transportation, tourism and shipping and a backlash against American brands abroad. Of those predictions, all have come to pass at least somewhat except one: the stock market is higher than it was in 2003, partly fueled by huge gains in the defense and oil industries.

Of course, none of these ads and letters stopped the war from happening. BLSP didn't give up though. In March 2004 I had the privilege of representing BLSP in Washington unveiling a campaign kicked off by an ad in the New York Times signed by over 70 national business leaders titled: "Have you noticed what's happening to Chief Executives who lie?" and observed:

"We now know that the case the President made for his war was built almost entirely out of falsehoods."
Later, after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the dysfunctional Federal response became obvious to all, again it was business leaders that connected the dots with the Iraq War's drain on our resources, observing:

"They died because the infrastructure of this great nation has been allowed to go to hell in favor of war in Iraq. They died because the National Guardsmen who could have saved lives were shipped off to that war.

The myopia is mind-boggling. This very year hurricane protection projects around Lake Pontchartrain were slashed by 79%. Flood prevention projects in New Orleans took a 53% hit. The Corps of Engineers leader who complained was ousted. FEMA was gutted. Nothing not shaped like a Pentagon got adequate funding from this administration."
Now we see the result of this war. Cost estimates range in the trillions. Well over 2,600 American soldiers killed, as well as over 100,000 Iraqi civilians. Anti-American fervor is at a fever pitch in the Islamic world. We have lost all trace of respect and political capital in the world. We're generating hundreds of billions of new government debt owed to foreign governments largely as a result of this disaster. Oil is so expensive that when it drops below $70 per barrel, it's treated as good news. Sectarian violence and anarchy rules in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction found, save some leftover spoiled canisters that the Reagan administration sold to Saddam in the 80's.

We Told You So.

If you're a businessperson, go join BLSP so the message can continue. If you're not a businessperson, go join their sister group True Majority. Enough is enough.