POLS' WARS WAGED ON ALL FRONTS.
SENATE Majority Leader Harry Reid triggered a flurry of partisan attacks and counterattacks with his statement that "this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything." However, while it is being given little attention, perhaps most striking about his assertion that we ought to abandon rather than escalate a war that cannot be won is how inconsistently it is applied. There are a host of government sponsored domestic "wars" to which that same argument applies, yet they get escalated rather than ended.
This is illustrated by some politicians' intense opposition to the Iraq war, because of its negative consequences, while at the same time, those same people call every new domestic policy initiative of theirs a "war," in order to galvanize support for it.
We have heard that "war is hell," "all's fair in love and war," and "war is politics by other means." We heard that the 1970s oil crisis was the moral equivalent of war (although government price controls did far more damage than OPEC, making one wonder who declared war on American citizens). And government wars have been declared on every problem.
Unfortunately, however, the imagery of urgency, resolve and "giving all we've got" for the good of the country doesn't match the policies actually implemented or their effects on taxpayers' pockets and citizens' liberties. Rather, declarations of such "wars" are often just dramatic rhetoric used to promote politicians' pet programs, which frequently do more harm than good, such as the vast invasions of property and privacy, as well as increases in violence and corruption, triggered by the un-winnable but frequently escalated "War on Drugs."
War imagery is invoked to show determination to win. But as Sen. Reid and others assert with regard to Iraq, shooting wars have no winners; just those who lose more and those who lose less as casualties mount. However, the casualties caused are the last thing "War on X" supporters ever discuss, although any honest evaluation would find many casualties, as with large public housing projects which became "instant slums" or the litany of failed training programs promoted as part of the "War on Poverty."
Wars also end with a formal surrender. But government wars on poverty, drugs, etc., can never be won in a similar way. If a belief that the war in Iraq cannot be won is a reason to end it, it is equally a reason to end those domestic wars.
Because of its powerful emotional impact, war imagery and language is also abused in other ways that would make George Orwell proud.
We hear of trade wars, in language implying that they are contests between domestic and foreign producers, so that protectionism for "our" firms against "their" firms sounds sensible. However, both buyers and sellers expect to gain by trading, or they would not voluntarily participate, so trade creates wealth. (This is why every defensible study of protectionism finds that it destroys wealth). Protectionism, in fact, is an alliance between domestic producers and the government declaring war on domestic consumers to force them to pay higher prices.
Those in Washington who constantly reiterate their opposition to a war they say can't be won are the same people who propose wars to "solve" every other crisis (often caused by their "solution" to some earlier alleged crisis). But those policy wars are never won, either. Rather being given up as un-winnable, they get escalated, expanding government encroachment on our shrinking freedoms.
And adding more government intervention in virtually every aspect of our lives because politicians who oppose war call everything else a war cannot stand up to careful examination.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Apr 25, 2007|
|Previous Article:||TRACK AND FIELD NOTEBOOK: STRATEGY VITAL IN CANYON-HART MEET.|
|Next Article:||BELTWAY HELD UP ARGUMENT FOR IRAQ WAR.|