Today on Fox News Channel, I caught a brief interview with retired general Alexander Haig where he was deriding the Congressional naysayers and media pundits who chatter on about the ‘terrible cost’ of this war, as if were some high-tech peacetime procurement program. I certainly do not idolize Haig, we have had plenty of differences in the past. But, in this case, he was ‘right on the money.’
Rather than spending too much, our penny-pinching approach to the prosecution of this war to date has gone beyond simply detracting from its swift completion; it has actually served to give aid and comfort to the enemy by indicating that we lack resolve to persevere. Just look at the numbers (as percentage of US GDP):
Cost of Iraqi campaign – 0.5 (his figure)
Total defense spending – 3 (my figure)
Reagan era defense spending – 8 (mine)
Korean conflict – 15 (his)
WWII – 135 (both)
The fact is, the US can pay the estimated $100bn over the next five years ourselves without breaking a sweat. And it would be worth it to avoid getting the likes of the UN and the EU involved. At the same time, we should be staging invasion forces in Iraq ready to march into Iran and Syria, as well as a couple of carrier battle groups off the Korean peninsula.
This is war… it is time we started treating it as such.