Make Some Hard Choices Mr. President
Where it hurts
Winning the war in Iraq was once predicted by a high level administration official to be a slam dunk. Not so. It has stubbornly persisted for two and a half years with no end in sight. As in all wars, the burden of this conflict falls disproportionally on the young soldiers who patrol hostile enemy territory, exposing themselves to sniper fire and booby traps. Casualties sustained by American troops continue to mount. Over 90% of the total number of these casualties occurred since the day that Baghdad fell and the administration announced that the war had been won.
Then of course there is the killing of tens and possibly hundreds of thousand of non-combat Iraqui citizens and the cruel disruption of their family lives. This is a subject rarely touched upon in any of the President's public pronouncements.
You're alright Jack
There are many who have profited by this war. They are principally wealthy individuals and corporations who have influence with cronies in high places --- they include the Haliburtons, the munitions and weapons manufacturers, and long time friends and former colleagues in the petroleum industry.
As for the average Amereican, until this summer the burden of the Iraq war did not seriously interfere with his or her daily life. Despite the ongoing carnage, President Bush studiously avoided any hint that the general public might be asked to make sacrifices.
Reality sets in
But now that gasoline prices are spiraling upward in the direction of four dollars a gallon, the President is hearing loud outcries of protest from the electorate. His popularity is waning even among his strongest supporters. Now is his opportunity to show political courage and tell all Americans that they must be willing to make painful sacrifices in the name of patriotism. He should begin by urging Congress to enact legislation mandating the rationing of gasoline based upon genuine need. A program of this kind was extremely effective during the Second World War and it can be improved upon and made even more effective. Secondly, stronger tax incentives should be put in place to encourage the purchase of hybrids and other vehicles that consume less gasoline. Conversely the outrageous and senseless tax write-offs given to owners of oversized S.U.V.'s should be repealed.
Perhaps these mesures will make Americans more likely to feel they are participating in the war effort. It should also cause them to reflect upon the price that must be paid to finance its continuance.
Note --credit for cartoon goes to Bill Mauldin
World War II cartoonist ---1921-2003)