Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 09, 2004
POLITICS: Human Lives Are One Thing, But Money?
If you look at John Kerry's latest line of argument in yesterday's big Iraq speech, he gives a brief nod to the loss of life in Iraq:
He clearly is tiptoeing around saying whether those 1,000 have given their lives in vain or for a noble cause. But he then spends the bulk of the speech griping about the bill:
George W. Bush's wrong choices have led America in the wrong direction in Iraq and left America without the resources we need here at home. The cost of the President's go-it-alone policy in Iraq is now $200 billion and counting. $200 billion for Iraq, but they tell us we can't afford after-school programs for our children. $200 billion for Iraq, but they tell us we can't afford health care for our veterans. $200 billion for Iraq, but they tell us we can't afford to keep the 100,000 new police we put on the streets during the 1990s.
This is a deeply morally offensive line of argument. The decision to go to war means the decision to sacrifice the lives of some number of our soldiers. That's a very grave decision. If the decision is worth making - if it is worth asking even one young man or woman to lay down his or her life for the greater good of the nation - it is petty and ungracious to complain about the bill. Yes, it's a lot of money. But it's only money. And if it's what needs to be done to win the war, then we who have asked for those sacrifices should spend that money without complaint. Think the war was a bad idea? Fine, tell us that. Want money for job training and after-school programs? Fine, tell us how you'll cut domestic spending, raise taxes or borrow money to pay for it. But don't dare tell us that we should pay for those things by haggling over the price of national security while our troops are dying in the field.