As Coalition troops march into Baghdad to begin their regency we think it is important to congratulate President Bush on a successful diplomatic victory. He, Prime Minister Blair and Secretary General Anon have rid Iraq and the Middle East of a loathsome tyrant and given the Iraqi people a chance to chart their own course.
But pardon us for not concurring in the exaltation of Mr. Bush as the modern incarnation of Churchill. As this page has noted in the past, the toppling of one odious regime is not the end, but the end of the beginning. Much work remains to be done both in Iraq and in Palestine. The Middle East is a safer place today in the same sense that Queens is safer than Manhattan but not as safe as Lake Ronkonkoma. And it’s worth noting that the massive military deployment begun in January continues to this day, despite the grisly sight of Hussein’s body being violated by the Iraqi people.
It is understood that once set in motion the massive American deployment machine can not just stop and turn on a dime. But it is a measure of the Pentagon’s preference for overkill that the public calls by analysts for a "light" option were disregarded by the old line thinkers on the Potomac. Thousands of citizen soldiers will be condemned to spend weeks, perhaps months, in tent cities while transportation priorities are reversed. And what of the vast stores and supplies purchased and issued in anticipation of D Day?
According to the Center for Liberal Priorities the amount of money spent on purchasing rations for one Army division in the desert of Kuwait could feed the homeless of New York State for six months.
More importantly is how the President proposes to pay for his victory. The signs are clear that the President will insist on pushing through his irresponsible tax cuts despite the need to redeploy and replenish our forces, perhaps in anticipation of action on the Korean Peninsula. The wise political course is to buy votes for the 2004 Presidential election at the expense of our children. The course of a leader would be to postpone any further tax cuts and enact the Democrat’s proposed stimulus plan. This will have the benefit of being both fiscally responsible and simulative to the economy.
But take the day Mr. Bush, to savor your triumph. Tomorrow, please get back to work being the President of all the people.