E.J. Dionne doesn’t really care whether we go to war with Iraq. Like the Democrats for whom he shills, his only real concern is whether President Bush pays a political price for going to war. This is evident from Dionne’s latest bit of carping, in which he attacks President Bush for his “resolute refusal to put a price tag on the war in advance.” This attack betrays the lack of seriousness about matters of war and peace that has plagued the Democrats for decades. War, and its aftermathc, is not another spending program. No one can predict what it will cost. Did anyone demand that Franklin Roosevelt say in advance of the fighting what World War II and the reconstruction of Europe and Japan would cost?
Not content with attacking the Administration for not quantifying the unknowable, Dionne goes on to criticize Vice President Cheney for refusing to enbrace predictions Cheney reasonably believes to be false. On “Meet the Press” Cheney stated that he didn’t think we would need to station hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq to maintain stability after the war. Without offering any evidence to contradict Cheney’s assessment, Dionne translates the Vice President’s statement to mean “don’t worry about it.” In other words, the Republicans are being dishonest unless they embrace the worst case scenarios that the Democrats so ardently hope come true.
Ultimately, for the Democrats like Dionne, it always comes back to higher taxes. Dionne argues that we cannot pursue an ambitious foreign policy and still cut taxes. He forgets about Ronald Reagan. Dionne contends that war entails sacrifice, which is true. But sacrifice does not entail the absence of economic stimulus and a stagnant economy. The stagnant economy is merely Dionne’s wish, so that President Bush pays a political price for the war.
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