A Wall Street-Iraq war disconnect

Marketplace Staff May 2, 2007
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A Wall Street-Iraq war disconnect

Marketplace Staff May 2, 2007
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SCOTT JAGOW: President Bush said he’s willing to work on compromise legislation that pays for the Iraq war. But he vetoed the emergency war supplemental legislation on his desk that sets a timetable for U.S. withdrawal. Commentator Ben Stein says there’s another way to end the war.


BEN STEIN:

Here’s how it goes: The nightly news grimly reports that the terrorists in Iraq or Afghanistan have detonated a bomb that has killed seven American soldiers. A few seconds later, the announcer says that the Dow closed at yet another record high, and we see men and women cheering at the rostrum of the New York Stock Exchange.

This combination of stories tells us exactly what’s wrong here in the U.S. of A. The nation is not fighting the war on terrorism. The nation is partying hearty and living it up — at least the high end of the nation, money wise.

The word “sacrifice” never even comes up. The grunts and jarhead Marines who don’t get a hot meal for days on end, and who sleep in their vehicles, and never get a night without being mortared or sniped at — they’re fighting the war. The women whose husbands come home in a box (or not at all), the kids who will never see mom or dad again, the parents who invested a lifetime in bringing up their kids right — they’re fighting the war.

Our enemy is united against us. If we keep acting as if we can win this war just by sending over the other guy’s son or daughter, while we pay attention to our tax cuts and the stock market, we’re on a long, disastrous downhill slide.

Instead of all of that cheering on Wall Street for the already rich getting richer, let’s see some solidarity with the guys whose blood and lives defend our economic interests around the world, safeguard the oil supply, maintain Pax Americana… to at least some extent.

The military builds the wall Wall Street and the whole economy play games behind. Let’s start thinking about a draft where the children of the investment bankers might even have to go fight. This might concentrate our thinking about the war considerably and might make us a bit more cautious next time.

Right now, the frantic making of money here at home while the other guy’s kid gets his head blown off in Ramadi is not a pretty picture, or a winning picture.

JAGOW: Ben Stein is an actor, writer, lawyer and economist.

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