Saturday, October 10, 2009
Let’s Not Forget Why We Don’t Listen to Hitchens
On September 7, everyone’s favorite “anti-theist” wrote an article that concluded with sappy pathos and not enough appeals to the U.S. Constitution or the appeals of the greater American population to justify the war in the Middle East. In his article, written for Slate magazine titled “Let’s Not Forget Why We Are in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Christopher Hitchens attempts to justify the wars with the following: “to make up for past crimes of both omission and commission and to help safeguard emergent systems of self-government that have the same deadly enemies as we do and to which…we gave our word.”
Perhaps I am misreading Hitchens, and he is merely reminding us of why we got in to Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. But either way, and unfortunately, this kind of justification completely ignores what the constitutional limits of government are and couldn’t pass the Preamble of the Constitution - which was created to “provide for the common defence” and “promote the General Welfare” of the United States of America. As you will soon find out, the wars in the Middle East have done the exact opposite.
There is no economic justification for ever going into Iraq or Afghanistan. Since 2001, both wars have costs U.S. taxpayers over $900 billion, according to estimates from the National Priorities Project. In an economy that has an incredible shrinking dollar, that is, the dollar’s purchasing power has decreased by nearly 95%, there is no reason to spend tax payer money overseas. Want to know how much the current dollar is really worth in 1776 dollars? According to MeasuringWorth.com, “$24.45 in the year 2008 has the same "purchase power" as $1 in the year 1776.” It seems to be grand theft what we have allowed the Federal Reserve to do.
But is seems to be even more of a grand theft to fall into the plan of Osama Bin Laden. It was, after all, his plan to bleed America to the point of bankruptcy. Well, it has been five years since he made that statement and we are broke.
Consider the estimated price of war as of September 7, 2009. In Pennsylvania, both wars have cost taxpayers $34,581,137,000 and counting. In Bucks County, both wars cost $2,506,115,000 and counting. In Philadelphia County, both wars cost about $3,275,865,000. These numbers should be alarming for the politically apathetic and involved.
Also, consider the report by the New York Times last March. They reported that a troop withdrawal would cost $388 billion for a quick withdrawal and a $867 billion price tag for a slower one. Both numbers are insanely large but anyone ought to choose the smaller amount - now!
So much for fighting those “deadly enemies” abroad, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces have strengthened while the U.S. forces have weakened. The deadliest attacks and the highest rates of death among U.S. soldiers have been at their highest in August. And, the violence and losses are expected to increase in coming months. Those fighting for the “common defence” are weakening ours and not helping the Afghans or Iraqis.
The war, like most of the government's projects, was supposed to start out small, short and effective but end ups becoming a bloated, unmanageable mess. It is, the calculating how effective the war will be, a more speculative practice than predicting the up and downs on the stock market – unless, of course, the seer is Libertarian financial expert Peter Schiff.
The war, with all its good intentions of helping safeguard “emergent systems of self-government” is not ours to fight. Iraqis and Afghans need there own Declaration and War of Independence. We are depriving them of that honor and in the process siphoning off billions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury unnecessarily.
Interestingly enough, within the pages of God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything Hitchens writes: “Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith…we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason.” So according to his own logic, he would distrust the very views he espoused last September; because his every justification contradicts the common sense of economics and stultifies reason.
This whole brouhaha makes me think back to the Republican campaigns of 2007 when Ron Paul was being interviewed by Sean Hannity about his position on U.S. foreign policy. Of course, Congressman Paul never supported the war whereas Hannity did. In that interview, Hannity attempted to justify U.S. intervention overseas by making U.S. non-intervention in foreign affairs seem immoral.
When Sean Hannity and Christopher Hitchens agree that America has a moral obligation to defend the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, you know from the agreement alone that something is fundamentally wrong with that picture. Let there be an end to war in sight.
Our text for Sunday School (also "The Confession of Faith and Catechisms") Biblical Theology Bites What is "Biblical Theology...