I know Jeb Bush seems to have no chance of becoming President, but stranger thngs have happened. And the prospect sends a chill up my spine.
Jeb appeared on my TV screen yesterday, his round spectacles and pudgy face making him look like a benign professor, and calmly proposed another full-scale war in the Middle East.
I never thought I would see the day when a presidential candidate proposed another Iraq War – let alone someone named Bush.
Of course Jeb is not alone in this. Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio – just about all of the Republican candidates – share the lust for more bloodshed and more ruinous spending in the Middle East.
Where are those “boots on the ground” to come from, I wonder. America’s armed forces are already stretched thin. The only way to wage another Iraq War effectively would be to reinstate the draft.
Are Americans prepared for that?
Remember Vietnam? Remember how it set Americans against each other? The scars of that conflict still have not all healed.
Of course, the people proposing another war will not be putting their boots on the ground in Syria or Iraq. Their boots will be under a desk in Washington, safe from improvised explosive devices. The boots they send to the Middle East will belong to the children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters and parents of ordinary Americans.
These ordinary Americans are already paying a heavy price for past Mideast wars – wars that have made some lucky people filthy rich while leaving so many others grieving their dead. And so many others maimed or mentally impaired – or both.
Arms merchants, of course, made a killing – literally and figuratively.
You may also have read about the infamous Blackwater contractors who profited grotesquely during the Iraq conflict. And about Dick Cheney’s former corporation, Halliburton, which reaped billions from reconstruction contracts. But they were just two examples in a vast array of private interests that lined their pockets while thousands of American boots marched to their deaths.
War offers so much opportunity for looting.
In an article for TomDispatch.com, republished in Salon.com, this morning, Tom Engelhardt describes the massive waste and fraud that has accompanied America’s Mideast adventures.
“A new report finds as much as 60 billion taxpayer dollars have been lost to fraud and waste in U.S. reconstruction,” he reports.
Yet the Republican candidates want more war in the Mideast – the same Republican candidates who want to cut spending on food stamps and Medicaid.
It’s a strange age we live in. That’s for sure.