Upon closer examination
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union understood that if either nation used a nuclear weapon the other nation would retaliate in kind. Perhaps it would be a one nuke exchange. But more than likely it would have been total thermonuclear war, which would in effect have terminated civilization as we know it. That hypothesis became officially accepted military doctrine and was known as the “Mutual Assured Destruction” theory, aka MAD. MAD reflected the idea that one’s population could best be protected by leaving it vulnerable so long as the other side faced a comparable vulnerability. In short, whoever shot first died second.Do we face a similar situation regarding the war on terror? The United States is going to win the war on terror, make no mistake about that. But whether it takes 15 years or 50 years will be determined in part by the amount of assistance we receive from the U.N. and the world community. The U.S. cannot win the war on terror in the short term (10 to 15 years) without the full assistance of the world community. But there’s a Catch-22 in the current situation. It appears that the United States will not receive the assistance necessary unless or until terrorists actually use a WMD because the use of a WMD would make the consequences to the world greater than the perceived benefits of appeasement.If one accepts the fact that the United States cannot “win” in the short-term unless or until terrorists use a WMD, then it follows that terrorists cannot “lose” so long as they refrain from using one. Therefore, in a very perverse way, it may not be in a terror organization’s best interests to use such a weapon. So does that make us “safe” from a WMD, as was the case with the Mutual Assured Destruction presumption?A typical American three-bedroom home in 1945 cost under $5,000. Today a three-bedroom homes costs upward of $200,000. Similarly, what was the cost of fighting World War II (in 1945 dollars) as a percentage of the 1945 GDP? Now let’s ask ourselves how much the war on terror costs as a percentage of our 2004 GDP? Framed within that context, is it reasonable to use the argument that the Bush tax cuts are unprecedented during wartime? While the matter of “unprecedented” is accurate, one can also make the argument that it’s disingenuous and purposely dishonest. Only time will tell if the president’s tax cuts were ill-advised, but comparing the logistical underpinnings of World War II to the war on terror is highly inaccurate and therefore attempting to portray Bush’s tax cuts as somehow detrimental to the U.S. because of the cost of the war on terror is grossly misleading. There is no need for millions of soldiers, thousands of aircraft or hundreds of ships. Simply stated, the war on terror does not present the logistical challenges on anywhere near the scale of World War II, and trying to compare costs as they relate to tax cuts is comparing apples and oranges.While we’re on the topic of the wisdom of tax cuts, Winston Churchill said it best: “We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”The following is a takeoff on a “pass-it- along” e-mail I received awhile back:The presidential challenger began his day of campaigning early, having set his alarm clock, which was made in Japan, for 6 a.m. Meanwhile, his coffee was brewed in a coffee pot made in China and his eggs were being prepared in an electric skillet made in India while he shaved using his electric razor made in Hong Kong. He he put on his Sri Lankan-made dress shirt, his British-made shoes, his Italian silk tie, his Singapore-made trousers, a Canadian-made sport coat and listened to the news on a radio made in Bangladesh.After breakfast he sat down with a calculator made in Mexico to check his portfolio and in particular his stocks on the Nikkei Exchange. He dialed information, which was answered in India to get the correct time to set his Taiwanese watch. After breakfast, he was on his way to the next campaign stop. While on his way, his entourage encountered heavy traffic with cars made in Sweden, Germany and Japan.At the end of the day, the challenger decided to relax for a while. He slipped on his Brazilian sandals, designer jeans made in Malaysia and a T-shirt made in Honduras. He was deciding if he wanted a cup of Columbian coffee or a glass of Italian wine. He flipped on his TV, which was made in Indonesia, and began thinking about the marvels of a global economic community and then how he was going to criticize the current administration for the loss of jobs in America. Why is it that “internationalists” subscribe to an international perspective only when building arguments against the United States being able to defend itself but suddenly forget the term when debating the cause of the loss of jobs in America?Correction: In last week’s commentary I used the phrase “the diversity of race, ethnicity, religion and sexual preference” when I meant and should have said “the diversity of race, ethnicity, religion and sexual-orientation.” I sincerely apologize if I offended anyone. It was not intentional and I do understand the difference.Butch Mazzuca of Singletree writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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