For those who remember the “stagflation decade” of the 1970s, there is something eerily familiar about the news of slipping U.S. economic growth and the Consumer Price Index climbing 0.4 percent in May, hard on the heels of a 0.3 percent increase in April. A weak or non-growth economy in an environment of rising prices is the very definition of stagflation.
Americans do not appear to have seen the direct line of causation between the Vietnam War and the stagflation decade. The cost of the war was instrumental in the collapse of the Bretton Woods gold exchange monetary system and the end of the dollar’s link to gold. Stocks fell about 15 percent in 1973, more than 25 percent in 1974. Unemployment hit 9 percent, while the official inflation rate climbed to 12.2 percent in 1974 and 13.3 percent in 1979.
Today few American’s recognize the line of causation between the Bush/Obama wars and our debilitated economy. But it is evident on many fronts, from the interest rate policies the Fed instituted to accommodate the war to the fear premium that drove energy prices higher for Americans during years of saber-rattling and war. Spending $1.2 trillion a year on the national security state is no easy undertaking either.
|Before anyone sells Americans another war pig in a poke, it is worth pausing to ask, “How did it come to this?”|
Now, with things spiraling into a state of bloody chaos in Iraq again, there are those who would have us dig in deeper. They would have us arming jihadist and al Qaeda affiliates in Syria and bombing them in Iraq. They would have us make this centuries-old schism between Sunni and Shia our business.
The U.S. economy is hanging by its nails. It still has not pulled itself up over the edge of the cliff we went off six years ago. And now the warmongers would have us step on its fingers again.
The hapless Paul Bremer, who was in charge of the occupation government of Iraq under Bush, is pushing combat forces. Says John McCain, “We are now facing an existential threat to the security of the United States of America.”
Really? An existential threat? I can’t be sure, but didn’t he say the same thing in 2002-03?
But before anyone sells Americans another war pig in a poke, it is worth pausing to ask, “How did it come to this?”
A former colleague of mine, watching the Iraqi horror unfold on television, called this week to ask if I remembered a list of questions I handed him just six months before Bush and the Washington party unleashed Shock and Awe on Iraq in 2003.
He had to remind me. It was a list of questions that Congressman Ron Paul asked on the floor of the House of Representatives, questions that should have been answered before America was marched into that elective war to begin with.
If you would like to know how we came to this, it is easy to find out by reviewing Dr. Paul’s unanswered questions. I have edited his questions down in half, to only 17 for your perusal. But if you would like to read all 35 of the questions Congressman Paul asked before the Iraq war, you can find them archived from the Congressional Record here.
Congressman Ron Paul
U.S. House of Representatives
September 10, 2002
QUESTIONS THAT WON’T BE ASKED ABOUT IRAQ
Soon we hope to have hearings on the pending war with Iraq. I am concerned there are some questions that won’t be asked — and maybe will not even be allowed to be asked. Here are some questions I would like answered by those who are urging us to start this war.
1. Is it not true that the reason we did not bomb the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War was because we knew they could retaliate?
2. Is it not also true that we are willing to bomb Iraq now because we know it cannot retaliate — which just confirms that there is no real threat?
3. Is it not true that the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency was able to complete its yearly verification mission to Iraq just this year with Iraqi cooperation?
4. Is it not true that the intelligence community has been unable to develop a case tying Iraq to global terrorism at all, much less the attacks on the United States last year? Does anyone remember that 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and that none came from Iraq?
5. Why are we taking precious military and intelligence resources away from tracking down those who did attack the United States — and who may again attack the United States — and using them to invade countries that have not attacked the United States?
6. How can Hussein be compared to Hitler when he has no navy or air force, and now has an army 1/5 the size of twelve years ago, which even then proved totally inept at defending the country?
7. Is it not true that the constitutional power to declare war is exclusively that of the Congress? Should presidents, contrary to the Constitution, allow Congress to concur only when pressured by public opinion? Are presidents permitted to rely on the UN for permission to go to war?
8. Are we prepared for possibly thousands of American casualties in a war against a country that does not have the capacity to attack the United States?
9. Iraq’s alleged violations of UN resolutions are given as reason to initiate an attack, yet is it not true that hundreds of UN Resolutions have been ignored by various countries without penalty?
10. How can our declared goal of bringing democracy to Iraq be believable when we prop up dictators throughout the Middle East and support military tyrants like Musharaf in Pakistan, who overthrew a democratically-elected president?
11. Are you familiar with the 1994 Senate Hearings that revealed the U.S. knowingly supplied chemical and biological materials to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war and as late as 1992 — including after the alleged Iraqi gas attack on a Kurdish village?
12. Did we not assist Saddam Hussein’s rise to power by supporting and encouraging his invasion of Iran? Is it honest to criticize Saddam now for his invasion of Iran, which at the time we actively supported?
13. Is it not true that preventive war is synonymous with an act of aggression, and has never been considered a moral or legitimate U.S. policy?
14. What is the moral argument for attacking a nation that has not initiated aggression against us, and could not if it wanted?
15. Where does the Constitution grant us permission to wage war for any reason other than self-defense?
16. Is it not true that since World War II Congress has not declared war and — not coincidentally — we have not since then had a clear-cut victory?
17. Why don’t those who want war bring a formal declaration of war resolution to the floor of Congress?
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