Who Really Wins the Budget Battle?

The plan was simple. Draw the U.S. into a long, far away war.   Bankrupt them and  bring our government down just like they did to the U.S.S.R. But the U.S. was no Soviet Union, which had a fragile economy caused by a failed economic system.   We had the ability to attack Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in a short decisive action.  with an opportunity to build a coalition due to the world’s revulsion to the 9-11.

In what will be known as one of the worst foreign policy blunders in U.S. history, George W.  Bush attacked Afghanistan without building a coalition, allowing 75% of Al-Qaeda to escape into Pakistan.   He then started a war in Iraq pulling most of our troops from Afghanistan long before the job was done.  What should have been a quick win turns into just the kind of long, drawn out quagmire 9-11 was intended provoke.

But starting the war in Iraq was a bonus that Al-Qaeda could never have hoped for.   At first the wars seemed like a good plan, the world is shown the strength of our military and our resolve to fight back. But it took three years for Bush to realize that we did not have enough troops to do the job, allowing our brave soldiers (and treasure)  to be sacrificed without a chance of success, before we finally had the “surge”.  Our mistakes allowed a civil war to develop there, and we  removed Iraq as a threat to Iran allowing it to establish great influence there.  Even a rudimentary understanding of Al-Qaeda, a group publicly dedicated to overthrowing secular, corrupt Arab leaders like Saddam Hussein, would have shown that a war in Iraq would  be a win for Al-Qaeda. The war in Iraq is now over and we know who won, Iran. The war also allowed Al-Qaeda to score a public relations victory, with nightly news coverage of the U.S. invading Muslim lands. The rest of the Al-Qaeda plan, to convince the Muslim world that it is their duty to wage war to defend their religion from the invading west could not have had better visuals.

Thankfully Al-Qaeda’s plan to bankrupt the U.S. did not succeed. But things at home were going that way. While fighting two wars (one completely unnecessary and counterproductive) , and starting a whole new unfunded  Medicare expansion (part D) the Republicans cut tax rates two times, cut capital gains taxes, and inheritance taxes.  This turned the annual surplus  of the Clinton presidency into annual deficits, funded by long term borrowing.  The total US debt was 4.5 trillion when Bush and the Republicans took office in 2000 to 10.5 trillion when he left.  Plus the the orgy of deregulation, defunding and demoralizing of our financial regulatory agencies by the Bush administration and the Republicans (and sadly more than a few Democrats) caused the worst recession since the great depression further driving the U.S. closer to the bankruptcy.

The Republicans have now  shut down our government . “Shut-er-down” is a sound that Al-Qaeda must love to hear, the sound of America brought to her knees.  But the real damage will come next, with the Republicans refusal to raise the debt ceiling. They will present their list of demands, and if they are not met they will not allow the debt ceiling to be raised.  Demands  that they could not accomplish through the legislative process, due to voters, in the only poll that counts,  denying them the Presidency and control of the Senate.  The failure to raise the debt ceiling will cause the U.S. to default on our debt.  Al-Qaeda, who have lost many battles,  will have won the war with our bankruptcy.

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