Bob Herbert (New York Times, Op-Ed, October 12, 2006) is one of many who has called for shared sacrifice in the war against terror. He points out that only one group is sacrificing – members of the armed forces, their families, and, in the case of national guard members, their employers.
In the current Iraq war, America is sacrificing three things: the lives of its young men and women, its money, and its honor.
Right now, the young are paying or potentially paying the cost of all three. The youth are those dying and maimed in Iraq. With deficit financing of the war, the young will have to pay for it in the next twenty years. Only the privates, specialists, and sergeants of Abu Ghraib have had their honor tarnished while Donald Rumsfeld continues as Secretary of Defense and John Yoo teaches at Berkeley Law.
This cannot to be allowed to continue.
As in all wars the young men and woman will have to continue to do the fighting.
We, the public, must take up the challenge of paying for the war now. It would be unconscionable to leave the financial payments to today's youth. We must devise a pay-as-you-go scheme. Inevitably this will mean raising taxes which will be anathema to the anti-tax Republican conservatives – but it is their war and our war and we and they must pay for it.
Finally, it is the administration that must pay the cost in dishonor. I think we are stuck with the President, a weak but charming fellow, who was at the mercy of his entourage. Vice-President Cheney who promulgated so many of the half truths that brought us to this war and who continues to press for CIA torture despite overwhelming evidence that torture is ineffective in eliciting accurate and timely information should do the honorable thing and resign. Resignation is also required of Secretary Rumsfeld who administered a Pentagon where with a wink and a nod torture of prisoners was countenanced, who planned an invasion with insufficient troops to stabilize a post-war Iraq, and who continues to mismanage the logistics of the war and its strategic goals. Secretary Rice who was unable to get the holidaying President to take notice of the 9/11 intelligence should also step aside.
This is what America needs, this is what our troops deserve: a shared sacrifice where the non-combatants pick up the financial cost and where the administration oligarchs pass out into the wilderness to help America restore its "sacred honor."