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Just spend more – it's the American Way

"Wait, what did you just say? You're predicting $4-a-gallon gasoline? That's interesting. I hadn't heard that..." George W. Bush, Feb. 29, 2008

March 25, 2008
by Rob Lafferty

We need to spend more money fighting the GWOT, the Global War on Terrorism. I don't really know how much we spend altogether right now; you don't either, nor does anyone else, including the alleged experts on government spending. Their highly informed best guesses all tend to hover in the general vicinity of three billion dollars per week just for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At home we spend about $4 billion per month to keep the Homeland free from Terror. We also know that we spend a secret amount of money to do all kinds of secret things all over the planet, but even the secret-keepers have no idea what the bottom line is for all those secret projects.

Whatever the true total may be, it's apparently not enough.

We haven't won the GWOT yet and we've been fighting a lot of enemy combatants and insurgents and terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and Africa for five years now. That's longer than we Americans will usually support the invasion and occupation of a foreign land, so we should crank up the war machine and finish the job in Iraq. Then we'll have the public support to pacify Afghanistan before we move on to a new field of battle with fresh enemies and new justifications for waging war.

We need to start using more airpower against whoever our enemies are, especially in Iraq. Dropping bombs and firing missiles from airplanes is a lot safer for our troops when the enemy has no airplanes and no anti-aircraft defenses. Sure, there's still a lot of collateral damage and mistaken targets and dead people – some innocent, some even children – left behind on the ground when our planes fly away. But we're getting better at using "actionable intelligence" and "surgical air strikes" to target those bad guys, whoever they are, without killing more than a few bystanders, most of the time.

We do drop a lot of bombs already; in a January air attack on villages in the Latifiya district near Baghdad, two U.S. bombers and four jets unleashed an estimated 40,000 pounds of explosives in less than 15 minutes. But that was the second time in three months that we had to bomb those villages in order to kill insurgents, so let's hope that we used enough to do the job right this time.

I know that most Americans consider themselves to be Christians and that our invasion of Iraq was not exactly a Christian thing to do. I suppose that Jesus wouldn't approve of us killing nearby innocents while seeking to kill our enemies. But the path to safety is difficult and dangerous, and the hard reality is that many more people will die in Iraq before success can be achieved. Most Iraqis are Muslims, and it is their country that needs to be pacified, so maybe it's better if they are the ones who die instead of U.S. troops, who are always Christian Soldiers fighting in a foreign land for a Just Cause with God on their side.

We also need to spend more money on recruitment to keep our armed forces fully staffed. Sure, we spend about a million dollars a week just on advertising alone, but we still aren't bringing new recruits in fast enough. We need better propaganda to convince young Americans that a one-year tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan – or two tours, or three – should be part of their career plan.

Because we're less safe today here at home than we were last week. I heard that directly from our foremost authority on the subject, so it must be true. The President himself came on TV the other day to tell me that our spies are once again required to get a warrant from a judge before they spy on Americans, and that America is now less safe from terrorists.

We're all patriotic Americans who want to be kept safe from everything except ourselves, so we need to hire more spies and cooperate with a suspension of our privacy rights. We need to let government agents decide whose phone should be tapped and whose emails should be intercepted. It's not enough that our spies can start spying on someone and get a judge to issue an approving warrant after the fact; the President himself said that wasn't enough, so it must not be.

I know that violates one of the foundation principles of our Constitution, but we live in dangerous times and we need to feel safe. As soon as we win the GWOT we can reclaim those rights, if we really want them. Besides, we have a long history of ignoring the Constitution and the Bill of Rights whenever we feel threatened, so why be concerned about this little transgression if it will keep us safe from Terror?

And while we're at it we need to help oil companies increase their profits, or at least maintain the record high profits they're enjoying now. I know that sounds a little weird, but we need to do it because Big Oil will walk away from any production field that doesn't earn massive profits. They did that in Venezuela when the government re-nationalized its oil resources and started putting more of the profits into the national treasury instead of the pockets of the wealthy.

If that happens in just a few other places around the world, we'll be begging for oil here in America. I'm not sure why that is, but the oil companies say it will happen. There would still be oil coming out of those wells, so I don't see why we can't just buy oil from the countries that have it instead of the corporations that controlled it before. But Big Oil knows a lot about oil, so I trust their predictions. After all, they were right about gasoline reaching $4 per gallon before summer when even the President didn't see that coming.

We can't stop countries from reclaiming their natural resources like we used to do, so we need those oil companies to switch over to providing some other kind of fuel. If anyone can lead us into the energy world of tomorrow, surely it would be the same folks who led us to where we are today. They're gonna need a lot of cash to do that quickly, and annual profits of $30-40 billion per company might not be enough.

So when you're paying that $4-per-gallon price at the pump that surprised our President, just consider it an investment in a future where you'll still be buying a highly refined, easily controlled commodity to fuel your private vehicle. It won't be cheap, either, but there will be enough to feed the national addiction, and that's what counts.

It's the American way of solving commodity shortages – we look for another source, pay a higher price, switch to a different brand or cook up a synthetic substitute. We certainly won't slow our rate of consumption because we don't like to change our behavior. We are the greatest consumers the world has ever known, and we intend to keep the lifestyle we've created, whatever it costs.