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Look at the larger costs of war on Saddam

By SAM MOSES

Special to the News

We correctly described Saddam as a barbaric monster, using that as justification for this war, as if we had never heard of Pol Pot, that barbaric gardener of Cambodia’s Killing Fields. We pointed out that Saddam had gassed his own people, conveniently overlooking our own history, in which the U.S. Army committed acts of genocide against our Native Americans with weapons of mass destruction, called Gatling guns.

But let’s not forget what we were told we are fighting for: homeland security, not democracy in Iraq. Democracy might prevail in Iraq, but it won’t justify this war. If it is allowed to, then the U.S. will be compelled to overthrow the next tyrant and liberate the next country on the never-ending list.

My own opposition to the war is more economic than moral. The suffering we are inflicting upon thousands of innocent Iraqis, including children, is shameful, but it still may be arguable that Saddam Hussein would kill more Iraqis over the next few years than we will over the next few months. What is not arguable is that we need homeland security, and it won’t be cheap. We don’t need to be blowing that money by rebuilding Iraq.

It baffles me how good conservatives can get behind the Bush policies, which might be better described as anti-conservative, not neo-conservative.

A good conservative would not be intimidated to the point of panic by a two-bit tyrant like Saddam, nor would he believe we need to be trying to liberate an enigmatic country in a part of the world where we are hated, especially at a time when we can ill afford it.

This administration has repeatedly blocked attempts to increase security budgets for our sites most vulnerable to terrorism. Think Hanford. It is currently proposing an addition to the budget of $4 billion for homeland security — about 1/20th of just the first installment for Iraq.

The proposed tax cut allows the super-rich to keep more of their money, and leaves the rest of us exposed to terrorism that might possibly be thwarted with some of that money. It also leaves us with poorer education, fewer medical benefits — and now, a stunning federal cut in veterans’ benefits.

That’s how we and our children are paying for our alleged security from the personal threat Saddam Hussein poses to us.

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Sam Moses lives in White Salmon.

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