LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - War tax would reduce tolerance for military action


Patrick Henry recently wrote an excellent letter in which he pointed out the great majority of Americans have no stake in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, in fact, the wars are only rarely on the minds of most Americans.

He further points out the costs and consequences for the few who are engaged in combat and their families are huge and devastating. What should be the burden of the many is put on the shoulders of the few.

Henry concludes that reinstatement of the draft would make it easier to leave Iraq and Afghanistan and, by implication, other wars.

If we added a mandatory war tax for all wars along with reinstituting the draft, America would undoubtedly be even less likely to enter into wars in the future. In the future wars the United States did enter into, part of the sacrifice and burden of the conduct of the war would be shared to some degree by all.

The draft and the war tax would make war a hard sell for those who desired to "let slip the dogs of war."

The second Gulf of Tonkin incident and the WMDs of Iraq (the immediate causes of the Vietnam War and the invasion of Iraq) would have undergone much closer scrutiny if the president, Congress and the military knew everyone's son, nephew or grandson would face the draft and every American would be taxed up front for every dollar spent in the conflict.

Neither the second Gulf of Tonkin incident nor the statements of "curveball" would have borne close scrutiny.

In the end, however, no matter how just, fair, and clearly patriotic the draft and the war tax may seem, we shouldn't underestimate the low tolerance for sacrifice held by Congress and the general public.

Norm Osterman
Walla Walla


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