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The price of freedom. Pay it!

By Alan Caruba
web posted September 15, 2003

"The last hope of human liberty in this world rests on us." ~ Thomas Jefferson, March 28, 1811.

The latest furor over the President's request for $87 billion more to fight the war on terrorism in Iraq brings the tab to $166 billion. That's a lot of money, but for those of us whose lives span World War II and the Cold War that followed for a half century, the notion that we should just pull out and let the terrorists take over is incomprehensible.

Islamic terrorists have been attacking, killing, and taking Americans hostage since November 4, 1979 when Iran threw out all the rules of international diplomacy by seizing our diplomats and holding them hostage for 444 days. Since then, it has been one endless list of bombings in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Morocco, Tanzania, Kenya, Bali, and India, where Americans and others been targeted for the sole purpose of imposing Islam on the world. Israel has suffered constant attacks. Two years ago 9-11 brought the carnage and war to New York and Washington, DC.

I cannot even begin to calculate how many billions were spent by Americans to finance WWII and the Cold War that ended when the Soviet Union imploded. The money spent to keep our troops in Europe all those years (they are still there) or in South Korea (they are still there) is huge, but the bottom line was that we ended a threat to liberty from Soviet Communism and we are still giving the crazed dictator of North Korea second thoughts. The peace of the world involves US troops stationed in some forty nations.

Now we are endeavoring to bring democracy to Iraq and, when we do, you can begin the countdown to the end of Syria's dictatorship, the end of Lebanon's enslavement, the overthrow of the Iranian ayatollahs by Iranians, some form of democracy in Afghanistan, and possibly even the downfall of the House of Saud. The price tag for all this seems small compared to the threat the worldwide Islamic jihad represents.

In all likelihood, 9-11 sucked a trillion dollars out of our national economy in the months and years that followed. Airlines were hard hit and all the destinations they served were too. Tourism suffered. Hotels, restaurants, and car rental companies suffered. Every business dependent on direct mail suffered. In countless ways, the economy was impacted and we are only now in the early stages of recovery.

When I hear the cries about $87 billion additional dollars, I think of the $49 billion that the Teddy Kennedy-brokered deal for a totally failed education bill has cost us. Nobody thinks our education system works anymore, but even the President signed off on this wasteful legislation. What about the billions spent in subsidies to prop up agriculture in America? Last year, Congress voted a ten-year, $100 billion-plus farm bill. What about the billions collected and redistributed by Social Security and Medicare, despite the fact that everyone knows these two programs are going broke and despite the fact that Congress routinely taps their funds?

Thanks to an out-of-control Congress filled with professional politicians, the billions in "pork" that are siphoned out of the public treasury for scandalous and often wasteful projects have insured our deficit remains high.

This same Congress is now home to yet another scandal; in a time of war a Democrat Party that is not only failing to support the President, but is doing its best to undermine the public's resolve to see it through to victory. Democrat candidates and others in office are doing so with the most vitriolic language directed at a President since the days leading up to the Civil War.

So the notion that spending our money on those activities that keep the terrorists on the run and will undermine their power and influence throughout the Middle East seems a small price to pay. On September 3, al-Qaida issued another statement, its sixth this year, vowing an even more horrendous attack on America. While it is true that this nation has not had a terrorist incident since 9-11, the fact remains we are dealing with a ruthless enemy that believes it is acting out the will of Allah.

Alan Caruba is the author of "Warning Signs", published by Merril Press. His weekly commentaries are posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba 2003

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