Tuesday, September 10, 2013

EXTRA: Syria strike cost? Who knows! Aside from Topinka, who seems to care

I couldn’t help but be amused earlier this week by Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka when she told a chamber of commerce-type gathering in suburban Tinley Park her thoughts about U.S. military involvement in Syria.

TOPINKA: War too expensive!!!
Her serious point is that any military effort that isn’t completely pointless is going to be expensive – probably to the point that the U.S. government really can’t afford it.

OR, AS THE blunt-spoken official put it following an extensive trashing of Illinois state government for its financial mess, “We don’t need another war, because we can’t afford that either.”

Perhaps she’s on to something. Because the Congressional Budget Office released a report this week saying that it doesn’t have a clue how much a military strike involving Syria would wind up costing the federal government.

“The administration has not detailed how it would use the authority that would be provided by this resolution (authorizing the conflict); thus, CBO has no basis for estimating the costs of implementing,” such a military effort, the report reads.

Not that cost is going to discourage those people who are determined to use military force and justify it on the grounds that we’re teaching Syrian officials a lesson for their use of chemical weapons on civilians.

ALL MILITARY EFFORT is inherently expensive. Cost has never discouraged our war-mindset from kicking into gear in the past. It certainly won’t now.

And let’s be honest. The people who will vote against this particular request by President Barack Obama for Congressional approval to use military force in Syria are largely doing so for their own ideological hang-ups.

OBAMA: The war-time? prez
Perhaps it is the reason I have become apathetic about this issue. I realize it’s going to happen, regardless of whatever opposition (which under typical circumstances I would be inclined to agree with) gets tossed its way.

Or regardless of whatever financial sense Topinka tries to talk us into. Perhaps our focus ought to be on trying to minimize its impact – which might go a long way to containing its cost.


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