An email from a reader…
From: Angela Filarecki (angelagc11@*******)
Subject: question on war spending
I understand that you do not have time to answer my question, although it would mean a lot to me to hear a conservative’s perspective.
My question and concern lies with the federal budget. How can one justify the amount of money being spent on defense and the war in Iraq while so many people suffer here in the United States? I am a social worker and every day I am reminded of social injustices, poverty, and inadequate resources in the classroom and beyond. Is there any way that some money being spent on war could be used here at home for education, child care, anything? I am not trying to criticize here, I would like to get the insight from a person who supports the war. (As it turns out, no one in my social circle, including me, has anything positive to say about the war in Iraq.) In addition, I want you to know that I understand that if we don’t have adequate protection at home, there will be no home. So what’s a social worker to do? I am currently being driven away from my profession because I am afraid of funding being taken away and the stress of seeing so many families in need of the help that the government does not give is heartbreaking to me.
Oh and by the way, can’t we all just get along?? :) It’s too bad that both Democrats and Republicans are too absorbed in their own agendas and politics that they don’t bother to do the intelligent thing and listen to the other person’s perspective and do what’s right for the country. But I guess that’s the (small) price we pay to live in a country where we can voice our opinion without fear of persecution.
Thank you for your time.
First of all, thank you for your email and your tone, which is quite different from the shrill and accusatory style that’s all the rage these days when liberals and conservatives converse. Now, on to the substance of your email.
It’s important for you to understand that we have fundamentally different ideas about the role of government. Excuse me if I’m being presumptuous, but yours seems to be that when we encounter problems in our society, it automatically becomes the role of the government to solve them. We conservatives disagree. We believe that the role of the government is to protect us from foreign threats, enforce the rule of law, and keep taxes and regulations to a minimum so that people can solve their own problems. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that many of the problems we have as a society are directly caused by the government’s bungled attempts to, “help.”
Since that’s the case, I’m a big believer that the government is far too big and spends far too much. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that except when it comes to border security and illegal immigration enforcement, there’s no program the Federal government is involved with that should have its funding increased. To the contrary, a significant across-the-board cut of funding for almost every program would be perfectly acceptable to me.
Of course, I realize that probably horrifies you, Angela. But, you have to understand that the conservative view is that all government programs are rife with endemic waste, red tape, corruption, and incompetence that is impossible to fix. Put another way, you may be able to starve, shrink, or perhaps even slightly improve the behavior of the beast, but you will never change its nature. That’s why it’s usually a good idea to choose small government over big government and private industry, the market, and individual choice over government involvement at all.
Which brings us to the money spent on the war. By now, you’ve probably realized that even if we had the money we’ve spent in Iraq in an account somewhere, I’d favor giving it back to the people who earned it via tax refunds or using it to cut into the deficit rather than channeling it into government programs.
But, that still begs a question: would it be better to have spent the money on Iraq or on that tax refund and deficit reduction? I’d still favor spending the money on Iraq because I believe what we’re doing there is absolutely essential to securing our country from terrorist attacks.
By removing Saddam and replacing him with a Democracy, we’ve gotten rid of a hostile, anti-American dictator, who supported terrorists, and intended to rebuild his weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, our attack on Iraq convinced Ghadaffi to get rid of his WMDs, helped drive the Syrians out of Lebanon and led to Democratic elections there. It has bled Al-Qaeda white as they’ve futilely tried to stop us in Iraq instead of attacking us here and it will inspire democracy across the Middle-East. If we succeed in Iraq, and I absolutely believe we will, I think it will be the most significant event in the Middle-East since Saladin retook Jerusalem in 1187. That’s worth spending our blood and treasure on.
Last but not least, it would be nice if we could, “all just get along,” but I’m not sure it’s in the cards. Although we could certainly do with a bit more civility in our politics, as long as liberals and conservatives not only disagree, but believe the “solutions” the other side is coming up with actually make things much worse, we are likely doomed to continue our long twilight struggle over the direction of this country.