President Bush has just added another item to his smorgasbord of reasons to invade Iraq: An attack from Saddam Hussein or a surrogate of Saddam Hussein would, according to the president, “cripple our economy.”
Now, there’s a reason to conduct an unprovoked attack on a country that will inevitably cost the lives of tens of thousands of ordinary Iraqi people, including Iraqi soldiers! Let’s not think about how all that unrestrained U.S. government spending, both foreign and domestic, is crippling the economy. Or even the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies. Let’s instead imagine how a Third World tinpot, who used to be a partner of the U.S. government during the Reagan-Bush regime, might bring down the entire U.S. economy with a terrorist attack on the United States.
But while economics can be a complicated subject, an obvious question arises: Why wouldn’t a post-Saddam terrorist attack on America by an angry and vengeful Middle-Easterner also “cripple our economy”?
Perhaps the president would have been better off simply quoting his father’s secretary of state, James Baker, about why the U.S. government needed to attack Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1991: “It’s about jobs.” That effort to save jobs, of course, produced the massacre of more than 100,000 Iraqi soldiers, followed by a 10-year economic blockade that has contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children and illegal “no-fly zones” over Iraq that have caused the deaths of hundreds of Iraqi people. All those deaths, in turn, became a principal motivation for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and then the September 11 attacks.
An economist might be forgiven for asking whether, economically speaking, saving all those jobs in 1991 in the “short run” ended up bearing a rather high price tag in the “long run.” One cannot help but wonder whether an invasion of Iraq to “protect our economy” will do so once again.