Friday, September 02, 2011

Good News, Bad News

Slate has a couple of stories that are pretty much the Yin and Yang of America in the second decade of the 21st century.

Fred Kaplan describes how the military has changed over the past 10 years of war. He sees a military that has creatively adapted to the changing and challenging missions this nation has asked of it. That's good, even if I question the mission. The US military has a long tradition as a national institution. I want to know that an important national institution is capable, that it remain able to contribute to the More Perfect Union to which all military personnel swear an oath to defend. Kaplan, who writes knowledgeably about national security, believes our military has shown itself up to the task. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the mission at which they excel has wrecked the economy. Joseph Stiglitz writes about the The True Cost of 9/11 which is high indeed. Along with Linda Bilimes, Stiglitz first estimated the costs of Iraq and Afghnanistan would be $3 to $5 trillion. Now their estimate increases with the addition of another $600 to $900 billion for veterans care and disability. Stiglitz makes a good case that hiding the true cost of the past decade's wars has undermined America's economy.

About the only uncertain note in either piece is Stiglitz's statement that Osama Bin Laden probably never imagined that CheneyBush's response to the 9-11 attacks would compromise America's basic principles, undermine its economy, and weaken its security. That was his stated goal. Maybe Stiglitz means that Osama could have never imagined how utterly and completely successful he would be.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah. Suckers we are. (some of us)

10:31 AM  

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