There are four puzzling questions surrounding the Persian Gulf crisis and possible hostilities which neither President Bush nor his associates have addressed.
First, for the first time in modern American history, many former Secretaries of Defense (James Schlesinger, Caspar Weinberger, Harold Brown, Robert McNamara), former Secretaries of State (Cyrus Vance, William Rogers, Edmund Muskie, Dean Rusk, Undersecretary George Ball), former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Adm. William Crowe, Gen. David Jones, etc.), and former White House national security adviser, Zbigniew Brezezinski), former arms control chief negotiator, (Paul Nitze), and former President Jimmy Carter, have public ally expressed the need to give the embargo-siege more time to work its will instead of rushing into a war with such predictable economic costs and unpredictable political consequences for the United States.
In short, they disagree, with varying degrees of intensity, with a sitting President, George Bush. These men are the Establishment, the people in both past Republican and Democratic Administrations who ran the most sensitive Departments in the U.S. government. Many of them would have been called Hawks in their day.
Why are these men and their arguments not being replied to by the Bush Administration? Why isn’t the press asking such questions of President Bush?
Second, why does President Bush refer to his allies as the “world united, or the United Nations, then permit these allies to get away with letting the U.S. bear by far the largest burden of soldiers and costs. The most prosperous economies in the world are Japan and Germany. While understandably, given their history, they do not want to send troops, they can send far more money than the paltry sums they have pledged and have yet to fulfill.
Why then, is the Bush Administration not pressing these countries and others to bear their fair burden, especially since those countries are far more reliant on Middle Eastern oil than is the United States? Well, how far would you pressure your major creditors (they are buying U.S. Treasury Bonds) if you are as broke as is the U.S. government?
Third, even before any hostilities, the cost of Bush’s huge Persian Gulf buildup and its secondary effects on our economy (e.g. higher energy prices), already in a worsening recession and unemployment, are running at one billion dollars every two days., at least. Why isn’t the Bush Administration informing the American people a about these economic costs, in addition to estimating the far greater costs once the human casualties occur?
The polls supporting the use of force against Iraq drop quickly (e.g. the recent ABC survey), when the questions include estimates of casualties. Only about a third of Americans polled favor use of force, instead of waiting on the embargo-siege, if the American casualty estimate is one thousand lives lost.
Fourth, since oil is the main reason for U.S. troops being sent to Saudi Arabia, why didn’t Reagan and Bush continue and expand upon the energy conservation programs of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in order to make our country less dependent on foreign oil instead of more dependent than ever?
Incredibly, Reagan-Bush went into reverse, scrapping even the fuel efficiency upgrades for federal government facilities, opposing tougher efficiencies for manufacturers of household appliances and giving the auto companies a free ride, with waivers no less, from the gasoline efficiency regulations set in motion in 1975!
To top off, this disastrous stubbornness, Bush opposed greater fuel efficiency moves for the auto industry after the invasion of Kuwait. The forthcoming Bush energy plan is also expected to be very short on fuel efficiency.
Astonishingly, isn’t it, that after Reagan-Bush supported Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Van, continued to supply him with munitions, let U.S. corporations do the same, made American more reliant on imported oil and, just before August 2, 1990, diplomatically assured the Iraq leader that the H.S. would not butt into such inter-Arab disputes, George hush is proceeding to make the American people pay the bill.
For such performances, Bush just gave all the upper level officials in his government a big pay increase, in addition to signing off on a large pay raise for members of a failing Congress.