Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has proposed an “additional income tax to the upper brackets, folks earning more than $200,000 or $250,000″. Similarly, the House Appropriations Committee has put out a statement calling for a “war surtax”. The committee said: “â€œRegardless of whether one favors the war or not, if it is to be fought, it ought to be paid for. The only people whoâ€™ve paid any price for our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan are our military families. We believe that if this war is to be fought, itâ€™s only fair that everyone share the burden. Thatâ€™s why we are offering legislation to impose a graduated surtax so that the cost of the war is not borrowed.”
This is extraordinary stuff. As Gene Lyons says in the Santiago Times, the barbarians are hardly at the gate. “There are no battlefronts, no standing armies, and no immediate military threat to the United States. US intelligence estimates that maybe 100 ragtag al-Qaida fighters remain scattered across the Afghan outback. For all its brutality, the Taliban rebellion is mainly a localized, nationalist effort to expel foreigners … with winter approaching, Taliban fighters will soon be forced into semi-hibernation.”
A better alternative would be to invest that money in Afghanistan’s infrastructure so as to help its government become more self-sufficient and sustainable in the immediate term, not give it to the war industry.