William Hamilton: College, Iraq, and Afghanistan: Who pays?
Grand County, CO Colorado
According to 2008 figures, about 75 percent of Americans living today either never attended college or had to drop out. Those in that percentile occupy most of the blue-collar and pink-collar jobs in this country. On average, their income is about half of that earned by college graduates. Most of them pay federal income taxes plus state and local taxes.
Some of today’s college students are telling President Obama they should not have to repay their college loans. Moreover, some of today’s college students are telling Obama that “someone else” should pay their college tuition costs. Care to guess who that “someone else” would have to be? Answer: the American taxpayers, to include blue-collar and pink-collar workers who never got to go to college.
Last week, in a speech at Denver’s Metro State College, Obama promised to help college students get out of their student loans. To paraphrase Karl Marx, “Tax-paying blue-collar and pink-collar workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but being chained to the college debt of others.”
In 2008, candidate Obama pledged to withdraw our troops from Iraq and send them to Afghanistan. By year’s end, he will have withdrawn our troops from Iraq. But the elimination of Saddam Hussein created a power vacuum at the head of the oil-rich Persian Gulf. Who will fill that power vacuum? It would be wonderful if the Iraqi people could produce a government capable of standing up to neighboring Iran. How many think that will happen? Hands, please. Hmmn. Not very many.
Well, if the Iraqis cannot fill the power vacuum, who will? The possibilities are neighboring Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Syria. Turkey is tied up by an internal struggle between those who want Turkey to continue as the secular state set up in 1923 by Kemal Ataturk and those who want Turkey to become a radical Islamist state. The brutalized people of Syria are trying to rise up against Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Saudi Arabia has no military of note.
That leaves Iran, which has the largest armed forces in the region and an abiding hatred for the United States. If, as many experts predict, Iraq becomes a vassal state of Iran, what are the options for an industrialized world that depends so heavily upon the oil of the Persian Gulf?
Despite our nuclear submarines in the Persian Gulf and our aircraft carrier task groups operating in the Mediterranean and in the Arabian Ocean, we really do not have any meaningful way of force projection into the heartland of Iran. So, unless the Saudis are willing to take on the Iranians, the industrialized world must make nice-nice with the Iranian regime
Alternatively, we could use our abundant oil, oil shale, natural gas, and coal resources to become energy-independent from the oil of the Persian Gulf region. Unfortunately, Obama opposes further fossil-fuel development. Instead, he says he wants solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources to provide our energy. That won’t happen anytime soon.
Recall, candidate Obama said we should be fighting in Afghanistan. Not in Iraq. So what about Afghanistan? An Oct. 7 assessment by IHS Jane’s (the world authority on ships, weapons, and military affairs) says Afghanistan is a lost cause.
In 1892, Rudyard Kipling, observing that Afghan women were more savage than the men, wrote:
“When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rite an’ blowout your brains,
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.”
But now, there are signs the Muslim women “liberated” by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and by the Information Revolution are slowly becoming the pacifying element needed to tame their warring mates. That will take longer than viable alternative-energy sources. But at least there’s hope.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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