The Military Machine

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Ezra Klein wants, you know, accountability:

The way we decide whether something is worth it is to test whether we’re willing to pay for it. If a war is not worth a tax or spending cuts, then perhaps it is not worth engaging in. It’s understandable that the administration might need to act before offsets can be found, but only for the early days of a conflict. After that, it should have the money in hand.

So, ahem, a president addressing the nation on a war should be quite explicit on how it will be funded, under a range of scenarios. Some reports this time around suggest that the Saudis may pay the bill. Fine, but tell us. And each year of the costs needed for Afghanistan and Iraq should come out of some other part of the defense budget or require cuts in domestic spending elsewhere. Of course, none of this would be necessary if the Congress just did its job - and demanded fiscal responsibility from the increasingly trigger-happy executive branch.

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