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Financial tsunami on horizon, Duncan says


The original motivation for a two trillion dollar war — which may help ignite a “financial tsunami” of national gloom in the coming years — was protecting Israel.

Those are the numbers, projections and assessments from U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) concerning the Iraqi War.

From “the top levels of the administration ... Neo-Conservatives, rightly or wrongly, their main concern was Israel, that’s why we went to war over there,” Tennessee’s Second District Congressman, and Farragut resident, said. “... They felt Saddam Hussein and Iraq was a great threat to Israel. But they knew they could not sell a war to the American people just on that basis. They couldn’t say we had to go to war for Israel.”

Taking away $2 trillion for eventual Iraqi War costs, “One of my biggest concerns through all this, we’re headed into a financial tsunami a few years after the baby boomers start retiring in heavy numbers, which really starts next year,” Duncan said. “And there is no way that we can pay all of our social security and veterans’ pensions. And V-A medical costs and prescription drug benefits and the civil service pensions, and all these things with money that’s going to buy anything, if we keep doing all this stuff all over the world.”

But Duncan draws the line on criticism of the Bush Administration. “I just can’t bring myself to believe that these people were so evil that there was deception or dishonesty about it,” he said. “What I choose purposely to believe is that there was a legitimate disagreement with people like me.”

Duncan cites “an over-exaggeration of terrorism” creating overreactions.

“You’re hundreds of times more likely to be killed in a car wreck or struck by lightening, or you’re even much more likely to win a lottery, than you are to be killed by a terrorist,” Duncan said. “... All the politicians are scared to vote against anything that has the word ‘security’ attached to it.”

As for international affect, “I really believe our interventionalist foreign policies have caused great, great resentment against us,” said Duncan, who was first elected to Congress in 1988. “I thought it was ridiculous when the President said, ‘they hate our freedom.’ They don’t hate our freedom; in fact, most of those people in the Middle East, they want it, they want our freedom.”

Although Duncan voted in favor of chasing Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991, saying he was influenced by such George H.W. Bush Administration heavyweights as Gen. Colin Powell, the Second District Congressman began reexamining defense spending and U.S. foreign policy.

“Then I saw [Hussein’s] so-called elite troops surrender to C-N-N camera crews or even to empty tanks,” Duncan said. “And I felt at that time that his threat had been greatly exaggerated. And I guess up until that point I had never really questioned anything that these defense contractors or these people in the Pentagon, anything they had ever

wanted.

“They’ll act like we’re not giving them enough money when our troops are by far the best paid, best equipped, best trained troops in the world, which I’m glad of,” Duncan added. “That’s the way they should be. ... But their main mission should be national defense, not international defense.

“Even though we’ve meant well we’ve created a lot of resentment.”

Duncan’s bottom line: “My life would be more pleasant if I would just go along with some of these things,” he said. “I seem to march to the beat of a little different drummer in some ways.”

 

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