...Actually, come to think of it there wasn't technically a "war." There wasn't a Declaration of War, after all, but a "resolution" allowing "operations." We started calling wars "operations" a long time ago because "police action" was unacceptable, and so was war. See, we had this big, long Cold War that conditioned us to pretend conflict wasn't warfare, and forgot to fix that after Operations Desert Storm/Shield.
We really ought to end that.
I'd like to see a day when statutory limits keep the number of deployed Americans low. Granted that we will always need brave men and women to guard us -- and sometimes rescue us. There are a thousand thousand thousand reasons why it is good to have soldiers, sailors, pilots, and specialists. No blog could hold all the reasons.
And yet it would be nice to have a limit, and the way to do that is create a disincentive for warfare.
We need a war tax.
How do you strike the balance? I think this is fair: set a mandatory limit on how many Americans can be deployed or employed abroad in support of military operations without a progressive surtax on the top 2% of income earners. I use "progressive" in the non-political sense here, as what I'm talking about would hit billionaires harder than millionaires.
Why? Because money talks, is why, and the sooner Lloyd Blankfein has a reason to use his company's new citizenship powers to encourage bipartisan support for an end to foreign adventures, the better.
And it's a point of pride. The president says he wants to get the hell out of Afghanistan starting in 2011, which means we have a limited time to do better than we've done. And as I said, it used to mean something when the United States went to war.