"The Price of Liberty: Paying for America's Wars." The post generated a number of comments and we've given Hormats a chance to answer your responses:
I'd like to thank CBS News for this opportunity to address comments that were posted at Couric & Co. after Katie Couric's interview. In recent days, the U.S. Congress passed a bill funding the Iraq War through September, 2007, when we can expect to face this issue again. I welcome your comments on the recently-passed funding and your suggestions for September. But first, let me speak to those who were so kind as to leave comments on the "10 Questions" interview:
To justmonica ("[veterans] need and deserve help from their government. They didn't say no when the country asked."):
I agree that all veterans are entitled to the best possible health care.
Eric makes a good point. ("If the time, effort and manpower put into Iraq had instead been put into the war on al Qaida, then al Qaida, bin Laden and al Zawahiri would not exist today.")
The Iraq War did divert attention from Afghanistan and also from bolstering our homeland defense capabilities in the fight against terrorism -- i.e. strengthening our public health services, hardening our infrastructure, improving the response capabilities of our police and fire departments.
Feelfree1 accuses me of making large amounts of money on this war. ("It is a safe bet that "Robert Hormats, an international finance expert at Goldman Sachs" has made a killing from this disgraceful and illegal war of aggression, and has helped many others do the same.")
I would be interested in knowing what facts she bases this on? Making unsubstantiated charges does little to address the serious issues we face as a country in coming to grips with the mistakes and misleading statements that surround this war and helping us to avoid future tragic mistakes of this type.
To Jim ("I just launched a site yesterday so that anyone can find their PERSONAL financial contribution to the Iraq war. Check out MyWarTax.org"):
I will check out your site. Sounds interesting. In my book "The Price of Liberty," I cite a very interesting quote by President Eisenhower who identified the costs in terms of domestic wellbeing of excessive military spending.
Mysty writes: "History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap."
There are many wars where leaders thought they would be cheaper than they turned out to be -- e.g. the Civil War -- although not all were wars of aggression. But it is true that leaders should candidly tell Americans what a war is likely to cost and that would help the public to better evaluate whether they are worth the price -- in financial or human terms.
I thank everyone for their comments.