Arrow-right Camera


Sat., March 15, 2008

Smart bombs

March is the second anniversary of the death of Otto Zehm and the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Saddam “lunged” at us with weapons of mass destruction. Zehm refused to drop his – a plastic soda bottle. What ensued were two wars of choice.

Looking back, it’s clear that the public wasn’t given accurate accounts in either incident. Time won’t close those credibility gaps. The chore for new leaders is to rebuild the trust, but “trust us” is a shaky foundation.

On the national front, Congress needs to take more seriously its oversight role. For one thing, it should regain its historical footing and vote on future declarations of war.

The last time it did that was World War II. It’s hardly a coincidence that subsequent wars have been exceedingly messy and controversial.

On the local front, the FBI’s Zehm investigation is almost two years old. It took the 9/11 Commission less than two years to interview 1,200 people in 10 countries, review 2.5 million pages of documents and write a 567-page report. Meanwhile, the city has dragged out its promise to hire a full-time, full-scale ombudsman.

Show us it’s important. Get it done.

It’s obscene. The Eliot Spitzer saga shows how funny our prostitution laws are:

Illegal: Pay someone to have sex.

Legal: Pay two people to have sex. Film it. Sell it.

Future shock. Before U.S. Sen. John McCain was for President Bush’s tax cuts he was against them. No wonder U.S. Sen. John Kerry wanted to chat with him about the vice-presidential slot in 2004.

On Thursday, budget hawk McCain voted against a Senate resolution that called for the expiration of the tax cuts. Congress is worried that the already large budget deficit will explode as baby boomers draw on Medicare and Social Security.

The boomers will retire? Who saw that coming?

As someone wrote in an editorial eight years ago:

“There are three economic eruptions we can be sure of in the next 10 years: 1. Retiring boomers will begin withdrawing their investment income, buffeting high-flying markets; 2. boomers will become eligible for Medicare; and 3. boomers will begin receiving Social Security checks, and the ratio of workers supporting those payments will change for the worse. If the shortsighted politicians prevail, this demographic upheaval would begin during the eighth year of back-loaded tax cuts.”

Then again, I don’t need to seduce voters.

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