The lunacy is not the missing $2.8 billion or $6.6 billion in shrink-wrapped bills. The lunacy is the entire endeavor in Iraq. But this lunacy has not penetrated the thinking of the majority of American voters. There are no protestors in the streets. There are no well-organized campaigns of letter-writing. Basically, nobody cares.
The Republican debates held this week did briefly touch on the issue, but Ron Paul was the only candidate who said emphatically that our troops should be brought home immediately. That was easy for him to say: he publicly voted against the Iraq war.
We are halfway through Obama's third year, yet 45,000 U.S. troops are still there, plus however many mercenaries are on the payroll, a figure estimated in the past at 100,000. No one knows, any more than they know whether $2.8 billion or $6.6 billion in currency went missing. The point is, the voters do not really care that no one knows.
The public does not feel any pain from the war in Iraq. The Iraq war is still going on. We don't need 45,000 troops plus mercenaries where there is no war. The World War II refrain – "Don't you know there's a war on?" – is applicable today. Hardly anyone knows. It's no longer news.
Whenever the public feels no pain, the public does not care what the government does. The public is oblivious. The missing currency was not a big story, not merely because editors decided not to run it, but because they figured that it would not increase ratings or subscriptions to feature it. It was non-news. They perceive that the public is interested in other things, such as Congressman Wiener.
This lack of interest gives the politicians a free ride. They need not confront the issue of specific Federal spending. The deficit in general is of some interest, intermittently, but not the specific issues of the budget. Because Congress is unwilling to cut specific programs' budgets, the general deficit is heading higher. Congress knows that the public does not care.
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