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Lie of Omission: Republican Convention Pretends Iraq and Afghanistan Never Happened

It is always important to listen carefully to politicians give policy speeches, and it is often the case that an informed and discrete listener can learn a wealth of information from what a speaker does not say. Throughout the Republican National convention in Tampa, the speakers railed on President Obama with lies and deceptive information about the staggering debt they claim the President piled on the American people, and how a Romney-Ryan administration will make tough choices and give enormous tax cuts to the rich and corporations to inspire them to create jobs. However, there has been a deafening silence about why America’s debt is as high as it is, and how Bush-Republicans borrowed trillions of dollars to give out tax cuts and engage in two wars that have cost the American people dearly in lives, resources, and money. One can hardly blame the Republicans for avoiding any mention of Bush’s wars because it will remind Americans of the Republican-masterminded economic malfeasance that caused the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and continues with no end in sight.

Republicans never learn from their mistakes, and besides panting to return to Bush economic policies that this country still suffers from, they are intent on maintaining a state of perpetual war to kill Muslims, acquire oil, and enrich the corporate military-industrial complex. Besides the direct costs to prosecute the two wars, the price of oil skyrocketed from $25 a barrel before the Iraq invasion to $140 a barrel by 2008 and Romney, who thinks President Obama is not doing enough against Iran, has telegraphed his intention of military action in the Gulf that will send oil prices skyrocketing and derail recovery from the Republican-caused global recession. Romney, in speaking about the possibility of keeping combat troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 said “you don’t make a decision about our involvement in a conflict based on dollars and cents,” and up to this point, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have cost the American people between $3.7 and $4.4 trillion with no end in sight. It is no wonder that throughout the convention, Republicans hardly mentioned the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Not only did Bush-Republicans saddle future generations with staggering $3.7-4.4 trillion war debt, there is the little issue of $1 trillion more in interest payments and many billions more in expenses that cannot be counted, such as lifetime care for the brave men and women injured and maimed from Bush’s folly. Romney has given every indication that he intends on revisiting Bush’s cowboy diplomacy of costly wars for no apparent reason, and surrounded himself with a foreign policy (war cabinet) team of former Bush neo-cons who lied to attack Iraq. Romney has garnered glowing reviews and support from war-criminal Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, and John Bolton who casually promotes the idea of bombing Iran regardless the cost in lives and resources to a war-weary nation.

After going back and reviewing the myriad mendacious speeches throughout the convention, even war monger John McCain failed to expound on the wisdom of the two wars, but he did tie Iran and Syria together as the greatest threats to human-kind, and as usual, said the biggest reason to take on Iran was to protect Israel, “a nation under existential threat.” Romney has spent plenty of time promoting conflict to attract support from veterans and ultra-conservative voters, and the overriding reason is always to protect Israel.

Romney has parroted the “protect Israel” mantra as a reason for war with Iran, and promises that if elected, he will add to the deficit with more defense spending and increasing the size of the military to, as he says, “show the Mullahs and Ayatollahs American resolve” despite the cost in lives and resources. In fact, the Romney campaign co-chair, Tim Pawlenty, told Foreign Policy Magazine he supported a Congressional authorization for war with Iran; an idea he got from Elliot Abrams, a foreign policy adviser to Paul Ryan and former Bush official who suggested the idea last week. Pawlenty said “it might be a good idea and it couldn’t hurt and probably would help.”  If it is such a good idea, why are Republicans avoiding mentioning the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to drum up support for another Mid-East war? It is simply because Americans are weary of over ten years of war, the staggering cost in lives, and trillions of dollars heaped on the deficit that every Republican speaker at the convention has blamed on President Obama.

One hopes that Americans tuning in to the parade of lies notice that Republicans have not mentioned the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and especially the thousands of military families who have lost loved ones to those horrible conflicts that were unnecessary and unfunded. America’s economy would not be in the shape it finds itself today if America had not invaded two sovereign nations that had nothing to do with the terror attacks on 9/11 and it is why Republicans avoid any mention of them like plague. Remember, oil was $25 a barrel pre-Iraq invasion, the war’s costs will exceed $5 trillion within a year, and that does not take into account the trillion dollar interest payment that came due in 2011 Republicans continue blaming on President Obama. Instead, Romney and Republicans will claim Americans are worried about nuclear Iran, “threat of war” from “geopolitical enemies” like Russia, the threat to Israel, and the debt President Obama inherited from Bush-Republicans for two costly wars that had a profoundly negative effect on the world and America’s economy. Republicans made their convention a festival of lies, but the biggest lie was one of omission and hopefully Americans are being astute and discriminating listeners and taking note that the $5 trillion wars have not been mentioned one time and begin asking why not.

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