Re "Iraq War Cost Could Soar, Pentagon Says," Feb. 26: President Bush has not yet recommended a concrete way to pay the costs of the war on terror, including the attack on Iraq.
Apparently, Bush has chosen to increase the deficit instead, relying on the stimulated economy to raise government revenues, hopefully thereby paying for the war at a later date. The last time we tried to put a war "on the cuff" was Vietnam. We paid dearly for this failure to face up to the real costs.
Therefore, I propose we levy a terrorism-war gasoline tax increase of $1 per gallon, mitigated for regressive impact via a payroll tax reduction. It would pay the direct costs of the war, including recovery and development in the region; reduce our dependence on foreign oil imports, enabling us to speak frankly to terrorist-fostering Mideast governments; stimulate automakers to produce higher-mileage vehicles; improve our transportation infrastructure, an instant economic stimulus; help level out periodic gasoline price fluctuations; provide flexibility for budget negotiations in the Congress; and enable most Americans to contribute meaningfully to the war effort.
We ought not allow our armed forces to make all the sacrifices for us.
Donald E. Mueller
Re "Surging Gasoline Prices Drive Debate at Pumps," Feb. 25: The excessive price of oil has almost everything to do with the military activity in the Persian Gulf. The major oil cartel countries have gotten together, and the people of the world are being gouged in the tens of billions of dollars. Numerous dubious regimes, including Iraq, are reaping gigantic windfalls. President Bush has been criticized over whether the proposed attack on Iraq is "all about oil." He could easily dispel this criticism by pledging to bring down the oil prices from $37 per barrel today to $18 per barrel, like a year or so ago.