Tell it to their families

Rumsfeld comments on the recent attack on an American helicopter, which so far has resulted in the death of 16 soldiers:

“In a long, hard war, we’re going to have tragic days, as this is,” Rumsfeld told ABC’s “This Week.” “But they’re necessary. They’re part of a war that’s difficult and complicated.”

A Dictator?

The Washington Post reports that the Coalition has brought the flat tax to Iraq:

    It took L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Baghdad, no more than a stroke of the pen Sept. 15 to accomplish what eluded the likes of publisher Steve Forbes, former representative Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.), former senator Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) and former representative Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.) over the course of a decade and two presidential campaigns.

    “The highest individual and corporate income tax rates for 2004 and subsequent years shall not exceed 15 percent,” Bremer wrote in Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 37, “Tax Strategy for 2003,” issued last month.

Here comes the punchline:

    Bremer’s new economic policy for Iraq will slash Saddam Hussein’s top tax rate for individuals and businesses from 45 to 15 percent. Of course, since Hussein’s government, like others in the Middle East, almost never enforced tax collection, there is no real history of paying taxes in the country.

I have to admit that Saddam had some endearing qualities (ok, just this one)…

War Politics Without Romance

I found this essay: “Public Choice: Politics Without Romance,” by James M. Buchanan, on the excellent (though pro-imperialism-tending) website.

“Armed with nothing more than the rudimentary insights from public choice, persons could understand why, once established, bureaucracies tend to grow apparently without limit and without connection to initially promised functions. They could understand why pork-barrel politics dominated the attention of legislators; why there seems to be a direct relationship between the overall size of government and the investment in efforts to secure special concessions from government (rent seeking); why the tax system is described by the increasing number of special credits, exemptions, and loopholes; why balanced budgets are so hard to secure; and why strategically placed industries secure tariff protection.”


“There’s stuff that I’ve only seen in museums, in books or on the Internet,” said Sgt. 1st Class Nelson Castro, the 3-16th’s master gunner. “Most of this stuff is in fairly good shape.”