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Prefunded Regime Change

A counterpoint to prepaid war cards
  [vote for,

Regime change is an expensive activity. While taxpayers cannot possibily avoid all responsibility for national security, it should be possible to get people to "put their money where their mouth is" when it comes to war.

There should be individual countries funding, and a contigency fund for any ongoing war. The individual countries funding target will be 3 billion for every 1 million of the country to be invaded's population, the contigency funding target will be 200 billion. Combined, this will insure an iraq-style war will be funded for at least two years.

While I don't expect this to stop any wars(let's face it, the US goes to war ALL the time, no matter who is in office), it will enrich the debate.

In the unlikely event 1. we wait that long to invade a country 2. that much money is raised to wage war, and 3. we are not already engaged in a war that is requiring resources from the contingency fund, an IMMEDIATE vote on the war will be required by the legislature, with the war itself considered to require no costs to taxpayers.

However, there are caveats, involving planning. If funding for a war is projected to be complete in two years or less, this will automatically trigger planning, funded by 1% of the individual country total, and language training funding, amounting to 5%. For example, let's say regime change in North Korea is considered: The population is 23 million, so the initial war projection is 69 billion. 690 million dollars will be spent on planning(including more human intel gathering in country), and 3.45 billion will be set aside to teach some US service members Korean.

However, in all likelihood, the well-spent 690 million will create a consensus that a war with North Korea will actually cost significantly more. First, there would be the WMD surcharge: let's just say WMD management costs will increase the North Korea price tage by 10 billion. And then, there would be the "China factor", where it is decided that an additional $2 billion must be set aside for every $1 billion in the reported Chinese military budget.

This would push the North Korea war cost estimate to 69+10+(67.5*2), or $214 billion, which would of course require us to wait until we are two years away from reaching the $214 billion target before reviewing the plan, at a cost of 2.14 billion, and the 10.7 billion is set aside for a servicemen linguistics program of Korean AND Chinese.

This of course in addition to the $200 billion contingency fund, for a total amount set aside of $414 billion before having to ask the taxpayers for money.

Meanwhile, the pro-war diplomats will try and get UN sercurity council resolutions passed against the country.

While the funds are building up but not yet built up, any public advocates of regime change could be criticized for not contributing to the fund, and congressmen who vote to authorize a war can be criticized for not volenteering some of their own money to pay for the war. It's largely symbolic, I know, but if each congressman were expected to fork over, say, 10K with his yes vote, well, congress would have paid $2.96 million for the Iraq war, and the senate another $770 thousand.

The database tracking the funds donated will be public access on the web, so everyone can see whether or not Halliburton contributed any money for the upcoming invasion of Sudan, or Syria, etc.

There's more details to be added, but this system will:
1. set aside realistic funding to get the job done
2. ensure at least some planning is done
3. equip troops with linguistics skills that will assist with operations. Encourage surrenders, gather Counter-insurgency intel, etc.
4. not leave the troops to rot when a pre-paid war "card" "runs out of funds".

Madai, Oct 18 2005

Hitler's "election" http://chss2.montcl...lajmang/fuehrer.htm
We could debate the technicalities forever, of course... [Madai, Oct 19 2005]


       Invasions have traditionally been funded by looting the invaded country. I see nothing wrong with that model. (That is not to say that I see nothing wrong with invading other countries: that has to be evaluated on a case by case basis.)
DrCurry, Oct 18 2005

       And what "phat lewts" has the US gotten from Korea, Vietnam, Iran-Contra, Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, or Iraq??   

       Whatever tradition you speak of is long gone. There is no physical plunder that can make up for the dollar cost of modern warfare, much less the human cost.   

       That is why war is fought over intangibles, like security, freedom, etc, and thus subject to acriminous debates about whether said wars advance either.   

       If Iraq really was for oil, it'd be oh so much simpler.
Madai, Oct 18 2005

       sure the American soldiers are not carrying oil out of iraq in 3 gallon containers on their backs. Those times are gone. But the times when security is linked to "stable and cheap oil supply" are here. Looting is gone, intimidation and extorsion is here to stay.   

       Or wait a minute ... looting is still here ... but with a different name: "contracts to rebuild Iraq - Iraquis paying the bill" ...
ixnaum, Oct 18 2005


       But you are right: there is no economic sense in playing the world's policeman. If a war doesn't make economic sense (in terms of either loot or trade), we almost certainly shouldn't be fighting it. (And that is not to say that there are no other reasons for not fighting wars: there are a great many.)   

       [People cite WW II as a "just war," but that was post hoc justification, once we found out Hitler really was the evil tyrant our propaganda was claiming. The major cause at the time was economic competition between the British and German empires, and between the Japanese and American empires.]
DrCurry, Oct 18 2005

       IPOing wars is not new. Don't they call it War Bonds?   

       BTW, to the extent that this is a rant -- war is debated and then either declared or not -- I don't see what the issue is.   

       Surely war IS an acceptable use of government funds? I mean what else should they take my money for? Gardening?
theircompetitor, Oct 19 2005

       UB, there are lots of things governments can choose to spend money on, especially when that's with the consent of the governed.   

       My point is that the system that "governs" this already exists.   

       As to US defense budgets, we already discussed this once -- we're currently using something made possible by the insane US defense budgets, and we're doing it in passable English, to boot (and not in Russian, German, Japanese or Mandarin).   

       In 10 to 20 years, when we can leave parties drunk as college freshmen because our automated driver will take us home, it'll be also in large part due to same US spend. And it's the Army's Core of Engineers that was involved in fixing the levees in New Orleans.   

       And finally, all the deficit talk non-withstanding, it's our money, and we can choose how we spend it.
theircompetitor, Oct 19 2005

       Put it this way [Madai], would it unnerve you at all if China established a "Saving up for War" fund? You might as well change the name of the Department of Defense to the "Department of Pre-Emptive Attack" (actually, you might as well do that in any case) and then get "It ain't if, it's when" translated into Latin and hung up above the door.

It's unclear, due to your failure to understand how to use the words "country", "countries" and "country's", whether you plan to include any other states in this scheme. If you do, by implication you expect an international consensus on where to attack, when, with what grounds etc. Given the way in which the truth had to be put through the mangle just to get the UK to follow the US into Iraq, do you think it's going to be so easy to convince countries whose leaders aren't halfway up the large intestine of your President to gang up for the next round? [-]
DocBrown, Oct 19 2005

       i've always thought the non proliferation issue nonsensical ~ it interferes with sovereignty   

       i have a somewhat unique perspective on this, having lived on both sides of the curtain AND in a vassal state. i can tell you that we resented the hell out of America and Carter -- Carter! -- for imposing Camp David   

       it's an inevitable consequence of power
theircompetitor, Oct 19 2005

       //using it to invade sovereign nations who've really done nothing more than expressed a desire to own some of the same toys as the US is probably not such a good idea.//   

       Sovereignty is an interesting term to use. If a DICTATOR is sovereign, the people are not. Rational checks and balances will prevent this idea from being used against sovereign peoples. But the dictators who oppress them are fair game.   

       Naturally, this idea would not be used against fairly elected governments. That would be pointless. This would be used against tyrannical dictatorships, guilty of far more than just "wanting the same toys".   

       North Korea is an example of criminal incompetence. The centrally planned economy is failing to provide enough food for the people, for example.   

       //would it unnerve you at all if China established a "Saving up for War" fund?//   

       If they planned to attack elected governments... yes it would be unnerving. But if they were saving up to get rid of threats to world security, that's good.   

       See, I am not afraid of China. While they are basically a dictatorship, they don't strike me as particularly insane. What's more, they are not particularly imperialistic. Think about it. One of the greater cultural icons of China is a great wall to keep out the barbarians!   

       I don't think they want to take over the world. They simply haven't demonstrated that ambition. I don't think we'll be in a true war with the Chinese in the foreseeable future. It's far more likely that we will be doing joint anti-terror operations in cooperation with the Chinese, in the forseeable future.   

       War with China is ridiculously unthinkable at this time. China and the US are HUGE trading partners. War between them would utterly ruin both economies.   

       I see your point, DocBrown, and you can easily find some people who are afraid of China, but I am not one of them.
Madai, Oct 19 2005

       //post hoc justification, once we found out Hitler really was the evil tyrant our propaganda was claiming//
I would have thought that invading Czechoslovakia would have been a bit of a clue.
//If they planned to attack elected governments... yes it would be unnerving.//
You're aware that Hitler was elected, surely? Before he invaded Czechoslovakia?
angel, Oct 19 2005

       I took the example of China because it's the closest thing we have to another superpower currently, not because they're looking particularly aggressive at the minute. You may be correct in your assessment that China and the US will avoid all-out war for now - at the moment they're more interested in focusing aggression internally, but the moment will come when things that certain factions in the US lump under the banner of "freedom" (ludicrously cheap petroleum, unlimited supply of luxury goods, high standard of living) may start to be squeezed by China. Then we'll see!

[angel] makes an excellent point - there have been evil elected types in the past, just as I'm sure we could find examples of absolute rule being applied in a benign fashion. The problem is: who decides what's evil and good and who's allowed nukes and who's not? It's the US and allies presumption that the answer to that question is "Us of course!" that is a major source of global resentment towards George & co.

Also, I think you'd find the certainty of war a bit scary - as in, you've got until they've saved 400bn and then there'll be a draft and you're off to right wrongs overseas, sonny boy! War should never be regarded as inevitable.
DocBrown, Oct 19 2005

       Doc, who decides is the right question -- and also the answer -- to UB's budget question. Rest is WIBNI (wouldn't it be nice if super powers sent carriers to rescue tsunami victims but didn't dictate policy)
theircompetitor, Oct 19 2005

       Ah DocBrown, but there are some who only understand force. Part of the problem with bin Ladin was, he thought the US was a paper tiger that didn't have the guts to put up a fight.   

       Rational actors will do everything they can to avoid war. There is a money quote from Qaddafi: "I will do whatever the Americans want because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid"   

       War is always the last resort, but the threat of war must be present.   

       //You're aware that Hitler was elected, surely? Before he invaded Czechoslovakia?//   

       Yes, Angel, this idea won't stop the next Hitler. This idea is more about improving the long-term situation of people under criminally *incompetent* governments. Hitler was evil, but he was competent. The economy under Hitler improved. I'm not trying to compliment the man, just stating the facts. The economy under Mugabe, Jong-Il etc, suffered. Don't take this to mean I am obsessed with money, materialism, because we are talking about poverty and starvation here.   

       Facing down a Hitler is a herculean task. Facing down a Mugabe is comparitively simple.
Madai, Oct 19 2005

       [Madai] you already have one of these political ideas in the bottom 10 ideas of the site. Do you really want another one? This is a site for inventions, which strictly speaking, this isn't, not a place to dispense your political views. It practically begs for an Advocacy tag.   

       And strictly speaking, Hitler was never democratically elected. An ex-chancellor named Franz Von Papen convinced the reigning president Hindenberg to elect Hitler as a puppet chancellor. Hitler then ctried to seize the presidency. Even in an amazingly rigged election, he still didn't get enough votes to seize power. But unfortunately Hindenberg died in '34 and Hitler combined the roles to take full power.
hidden truths, Oct 19 2005

       hidden truths, I don't like deleting my ideas, no matter how poorly recieved. There are plenty of non-inventions on this site. If anything, I leave my bad ideas around so as no one gets the same bad idea and posts it a year later.   

       Meanwhile, I enjoy the debate this idea stirs.
Madai, Oct 19 2005

       Hidden Truths, there was indeed an "election", in 1934, where hitler won nearly 90% of the vote. How valid the election was is debateable, but there you have it. Link provided.
Madai, Oct 19 2005

       //Part of the problem with bin Laden was, he thought the US was a paper tiger that didn't have the guts to put up a fight.//

You seriously think he missed the Desert Storm coverage in '91? I'd say all of the problem with Bin Laden is he knew that a strike of the nature of 9/11 could be executed without reprisals getting back to him. Four years on, he's still unpunished. If you think the US can avoid further attack by becoming *more* aggressive, I'd say you're misguided. Actually, I'd say "Good afternoon, Mr Rumsfeld", but you get the point.

//War is always the last resort, but the threat of war must be present.//Agreed but the threat of war is not the same thing as the certainty of war, which is how you've presented things here.
DocBrown, Oct 19 2005

       Regardless of the rhetoric on either side of the Iraq attack argument, the true goal of dislodging Saddam, regardless of his non-involvement in 9/11, was to make sure that from that point on no government in the area think that it serves at more than the pleasure of the US.   

       This in turn was done to make sure that they understand that it is in their interest to make sure they do everything possible to make sure the US is not attacked again.   

       Mind you, I'm not sure that this goal was fully achieved. You had the success in Lybia but Syria and Iran continue to play with fire in Iraq -- though both countries must assume that if an attack in the US was traced to Hezbollah or Hamas they -- these governments -- would be at risk.
theircompetitor, Oct 19 2005

       //You seriously think he missed the Desert Storm coverage in '91?//   

       We didn't get rid of Saddam in '91. We just removed him from a tiny little country. All in all, were I a dictator, I'd be emboldened by the treatment of Saddam in '91.   

       Terrorism is different from invading another country. We responded weakly to terrorism, even giving Arafat a peace prize.   

       //Four years on, he's still unpunished.//   

       He is on the run. Unpunished would imply he can, you know, address the UN without getting arrested, etc. Arafat was unpunished, Osama is merely not caught yet.   

       Regime change is not always about National Security. Bosnia did not present a national security threat, but we went it. Somalia did not present a national security threat, but we went in. Sudan and Zimbabwe do not present national security threats, but I want their regimes changed nonetheless, because it will improve the lives of the people in the long run.   

       //certainty of war, which is how you've presented things here.//   

       let me clarify what I meant when I said this:   

       //an IMMEDIATE vote on the war will be required by the legislature//   

       Even if the war is already paid for, the legislature, as is constitutionally required, will still have to vote on it.   

       Personally, I can't imagine anyone volentarily funding a war to the tune of 200 billion+   

       Let's take, for example, Cuba. Let's say 2 million people BADLY want us to invade Cuba. With 11.3 million as Cuba's population, they must raise 34 billion to designate Cuba as a target, and then get the contigency fund up to 200 billion.   

       That's $17,000 per person to designate Cuba as a target. Then another $100,000 per person to fill the contigency fund, IF the contingency fund isn't tapped for any other war or hot zone.   

       They *might* contribute 4k/year average(I doubt they would but it's financially possible), and signal it's "go time" in Cuba in four years. But, it'd still take another 25 years to raise enough money for contingencies IF the contingency fund is not raided to fund other enterprises.   

       Meanwhile, the rabidly pro-war folks have that much less spending money to spend on propaganda, etc.   

       Any war that, on the other hand, can get people to raise the full 200+ billion, will most likely sail through congress. But the likelihood of raising that sum is extraordinarily low.
Madai, Oct 19 2005

       //make sure that from that point on no government in the area think that it serves at more than the pleasure of the US. //
I wish Bush would have come out and said this from the beginning. I hate when politicians hide behind BS explanations ... "we are going to rid of the 1000s of WMDs" (BS)... "we have to get Sadam because he is plotting the next strike together with Ossama" (BS)

Just say ... "We lost control over that region and we want it back. Now lets shock and awe the hell out of those countries so that they don't think of wiping their asses without asking for our permission"
... that would have made his intentions much clearer, Bush would have been declared the antisocial psychopath that he is and that would be the end of it.
ixnaum, Oct 19 2005

       Bush honestly believed Saddam still had WMD. I can find a host of other 2001-2002 era quotes of various other people who honestly thought Saddam was still armed, too.   

       And Saddam was a terror patron, and Bush did fear his support methods of terrorists would grow to include WMD.   

       Finally, Bush made it clear from the beginning that he intended to establish a democracy to replace Saddam. Go back and read the speeches. It was all spelled out from the beginning.   

       And, it's not as simple as whether of not the US greenlights their government. Even a US-backed government must reform in order to placate the will of the people they govern.   

       And Ixnaum, your Bush-hate is largely irrational. 296 members of the house and 77 senators voted to use force against Saddam. (HJ 114) By the same token, the power to end this war does lie in the legislature-- they could order the troops out, just like they did in Vietnam.   

       If stopping the president was rational, the legislature could do it lickety split. He is not out of control. He is, mostly, a bumbling figurehead and a convenient object of hate if you're antiwar and don't understand how the US works.
Madai, Oct 19 2005

       As a president his role is to lead the american people ... he has done so in a very destructive and self-destructive way.
ixnaum, Oct 19 2005

       this is really straying far and wide   

       time for overbaked
theircompetitor, Oct 19 2005


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