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November 30th, 2009
06:00 AM ET

Sound Off: Afghanistan war tax?

Washington (CNN) - President Obama will announce the U.S. troop strategy for Afghanistan in a speech at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Obama will announce his U.S. troop strategy for Afghanistan on Tuesday."]

In the speech, Obama will explain why the United States is in Afghanistan, its interests there and his decision-making process, Gibbs said, but "the president does not see this as an open-ended engagement.

A leading congressional Democrat, who is the chief proponent of a new tax that would fund future military operations in Afghanistan, suggested Sunday that continuing to fight the Afghan war under current conditions is “a fool’s errand” and, at the same time, said that his tax proposal would create a sense of shared sacrifice that has been missing in the last eight years.

Rep. David Obey, a Democrat from Wisconsin, is expressing serious reservations about the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan – just days before President Obama is expected to announce a substantial increase in U.S. troops in the country.

“The problem is that you can have the best policy in the world, but if you don't have the tools to implement it, it isn't worth a beanbag,” Obey said on CNN’s State of the Union, “And I don't think we have the tools in the Pakistani government and I don't think we have the tools in the Afghan government. And until we do, I think much of what we do is a fool's errand.” Read more

What do you think of the idea of a war surtax to fund military operations in Afghanistan? Sound off below.

Filed under: Afghanistan
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Bill

    I serious doubt any of our reps read these comments made on this "War Tax", by any of us, and even if they do, they better listen to what the people say. Everybody is pretty feed up with stupid taxes, reckless careless Federal spending, bailouts, and the current recession in general. What is going to happen one day when citizens refuse to pay up? Put us all in jail. Not likely! Live it up while you are in currently in office, because you can be voted out promptly.

    December 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  2. Dave

    Tax me 10% if you can actually explain what our end achivement will be. No one knows who we are fighting and this idiot commander in chief(Obama), for those of you who dont know, says"this is a war of nessesity" and as your good buddy Ram(the other guy with a funny name) sayes"dont waist a perfectly good crisis.Wake up everyone , we all have been fooled by these people. Time to cut our losses here and there.

    November 30, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  3. Jeff

    If we had term limits on politicians, this would never be a subject for consideration. The way our government manages money, I am sure the money raised by this tax would end up funding the DNC during the next election. Our current politicians are so far out of touch with the needs of the people, it is like they are on another planet. Taxes are not the answer!! Take care of our country's domestic problems first! Term limits!!!

    November 30, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  4. Mitchell

    Wow...another another great idea on how to raise taxes. Leave it to the democrates.

    November 30, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  5. Mari

    OK We don't have to cut our government expenses, we can increase our income. Spend, spend spend! The tax payer or money tree. I wish I had one. Oh wait, didn't people lose their homes due to spending what they did not have? Banks needed a bail out because of all of the honest packages (ha ha) they sold to the masses. A few people do well (Madoff), others pay. Some day our country will have two classes the very rich (including politicians) and everyone else who works to keep the system working. Our democracy is changing..........Change is happening. What happened to taking responsibility for oneself, working hard, being honest and not expecting everything for free. We all know nothing is for free, someone has to pay. What percentage of taxes actually go towards what they were intended for? What are we fighting for in Afganistan, is their country really interested; then why haven't they been able to fight for themselves in all the years we have been there?
    As a country we should only buy what we can afford, start saving and stop borrowing, stop increasing taxes, and only elect representatives that can do this and have cleared background checks for not receiving donations from those who have a selfish agenda!

    November 30, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  6. Sandy McKaren

    Why don't you leave Tiger alone. He's not required to give you any information so stop speculating & trying to persecute him like you've done to other human beings in the past.

    November 30, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  7. Sandy McKaren

    I do not agree with Rep John Larson who spoke this morning about the citizens taking up the slack again – hey what about him – what sacrifices is he making?? Why doesn't he & his fellow representitives give up their perks & start paying for their own gas, vacations, cars, lunches, dinners, etc etc. Come on John – give it up.

    November 30, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  8. Bryan

    Why would Americans support a tax for a war they don't support let the ones in Washington who find it so important pay for it themselves. Or better yet how about some of our allies that sent a pittance force to help. Let them reimburse America for what we have paid with our young mens lives instead. I am not in favor of any new taxes.


    November 30, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  9. Walt

    Everyone now knows that Bush came into office with a vendetta itch to "whup" Saddam Hussein and looking for any excuse to do it. We have McCain's statement that Bush was moving against Iraq days after 9/11. If Bush had, instead, been laser-focused on getting his ranch repainted with government resources, we would long-since have demanded that he repay the Treasury for the resources he misused.
    War Tax? Bush first, then Cheney, then Haliburton. Tax THEM into pauperhood.

    November 30, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  10. max

    If the government had not already used our tax money to bail out the banks and the car manufactures, we would be able to afford the war.

    Since when has it been a good idea to loan money to businesses that make bad decisions. I know the banks won't do it for small business.
    ENOUGH! No more tax!

    November 30, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  11. Ken, Lynchburg, Va.

    Yes, a War Tax! President Obama’s administration is faced with a decision that will have a profound and lasting influence on the region and the world in general. Afghanistan looks like Vietnam in many respects. Col. Andrew J. Bacevich, U.S. Army (RET) who is also a professor of International Relations at Boston University had an essay, "The War We Can't Win" which was republished in Harper's Nov. 09 which spells out the dilemma facing the United States in Afghanistan in stark terms. I completely agree with Col. Bacevich’s position that “Fixing Afghanistan is not only unnecessary; it’s also likely to prove impossible. Not for nothing has the place acquired the nickname Graveyard of Empires.” This “Empire” is facing near bankruptcy with the Bush Iraq War, if not in fact a Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld War Crime, a trillion dollar war costing over 4,300 American lives and over 30,000 WIA; a completely unnecessary war initiated by the ignorance, arrogance and incompetence of the neoconservatives. This in combination with the Afghanistan conflict, which was ignored and forgotten, has lasted eight years which Bush has passed on to his successor. There appears to be no “good” alternatives, but to declare it is a war “we must win” by endless nation building is delusional. As an aside, if the DRAFT were reinstated, the tune of the neoconservatives would change immediately if their sons faced what the Army and Marines are realizing in Afghanistan instead of cheering on their football teams this fall in the university football stadiums across the country! It is immoral and morally corrosive to ask less then 1% of our young to bear this unending burden of war while NO SACRIFICE is asked of the majority of Americans, not even a war tax, deploying these Soldiers and U.S. Marines over and over again into combat! Have we no shame, what kind of people are we?

    November 30, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  12. Jean-Luke Picard

    Obama lost his goal of taxing us for the environment because it was proven last week that all the scientific data was rubbish and fake. So now he dishes out a war tax? I want to talk to his manager, cause this ain't right at all.

    Here's the real solution...All gov't workers must now work for minimum wage, including the president and all. That'll pay for their criminal war.

    November 30, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  13. keith lafferty

    Why are we even in Afghanistan, the U.S. has had Bin Ladin in their sights a few times and did NOTHING. The U.S. government needs to tax themselves, not the american people that already pay Federal taxes. It's apparent that we cannot win and aren't there to win the war so bring our troops home. We the American people are taxed enough !! NO NEW WAR TAXES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 30, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  14. Democrat Bev

    I am very opposed to continuing this "war", but if we are going to do it, we MUST pay for it as we go. Taxes not only on profiting businesses, but a tax on the citizens. I can remember the sacrifices asked of everyone during the WWII. We have not been asked to sacrifice anything these last eight years except for our military and their families. They have been asked to sacrifice everything.

    November 30, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  15. Teresa

    Begin by taxing the paychecks of congressmen, senators and representatives who support the war tax, begin with John Larson oh say 20% , the middle class cannot affort to have more money taken out of their paychecks i support the troops but not the war, how long will it take the government to figure out we cannot win.
    Also, people on social security have already taken a freeze use that for your stupid war tax, and all the unnecessary spending in Washington should be used for the tax, not tax the people of this country more for a war most do not support.
    I also agree with other statements by people on this site that say lower the salaries of Congress, get rid of those wonderful benefits, retirement and live like the rest of us.


    November 30, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  16. be heard

    I believe we need to send troops to Afghanistan. We need to fight this war against the enemy and better to do it their own backyard than wait for them to come here. They've done enough damage to us thru the economy. 9/11 hurt this country more than we want to think. But no war tax on Americans. We do pay taxes now that are supposed to run our country's affairs. We are just about broke paying taxes now. No war tax added to Americans taxes! Obama promised no new taxes on us and all we've seen is taxes being raised thru home taxes and additional taxing they've dreamed up and a reduction in social security thru a higher bite for medicare. We are older and are hurting and if you younger folks don't have empathy for what the older generation is going thru, then you need to remember you will be here soon. How will you live?

    November 30, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  17. Kevin L. Moore

    This is an addition to my last post.
    Hey I have a better idea! Rather then sit around venting our displeasure with these wazoo's we call servants of the people, lets start up a petition to recall all politicians currently serving in Congress and the Senate, and put people in there who have the desire to fix this country before they outsource ownership of this land to Iran, Iraq, and Afganistan.
    Are you listening Senators, Congressmen and women, and Mister President??? Across all "party" lines!!!

    November 30, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  18. Disie from NC

    Why would anyone support the idea of a war surtax when the President and Congress already created the IRS to pay for our wars.

    "The roots of IRS go back to the Civil War when President Lincoln and Congress, in 1862, created the position of commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay war expenses. The income tax was repealed 10 years later. Congress revived the income tax in 1894, but the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional the following year.

    16th Amendment
    In 1913, Wyoming ratified the 16th Amendment, providing the three-quarter majority of states necessary to amend the Constitution. The 16th Amendment gave Congress the authority to enact an income tax. That same year, the first Form 1040 appeared after Congress levied a 1 percent tax on net personal incomes above $3,000 with a 6 percent surtax on incomes of more than $500,000.

    In 1918, during World War I, the top rate of the income tax rose to 77 percent to help finance the war effort. It dropped sharply in the post-war years, down to 24 percent in 1929, and rose again during the Depression. During World War II, Congress introduced payroll withholding and quarterly tax payments."


    November 30, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  19. Eleanor

    Please! Get serious! Taxes, taxes, taxes–that is all our Congress seems to know!!! The military and protecting our freedom is one of the few directives given to Congress in our Constitution. Health care is not the responsibility of the government! The thought of taxing Americans for the war so that there is money for health care is so ridiculous it is embarrassing for our country.

    November 30, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  20. Renee

    I think it is outradious! The last administration got us into the Iraq war and we should not have been there and it cost this country greatly in unnecessary dollars. Now this country is in a recession for who knows how long and this administration bails out the banks and corporations that helped get us into the recession instead of giving the money to the people of the country who make up the economy; and now you want to tax us! The government is now trying to do this health care reform bill, which by the way the people don't want; We want the economy fixed!!! The governors, senators and congressmen sit up there on their "hill" and think they know what is right for this country, well, they don't, because they don't read the polls of the people or listen to the people; this country is the people, we are what makes the economy move, small businesses, people with jobs who have money to spend to make the stores thrive, "we the people" make this country thrive. This country has been mismanaged for many centuries and I personally had high hopes for Obama until he bailed out the banks instead of the people, which makes him just the same as the rest of them up there. If our government cared about the people they would make the big corporations, pharmacutical companies, health insurance companies, banks and all the other ones who have abused their power in these positions with elaborate bonuses, salaries and perks, even government officials from lobbyists; this administration would make them give that up and give it to the people of this country who have lost their jobs and homes and are living on the streets. But no, now they have come up with a new way to tax the people, again, and are even dirtying it by comparing it to WWII, which is an absolute disgrace. If they cared so much about the future of our children and grandchildren, they would make the corporations and banks give back the money that they were given and give it to the people of this country; then and maybe then we can get this country on the right track, otherwise, we are headed into a country which is bankrupt and will be completely owned by China, since that is who we get our money from anyway.

    November 30, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  21. Jeff

    Wow the CNN viewers are clueless or they have already forgot what happened on 9/11. What a shame.

    November 30, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  22. kristi

    I don't believe in this war and I definitely don't want to pay a tax to it! Bring our kids home!

    November 30, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  23. Carlene

    I saw an earlier comment about a draft. Have you seen the number of young men and women are turned down by our military? They weed them out with a test to start with that is not a fair evaluation of a persons ability to serve our country. My son tried for two years to get into the service. Now instead he is struggling to keep work because funding was cut in the line of work he was in. He could pass the test when given to him verbally but he does not test well when he reads it on his own. He is a high school graduate. The government services know they can relax entry requirements just a little and they would be able to fill our ranks.
    Another tax that only will be handled as improperly as much of our money is not the answer to the war debt.

    November 30, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  24. Ralph in GA.

    Taxing the millionaires of this country, including the U.S congress some certain amount of money that will cover the cost of this war would be another way to pay for the war. Before we oppose whether to pay for this war or whether we should get out of it or not, we should remember 9-11. OBL is still at large and until we capture or kill him and his members, we should do everything to support this government.


    November 30, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  25. TJ

    I oppose the War Tax, we have a budget, live with it like we have to in our households. If not tax everyone, and if they don't pay taxes then public service in support of the war would do just fine with me.

    November 30, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  26. pat

    Say no to war tax...Say YES to passing a law that any politician who
    trys to raise taxes will be hanged by their nexk until dead. Maybe
    after 1 or 2 is hanged, then the rest can get on to doing the work they
    were elected to do.

    November 30, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  27. Michelle P.

    Absolutely not!!! What has our government done to cut costs to pay for this war? Will they suspend the space program until the budget is balanced? Will they cut the frivolous research programs? Nothing. We need to reduce our expenditures to the bare minimum, until we catch up. They want to continue with their uncontrolled spending and have the citizens pay for it. China warned us to cut down in our spending, but instead we increase it. At this rate, we're headed for a financial meltdown. Take care of Americans first, then go and police the rest of the world with the leftover money.

    November 30, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  28. Capt Stokes

    As a WWII dinosaur-YES I would support a WAR PROFIT TAX on the industrial/corporate beneficiaries of this POLIC ACTION (This is not a War) plus a WWII style rationing program on the Public en-mass. See how fulminatingly Bush's/Conservatives' fiasco would end

    November 30, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  29. Paul

    NO war tax for nation-building and policing wars!

    November 30, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  30. Glenda Joplin

    Americans should not be forced to pay a war tax. Americans did not choose to go to war in Iraq or Afghanistan. Americans did not vote to bail out the big companies on Wall Street. If Congress is so set on this tax, then let it come from their salaries, not the American people. I have been a life-long Democrat, but I have had enough! Both the Republican party during the Bush administration and now the Demos in the short Obama administration have shown no compassion for the middle-class American. We are paying for both the elite programs and those for the "less fortunate" Health care, social security, etc. are in danger of becoming nonexistent. Maybe it is time for a new party to come to front. One suggestion I have is to lower the salaries of Congress, get rid of their "special" benefits and retirements and let them live like the majority of the American people. They should try living on only social security or a retirement benefit, which may be frozen at this time. A war tax? NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 30, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  31. Perry Murphy

    Families here are struggling,"War" ?, jobs are few, food lines are long,people are moving out of homes and into apartments, War? I need some support here at home and a TAX is just what will push me and others over the edge...I've got alot of time on my hands now, I wonder how i will spend it? No to tax, No to war, No to forced or govt controlled health care, this turnip is empty.

    November 30, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  32. Simple Truth

    I have a few comments on this. I agree with the concept and intent of the idea of a war tax. I think many Americans wake up every day and don't even think about the fact that we are involved in 2 different wars right now and a tax would wake people up (myself included) and possibly even stir some action out of people who otherwise just go about our daily business with no thought of what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. So in principal I agree with doing something that makes all Americans realize what is really happening. But, why is the governments answer to almost every problem "raise taxes"? All working Americans pay a great deal of taxes already and much of that is being wasted by the government every day. There is plenty of wasted money going out the door that the government could use to fund the war and pay down our debts. The government is a terrible example of how to manage money and they should be ashamed. They should be setting the example for all of us to follow and instead they just frivolously spend money and just print more when we need it. I think the government should cut all non-essential spending and use that money left over to fund the wars and pay down our debt. For years and in the last Presidential campaign, all the talk was about having and "exit" strategy. Both candidates said they had one. Obama has been in office for almost one year and I have not seen any exit strategy from either Iraq or Afghanistan. All I've seen is more commitment to staying and fighting 2 wars that at this point I don't even see why we are fighting. Why are our sons and daughters getting maimed, dying and risking their lives for a bunch of people who don't even want us there? Did anyone see the recent story about the Navy SEALS who captured one of the most wanted in Iraq? Because the detainee had a bloody lip, 3 of the SEALS who captured him are going on trial. This is out of control and I want to see creative and new ideas, not the same old "raise taxes" excuse that is always used. And we all know we'll never see that money again because they'll just say "we need to keep the tax up to fund future wars, etc."

    November 30, 2009 at 8:44 am |
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