The stock market surged Wednesday as Secretary of State Colin
Powell effectively made the case before the UN Security Council that Saddam
Hussein and his despotic government are in material breach of Resolution
Powell laid out charges that there is "irrefutable and
undeniable" evidence that Saddam is hiding weapons of mass destruction,
moving weapons from place to place to avoid detection by UN inspectors,
failing to provide evidence of chemical weapons that were supposedly
destroyed and preventing scientists from meeting alone with inspectors. He
also supported claims that Iraq is not only harboring terrorists, but
teaching Al Qaeda operatives how to make biological and chemical weapons. As
he did so, the U.S. stock market rallied significantly. Gold and oil prices
Our financial markets have long been suffering under the fog of
war. They would vastly prefer that the United States and its allies
implement regime change and disarmament in Iraq sooner rather than later.
Instead of fearing war, markets have been greatly concerned over
the delay of war.
Why? Every day we wait for the impending invasion of Iraq is a
day Saddam Hussein grows stronger, a day our national security is threatened
and a day our economic security is jeopardized.
Every day of waiting raises the probability of another terrorist
attack in the United States. What kind of attack? Perhaps poisonous toxins
in our water supply or the assassination of our citizens. Maybe more
bombings of our key institutions, or any of a thousand nefarious plots to
prevent families from being safe and hinder businesses from remaining open
to work and produce.
This is the fog of war. And not only does it have our citizens
skittish, it's masking real improvements inside our economy.
Productivity, profits, investment and consumption are all
showing new signs of life, but they are being hidden by the fog of war.
Large-scale money creation by the Federal Reserve has all but ended the
threat of deflation, a key barrier to economic recovery. But we can't see
this through the haze of Iraq and looming terror. Strengthening commodity
prices in metals and industrial materials have provided profitable new
pricing power for important economic sectors for the first time in three
years. But all this is overshadowed.
So is the most aggressive stimulus plan we've seen since Ronald
Reagan was in the White House.
The Bush administration has proposed a dazzling array of new tax
incentives to promote much-needed saving, investment, capital formation and
risk-taking. These tax-reform measures, including lower income-tax rates,
family-oriented tax breaks to nurture marriage and childrearing, an end to
the double tax on dividends, and a simplification and expansion of
supersaver accounts will all combine to trigger a much stronger economy and
provide new value for a sagging stock market. Lost capital and wealth will
be rebuilt, and economic vitality restored. Budget deficits, meanwhile, will
dissolve -- once again the victim of maximized economic growth.
But here, too, the benefits of the Bush budget are being
obscured by the fog of war. Consequently, regime change in Iraq has become
an economic issue, as well as a matter of national security.
Military troops are being put in place in the Iraq theatre.
Special forces are on the ground, preparing to capture the oil fields. The
mightiest air-bombing campaign in history is being planned. A
government-in-exile, one pledged to develop a representative democracy with
social pluralism and true human rights in Iraq, is being organized. War, it
appears, is on the way.
And now it is time for action. Most Americans today are waiting
for President Bush to once and for all pull the plug on Saddam. The nation
has placed its trust in the commander in chief. There is no doubt that we
will succeed in this venture. There is no doubt that the dominos of freedom
and democracy will fall throughout the Middle East after Saddam's removal.
And there is no doubt that international terrorism will be dealt another
For all these reasons and more, let's hope that delay is coming
to an end. Investors, businesses, consumers, and families are not
questioning the rightness of the war. They just want to know why it's taking