Sunday, June 5, 2011

Letter to the Times (Not Published)

Today I am going to include a letter I wrote to the New York Times back on May 29th in response to an article by Gretchen Morgenson that cited a financial expert who said debt was unusually high, especially in a time of peace. Except, of course, we're spending billions every day to maintain at least two wars, maybe three. The Times requires that letters not be published anywhere else, so I had to wait for their decision before copying it here. I think I can be pretty sure at this point that they won't print this letter. Pity. What could be more Orwellian than for responsible commentators to claim we are in peacetime when we are clearly at war.

To the Editor:
In her May 29th, 2011 column in the New York Times Sunday Business
section, Gretchen Morgenson, a usually reliable reporter on financial
issues, allows a dangerous and insidious error by Joseph E. Gagnon, a
much praised senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International
economics, to go uncorrected. At one point, Gagnon is reported to have
said: “It is unique in peacetime for so many countries to have so much
debt.” Stunned, I searched the article for a correction. None came.
Last time I checked the United States is spending billions of dollars
every day on wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya. This is hardly
peacetime for the United States. But perhaps it is not surprising that
Mr. Gagnon would make such a statement, as it has been the strategy of
American leaders at least since 2003 to wage war and risk thousands of
American lives, while exacting so little sacrifice from most of the
rest of the American people. The fact that Mr. Gagnon can claim we
live in a time of peace when we are plainly mired in multiple wars
shows how morally bankrupt our position has become. The first issue
that must be addressed in any discussion of the debt crisis is the
money being wasted in senseless conflicts. Everything else is

Stephen Preskill
170 West End Avenue, Apt. 6S
New York, NY 10023

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