The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

On reports that the Obama administration is excluding any Islamic reference from the upcoming National Security Strategy:

It’s fatuous. It borders on the Orwellian. If we weren’t involved in a war against Islamic radicals and jihadism — which is what it is — it wouldn’t be as tragic.

The commander in chief has just sent 30,000 Americans to fight, and some will die in battle against whom? Against what? He, himself, has said openly it’s about a-Qaeda. But what is al-Qaeda? Is it just a gang of violent extremists? What does that tell us? What is their ideology? What exactly are we preventing?

The idea is to prevent it from taking over the region and the entire Middle East. Well, it’s openly proclaimed itself as an Islamic movement. That’s how it sees itself — [an] interpretation of the Koran and religion which would impose Sharia law in a violent way on everybody and produce in the Middle East and the world what we had in Afghanistan before the American invasion.

Now that is a specific [program] — it isn’t a prejudice of ours or a stereotype of ours. That’s the essence of their ideology. And to deny it is absurd.

In Pakistan, we have allies, the moderates in the government and in the army who are now at war with the same jihadists. Do you think the Pakistanis, who are Muslims, are denying that the enemy is jihadism — and the imposition of Sharia law? For us to deny it is to say that our own allies — the moderate Muslims — are deluded.

On Obama adviser Paul Volcker’s raising the possibility of a value-added tax (VAT), which Krauthammer predicted in his column two weeks ago:

It was obvious on the day that health-care was signed. We enacted the largest entitlement since the New Deal. We’re now reaching levels of the European entitlement state and we are going to have to have European levels of taxation.

Now, how are you going to do it? The income tax is tapped out. As a result of Republican efforts, half of the American people pay zero income tax and you can only squeeze so much out of the other half. We’re already going to be raising taxes when the Bush cuts expire.

All that is left is the VAT. That is what happens in Europe. And the reason it’s attractive and it’s so inevitable is because it creates a river of cash, where one percent is $100 billion a year of revenue. So a 10 percent [VAT] here would be $1 trillion a year.

The Europeans have it at levels of about 20 percent. It’s addicting. If you raise it a half a percent or one [percent], you get a lot of money and nobody really notices. And the VAT is not quite a sales tax because a lot of it is hidden. . . .

That’s why politicians love it — because a lot of it is hidden in the price of the item. Only a bit of is [visible] on the surface as a tax. So I think ultimately it will be enacted.

Obama as a candidate would never speak about it and the Democrats up until enactment of health care pretended no new taxes would be involved. It obviously is coming. . . .

[The Democrats] will deny it [contemplating a VAT] until elections in November. They’ll say we’re not considering it. What a crazy idea. Only Republicans and conservatives are implying it’s inevitable.

The day after elections it will become an issue again. The deficit commission will report to the president after Election Day. It will be a major recommendation, I assure you.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”


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