Afghan surge will need war tax: pols By CHARLES HURT Last Updated: 11:18 AM, November 30, 2009 Posted: 3:07 AM, November 30, 2009 WASHINGTON -- On the eve of President Obama's announcement of plans for a troop build-up in Afghanistan, lawmakers in both parties warned that the White House is taking on too much and spending way too much. "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," said Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, who recently recommended a "war tax" if the United States is going to continue military operations. Adding troops without better cooperation from nations such as Pakistan and without proper funding is "a fool's errand," Obey said on CNN yesterday. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) seemed open to the idea of a war tax. "I think we will have to pay for it," he said. "We may wish to discuss higher taxes to pay for it." But Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, added that in any event, it would not be wise to raise taxes to pay for more war while imposing enormous new taxes to pay for the Democrats' government-run health-insurance plan. "The war is terribly important. Jobs and our economy are terribly important. So this may be an audacious suggestion," Richard Lugar said. "But I would suggest we put aside the health-care debate until next year, the same way we put cap and trade and climate change, and talk now about the essentials, the war and money." Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) quickly responded that Lugar was not "making sense." "The health-care debate is essential to our economic future," Reed said. "To stop now would be stopping on the edge of significant reform." Obama will deliver a speech tomorrow night at West Point, laying out his strategy for sending more than 30,000 additional troops to fight and to train others in Afghanistan. ----------------------------------------- Excellent idea as it clearly demonstrates commitment.