Rangel said that tough talk is cheap, when it comes to the question of going to war; and, if there are no consequences for the majority of people -- and to their congressional representatives -- it becomes too easy to vote for war.
That was said in the wake of Congress adjouring until after the November elections without taking a politically consequential vote on authorizing war against the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL). Congress did vote in favor of a $500 appropriation to train and arm Syrian rebels -- but took no vote to clarify that the airstrikes inside Syria are legal.
Rangel was one of those who voted against the appropriation, saying that, instead:
"It just seems to me that we have not had the debate that's needed with such extraordinary actions being taken. I would feel better if we had some taxes attached to it, or a draft attached to it.Rangel is not going to get many takers for this idea. But I am one. I've long maintained that we wouldn't be nearly so ready to go to war if everyone had to pay the price and suffer the consequences. We would not have invaded Iraq. We would not have the deficit we have today, nor have lost those lives. And Iraq would be a more stable place than it is today. Arguably, even the Iraqi people might be better off under that dictator than they are in the utter chaos that resulted from Dick Cheney's war for oil.
"It just makes sense. If it’s national security, you’ve got to feel it. If it’s somebody else’s problem, then I don’t think we’re giving this the debate that it deserves. . . . It should be something that forces us to think. What could clear your mind better? . . .
"We’ve got to have a war tax, because with the deficit we have, with education, jobs, housing, healthcare -- how the hell are we going to do all that? . . . The last wars we lost 6,000 people and had two tax cuts."