Jewish World Review Oct. 2, 2003 /6 Tishrei, 5764

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‘The Real Deal’ on the 87 billion | Nobody said that rebuilding Iraq was going to be easy, nobody that is, except some members of the United States Congress.

This congress has spent money at record rates, with a farm bill breaking all records, a transportation bill being one of the largest ever. Plus, we have had the biggest pork-filled budget on Capitol Hill ever in the history of Congress. But now that the future of Iraq is on the line, some members in Congress are nitpicking every last dime this president's proposed for the rebuilding of Iraq.

So why should we even rebuild Iraq? I'll tell you why: Because the future of American civilization depends on it. Now, our troops in Iraq have been there for a number of reasons, but none are more pressing than the reason of creating a free, pro-American nation in the middle of Osama bin Laden's top terror breeding ground.

As a fiscal conservative who talked the talk and walked the walk in Congress, $87 billion is a phrase that makes me wince. But it is not as bad as the bottom-line cost on our 9/11 attacks on our economy. More frightening still is the prospect of another similar attack and the trillion-dollar recession that would trigger.

The bottom line is, we can fight this battle on the streets of Baghdad with a few holdout thugs or we can fight the war of terror in the streets of America. Now, like me, most American citizens prefer the former. And that's why this war continues receiving strong support.

America is at a crossroads. We can pay the price of peace in Iraq, using our dollars to rebuild their country. Or we can pinch pennies and fail much like the allies did at Versailles after World War I. And that failure to pay the price of rebuilding Germany created Adolf Hitler. And it ultimately ended up costing tens of millions of lives 30 years later.

By the end of World War II, America had learned its lesson and saved Europe from the scourge of communism by pushing the Marshall Plan. Was it expensive to rebuild Western Europe? Yes. But we got repaid financially 1,000 times over. The only question now is whether we choose the visionary path that led to peace in Europe or choose instead to fight the rebuilding efforts and risk the creation of another Middle Eastern madman.

That choice is in the hands of our Congress.

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Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) hosts “Scarborough Country,” 10 p.m. ET, weeknights on MSNBC. Comment by clicking here.

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