Saturday, September 24, 2011

Demanding Sacrifice

Since the Iraq War, it has annoyed me that opponents of the war repeatedly called for a draft or for "sacrifice" by our people (that is, taxes). Supposedly this was to make us share the burden with our troops overseas. It was always about eroding support for the war. When continuation of a war rests on public acceptance of the war, adding needlessly to the burdens the public has on it is foolish.

Otherwise, you'd have to say this is a brilliant move by Assad to share the burden of squashing a budding revolt:

Syria has banned imports of most foreign manufactured goods except raw materials and grains, local businessmen said on Saturday in a move to preserve foreign currency reserves under pressure from Western sanctions and ongoing political unrest.

The government decreed on Thursday that all imports that carry a tariff that exceeds five percent are banned, meaning that most foreign goods are affected, from electrical goods, to cars and luxury items, businessmen and traders in Damascus, who were contacted by Reuters said.

The decision however excludes raw materials needed for the country's hard-hit industries, along with wheat and grain purchases by the state for local consumption.

Obviously, while this will save money for the government to hang on until the protesters tire of dying and go home, it will also harm the pro-government business people who move those luxury goods and the pro-government supporters most able to afford them.