Editorial: War makes more money, enemies

Editorial: War makes more money, enemies

By Frank Schier

War makes more money, enemies

By Frank Schier

Editor & Publisher

During this national crisis, the cliché “War is big business” suffers from underuse.

The Associated Press (AP) cited the recent estimates of Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments’ figures on the cost of war:

l The 1999 Yugoslavian bombing campaign—$3 billion.

l The 1991 Persian Gulf war—$61 billion. All but $7 billion was repaid by allies, and some estimates say the U.S. actually made a profit.

l Monthly cost for the Afghan bombing campaign—$500 million to $1 billion.

The AP also made some interesting cost comparisons: l If the war lasts a year, the cost will be approximately $12 billion, “half of what the federal government spends on medical research.” l The American helicopter that crashed cost two times the federal annual expenditures on scenic highways. l The average cost of a U.S. home is $147,000. Each Tomahawk cruise missile costs from $600,000 to $1 million.

Add in what the wild spending in Washington since Sept. 11 has done to the supposed Social Security surplus and other domestic budget items.

The AP cited the center’s other itemized estimates as: l $5,000 an hour flight costs for a Navy FA-18 fighter bomber. l $26,000 for each Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) or smart bomb. l Low-end cost consists of the 500-pound M-117 bomb at $300 each.

Steven M. Kosiak, the center’s director of budget studies, told The Rock River Times that carpet bombings are usually comprised of gravity bombs from B-52s.

“Most gravity bombs are a couple of thousand dollars apiece,” Kosiak said. “The cost per hour for B-52s is $8,000, depending on where they are coming from. Most are coming from Diego Garcia (an atoll in the Indain Ocean). Earlier this month, they were running 10 bomber sorties per day, They may be doing more, now. We spend the vast majority of our money on precision-guided munitions.”

Kosiak concluded, “I would say that our estimates we made at the beginning of the month are that it could cost up to $1 billion per month, and that is probably quite right.

It’s probably up to $2 billion right now.” (cbsaonline.org)

Since the Sept. 11 crash, Raytheon stock has risen from the $25 level to the $33 level,

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with a high of $36 per share in the first part of November.

Since the Sept. 11 crash, Lockheed Martin stock has risen from the $40 level to the $45 level, with a high of almost $50 per share in the first part of November. Lockheed Martin recently won the defense contract for the new generation of fighter-bombers.

The current payloads of all types of U.S. bombers have had the effect desired by the Bush administration. Nonetheless, all these hard-earned tax dollars end up pounded into the dirt, rubble and death of the Afghani people. The PR yellow food packages dropped by the U.S. have probably not offset animosity in Afghanistan or much of the Muslim world. Add in the wonderful fact that the food packages are the same color of yellow as unexploded cluster bomb canisters.

In the long run, that’s what your money is buying for you, a view in much of the Muslim world that America is a rich, aggressive, loose-cannon of a nation. We may have bombs that are precision guided, but these bombs still seem to hit hospitals, UN aid centers and even Northern Alliance positions and Al Jazeera, the independent Arab broadcasting station. Families that have had loved ones die from these bombings will not forget—just as the Palestinian and Israeli families cannot forget.

Add in the Muslim world’s righteous distrust bred by years of European colonialism, plus their knowledge that oil is their only real asset. OPEC is beset by declining oil prices.

OPEC is at odds with Russia over its pricing structure, which is driving the world-wide market. Not so oddly, Russia’s Putin and our Bush are becoming better buddies every day. The largely untapped Russian Caspian Sea oil deposits can only reach the Gulf of Oman and China by going by pipeline across Afghanistan.

As we have reported, the Taliban was romanced by U.S. oil companies, but their leaders did not make a deal.

Now that a new leadership is being brokered for Afghanistan, that yet-to-emerge government’s policy and terms for the oil pipeline should prove interesting. Will that government replace their largest export, heroin, with oil transportation?

As Marine Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler (1881-1940) said: “War is a racket … War is largely a matter of money. Bankers lend money to foreign countries, and when they cannot pay, the President sends in the Marines to get it.”

The Marines are now on the ground in Afghanistan, ostensibly to root out the last of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. Thankfully, the terrorist training camps there are now a matter of history; history that hopefully won’t repeat itself under the new government. But the last strongholds of the hard-core Taliban still may exact the highest cost from taxpayers—the lives of American troops.

While the domestic casualties of the attacks of Sept. 11 have dwindled from an estimated 6,000 to 5,000 to the new estimate of 4,000 people dead, the war on terrorism in Afghanistan proceeds to avenge that wrong.

A just war is supposedly waged in self defense to stop aggression, protecting our citizens and our national interests.

In our national interest, the argument must continue for the public presentation of evidence on the Sept. 11 attacks.

Questions, responsibility and consequences must also be addressed concerning the oddity of the lack of warning of these attacks. The failure of intelligence and the failure to scramble air defense to protect our nation is inexcusable.

Bush’s continuation of his school-room audience even after he was notified of the attacks is still unacceptable.

Only when these initial issues are thoroughly and publicly explored can any true, critical-thinking patriot conclude that our continued overseas engagement is in the national interest rather than special interests. Our love for our country demands answers, not rhetoric; then our unwavering support will be overwhelming.

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