THE 800-LB. GORILLA IN THE WAR ROOM:
WAR PROFITEERS RAKE IN BIG BUCKS OFF ATTACKS ON YUGOSLAVIA
By Gary Wilson
No one is talking about the huge profits being made by the
U.S. military industrial-complex in the war against
Yugoslavia. These things aren't supposed to be talked about.
Only six months ago all welfare payments to the poorest
people in the country began to be phased out because
supposedly there was no money.
Now that a war is on, suddenly they've found money. The
politicians in Washington are fighting over who will give
the most money to the military contractors. The White House
and the Democrats in Congress first proposed an immediate
payoff of $6 billion. The Republicans quickly doubled the
This is one side of the U.S./NATO war that's too hot for
the big media to handle. What they won't say is that war
means big profits for business. And, as has been said,
what's good for business is what drives Washington.
People across the U.S. have noticed that gas prices at the
pump have suddenly gone up, especially on the West Coast
where prices have nearly doubled since January. Are they
supposed to believe that this has nothing to do with the
war, with the U.S. military consumption rising daily at
The costs of the war will be borne by working people
across the U.S. The soldiers put on the front lines in any
ground war will come from the working class. The elite,
mostly white male pilots see the war from 20,000 feet up
while the three U.S. POWs were working-class kids, the
ground troops of the U.S. military.
The war will also raise taxes of all kinds. The
Republicans have even dropped their demagogy about cutting
taxes, with top Republican Sen. Trent Lott saying that the
coming Pentagon budget increases mean no more tax cuts.
And there will undoubtedly be more cuts in social services
that will be declared necessary to fund the war effort.
War is really big business.
Consider the costs. According to the May 2 New York Times
a single B-52 bomber costs $8,300 an hour to operate. The B-
2 costs $5,719 an hour, and because it is based in St.
Louis, every B-2 run takes 31 hours. Every warplane costs
thousands of dollars per hour to run. And there are hundreds
of them over Yugoslavia every night.
The Times report quotes a U.S. F-16 pilot saying that
there are so many U.S. and NATO war planes over Serbia every
night, "it's kind of like New York City traffic up there."
They've dropped so many bombs that they've destroyed
almost every strictly military target in Yugoslavia. Now
they are mostly hitting civilian sites, which the Pentagon
generals in charge at NATO then declare to be military
The cost of the bombs is so high it's no wonder that there
are cheers in the corporate boardrooms. According to the Air
Force general who commands U.S. combat planes, Gen. Richard
E. Hawley, the Pentagon has almost run out of the satellite-
guided missiles fired from B-52 bombers.
Production of these missiles has now been speeded up to
triple the level before the war. At $2 million each, you can
practically hear the military contractors singing the Star
Spangled Banner at the top of their lungs.
It took two missiles to knock out a passenger train,
killing 64 or more people. It took another two missiles to
put down a passenger bus in Kosovo, killing 60. One missile
hit the bus and another took out an ambulance that was
rushing to the scene.
The next day another passenger bus was blown to pieces.
The Air Force was more frugal this time, only one missile.
Of course, the war on Yugoslavia is more than just a place
to use up multi-million dollar weapons systems. That's just
a part of what drives the war.
It is a showcase for the U.S. weapons industry. According
to the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Henry
Shelton, 90 percent of the bombs used in the war against
Yugoslavia are all new designs not seen in combat before.
For example, a new ultra-secret redesigned graphite bomb was
used to knock out electrical power in all of Serbia.
According to John Pike of the Federation of American
Scientists, this will now become a hot-selling item in the
What's also never talked about in the pro-war U.S. media
is that the Pentagon generals are running the show. There's
hardly a civilian in sight. The media give some attention to
the pronouncements of President Bill Clinton and maybe
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, but not too much.
All of the media reports come directly from the military,
either at NATO headquarters in Brussels or from the
Pentagon, where Kevin Bacon tells the media what they should
report. Civilian sources for official news in the U.S. have
almost completely disappeared.
The military has clearly moved into control of the war and
control of foreign policy generally. Clinton himself
practically acknowledged this after the bombing of the
Serbian television station, which killed some 20 workers in
Clinton said that it wasn't his decision but that he
thought that it was right that he had gone along with it
after the decision was made.
As industry, science and technology in the United States
has become more and more fused with the military, the danger
of war has continually increased. The ascendancy of the
military has become more pronounced as capitalism in the
U.S. has become dependent on the growth of militarism for
its survival. This growth has not really decreased since the
end of the Cold War, despite what is said by those in
Congress who are now pushing to give billions more to the
At the same time, military spending is like taking a drug.
It stimulates at first, but after a while the effects wear
off. Soon bigger and bigger amounts are needed to keep up
the desired effect. The military itself demands more and
more resources for its very survival.
If there wasn't a Yugoslavia to attack, they would have
invented an enemy to attack, which is practically what they
did in this case anyway. The economic forces of monopoly
capitalism drive them to it. It's why the only way to stop
this war and future wars like it is to shut down the
- END -
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