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 
astounding rates?

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 
arms trade.

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 
the building.

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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