Bush’s billions for bombs

PRESIDENT BUSH is to ask the United States Congress for $74 billion (some £47 billion) to fund the war in Iraq.

War is not only horrific in its effects, it is also very expensive. The US let loose a barrage of 1,000 bomb sorties loose over Baghdad on 22 March. That included at least 320 cruise missile strikes. As each individual cruise missile can cost up to $1 million, one day’s artillery may have cost the US Treasury up to $1 billion.

The 1991 Gulf War cost $50 billion ($80 billion at current prices), but Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Japan etc contributed $48 billion. This time US imperialism is having to pay for this war itself.

Bush’s absurd plan for tax cuts for better-off Americans could be an early partial casualty – $100 billion of the $726 billion he’d set aside for this has been deferred. The rest of the cost is likely to be met by more cuts in US public services spending.

Around $63 billion of this $74 million goes to the Pentagon to cover about a month of combat. The rest goes to a few months of reconstruction, homeland security and humanitarian relief.

But as the war gets bogged down, people will start to remember the estimation by Bush’s former chief economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, that the US war against Iraq could cost as much as $200 billion (£129 billion).