The Cost of War

April 27, 1999

War is a costly endeavor. Even when American lives are not at risk, the financial cost of war can be substantial. Congressional leaders are criticizing the administration for "low-balling" the projected cost of the Balkans war. They also warned the administration that the American people may not be willing to foot the bill to rebuild Kosovo.

In just the first three weeks of the NATO air assault, the U.S. share of the bill is $600 million. Experts estimate that another $1 billion will be spent by the end of May.

The Clinton administration has asked for $4 billion, but Representative Bill Young of Florida says that amount will be "wholly inadequate to carry even the Balkan issue." He went on to say that "You can't fight wars out of a petty cash fund." Unfortunately, that is what this administration seems bent on doing.

Every time the Navy launches a Tomahawk missile, it costs the American taxpayer one million dollars. When the Air Force fires a missile, it costs two million dollars. And the supply of those missiles is quickly dwindling.

Members of Congress believe the bill for Kosovo will burst the current budget caps that limit spending by broad categories. And the bill for ground troops could be even larger. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that greater U.S. involvement in Kosovo with ground troops could cost $15.6 billion a year.

Of course this doesn't add in the cost of destruction and devastation, and the ultimate cost in the lives of American troops. War is costly, and this administration is just beginning to find out how costly. Are we really sure we want to deploy troops to Kosovo? We better count the cost before we put troops on the ground.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.