Oleg Artyukov: Three hundred and thirty billion dollars for Bin Laden

It is needless to mention that a war costs a lot of money. It is expensive in any sense of the word. People die and material values are destroyed. A large sum of money is spent on the army actions. Russia’s Chechen campaign and the USA’s actions in Afghanistan are the clearest examples. The operation in Afghanistan is the most significant one, as the USA is spending fantastic funds in order to catch Bin Laden.

The situation is like a paradox to a certain extent. The USA has spent more money on Osama since 1980 than on the help for the starving people in all African countries. America helped him at first when he was fighting against Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Now, Bin Laden is also a very expensive man, but the money is used for catching him. It seems Bin Laden takes a considerable part of the entire military budget of the USA.

The Times wrote that three billion dollars have already been spent on the military operation in Afghanistan, and the Pentagon is expecting the increase of that sum to ten billion. In addition, the officials of the American Defense Department hope for extra funds of $20 million to be added to the approved military budget for the year 2002 (the budget makes up $330 billion).

Therefore, as you can see, the spending is increasing, but the results are not convincing. The Taliban regime has been destroyed, but the major adversary has not been found yet. Moreover, it is not clear where Osama bin Laden can be found. He is currently being searched for in Afghanistan, but no one wonders when there is the information saying he is hiding in Pakistan, Yemen, or even in Somalia. However, one thing is clear: the American authorities are not going to calm down until Osama is found, dead or alive. The question of the price doesn't matter, as it is a question of honor.

The news about USA’s possible operations against Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, the Philippines, and some other countries is not surprising anymore. Only God and George Bush know the complete list of such countries that are lenient towards terrorism, as Washington considers them to be. This means that the problem of terrorism is not going to disappear, no matter how much money is going to be spent on it. Maybe this issue will not be that eye-catching in some time, after another victory, but it will not fade away.

Another thing should be mentioned. The constant increase of the American budget will sooner or later provoke the similar growth of the state costs on those purposes in other countries too: in China and India, first and foremost, possibly in Russia, not to mention large and influential countries. An arms race has never been good for anyone.

Of course, the issue of terrorism is a very broad and complicated subject, but it is not good to try to solve it by means of increasing the spending on the military needs and with the help of the army. It does not seem that the growth of the military costs is sincerely connected with America's noble aspiration to destroy the evil in the whole world. This is not real, unfortunately, but it is very good for the military and industrial complex. There is no ideal world, and the things that we see now look like the imperial ambitions of a superpower.

Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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