Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column

May 1, 2000

The Cost of War
After the Bombs Stop the True Impact Becomes Obvious

The Clinton-Gore Administration talks incessantly about certain issues. Protecting the environment, improving health care, helping children and those at the lower end of the wage scale are mantras they repeat over and over again.
The administration likes to argue that these issues are not constrained by national boundaries. They say such global issues call for global solutions, for which they usually propose global agencies such as the United Nations, and the World Trade Organization. They say these problems are global, so America must send billions of dollars in taxpayer funding to other countries to help them with their environmental, economic, and health-related problems.
A recent report by German Television's "Deutsche World," in its English Language edition, shows that, like on so many occasions, the administration says one thing but does the exact opposite.
The current case involves what we might term the fallout from Mr. Clinton's war in Kosovo. But, don't expect the lap-dogging U.S. media to report on it anytime soon. Deutsche World's feature on the anniversary of the commencement of the hostilities shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the effects of war last for generations after the bombing ends.
Germany is, of course, a NATO member, so this is hardly a report biased toward Serbia. This report showed that, on all of these issues on which the administration rails, this NATO bombing campaign was a disaster.
As a physician I am most concerned with public health, so let's begin there. Because of repeated bombings targeted against chemical factories, NATO has turned Serbia into a sort of toxic soup. The soil is laced with toxins. Because of embargoes, the locals must largely eat locally grown food, and it is contaminated. People fear that feeding their children is akin to poisoning them. Medical personnel point out that the most certain effect of the bombings will be an increase in cancer rates, not just now but literally for generations to come.
And what about the environmental impact? Well, along with the poisoned soil there is poisoned air, and poisoned water. The famous Danube is now a toxic stream. Fish have been poisoned and killed, and the water is so chemically contaminated that a ban on eating fish from the river is now in effect.
Finally, we need to ask who bears the brunt of all these environmental and health risks? Again, it is primarily the young people who have a poisoned nation and a poisoned food supply with which they must deal, as well as the factory workers and fishermen who are now out of work with dim prospects for the future.
All of the environmental and health care legislation the administration pushes, saying they want a healthier and cleaner world, will not have even one-tenth of the impact that this NATO bombing campaign had. The true environmental and health policy legacy of the Clinton-Gore administration is the toxic spoils of Serbia.
You may ask, how does this impact me? Well, first let's not forget that these bombs were primarily funded using U.S. taxpayer funds, money that could have been used to help bolster the Social Security trust fund or meet the so-called "pay-go" requirements of tax cut legislation. In fact, we are continuing to shell out funds for this policy. Just a few weeks ago I put forward an amendment to cut of funds for further operations in Kosovo and new adventures involving the US military in Colombia, but it was defeated.
The bottom line is this, Americans continue paying a price for the NATO war on Kosovo, and I expect that the price will continue to be paid. At some point, we will almost certainly be asked to pay to clean-up Clinton's mess in Serbia with a new foreign aid package. Plus, we can expect future generations of Serbs to be bent on getting even with the westerners who they hold responsible for inflicting these long-term pains upon their nation and its populace.