Here's a potential cost of invading Iraq that you probably hadn't given any thought to: Airlines are lobbying for another handout to help them recoup losses that they expect to face as a result of a war.
As the threat of war looms, the industry is seeking tax relief, the relaxing of some antitrust laws and relief on fuel taxes. They also want the federal government to reduce oil prices by releasing crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The airlines also want the government to temporarily suspend a $2.50 security tax implemented by the federal government after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to pay for increased security measures.
Bethune has long called for the elimination of that tax, saying it unfairly burdens the airlines and airline passengers.
"We are asking passengers to underwrite the national security," the Continental CEO said in an interview recently. "It is just unprecedented."
Companies that service the major airlines already are preparing for war. Texas Pneumatic Systems of Arlington recently developed a contingency plan, company President Bernie Rookey said.
The businessman worked for a similar company during the Gulf War in 1991 and said the airlines saw about a 20 percent decrease in business.
"It was pretty poor that year," he said. "I think generally you are going to see the American public is going to be reluctant to fly on airlines. Basic travel is going to cease or be reduced for a period of time."