The Bush administration has come up with a formula for divvying the costs of the gulf war: The Saudis and Kuwaitis pay 40 percent; the other allies pay 40 percent; the United States pays 20 percent. It's tidy arithmetic, but it makes some people queasy.

They think it casts the United States as the world's hired gun."America cannot be the 911 number for the world," said Rep. Pat Schroeder, D-Colo., who fears that in the gulf war the United States is about to pay in lives while other nations are paying only in cash.

Economist and author Pat Choate, a critic of Japan's economic expansionism, said he does not blanch at the image of other nations paying 100 percent of the U.S. gulf war costs - or even 200 percent.

"It's a case of from each according to his abilities," said Choate.