I’m sure if we just fire some bad teachers it will more than make up these expenses:
The first day of Operation Odyssey Dawn had a price tag that was well over $100 million for the U.S. in missiles alone. And the U.S. military, which remains in the lead now in its third day, has pumped millions more into air- and sea-launched strikes targeting air-defense sites and ground-force positions along Libya’s coastline.
The ultimate total that the United States spends will hinge on the length and scope of the strikes as well as on the contributions of its coalition allies. But Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said on Monday that the U.S. costs could “easily pass the $1 billion mark on this operation, regardless of how well things go.”
The Pentagon has the money in its budget to cover unexpected contingencies and can also use fourth-quarter dollars to cover the costs of operations now. “They’re very used to doing this operation where they borrow from Peter to pay Paul,” said Gordon Adams, who served as the Office of Management and Budget’s associate director for national security during the Clinton administration.
However, there comes a point when there simply isn’t enough cash to pay for everything. The White House said on Monday it was not prepared to request emergency funding yet, but former Pentagon comptroller Dov Zakheim estimated that the Defense Department would need to send a request for supplemental funding to Capitol Hill if the U.S. military’s share of Libya operations expenses tops $1 billion.
It amazes me that we spend close to a trillion a year for the military, but that’s just for the “luxury” of having it. Using it will cost you a shitload more. It’s like buying a new $100k Mercedes every year, then paying $2,000 for a gallon of gas every time you want to drive it. Then we have this:
So far, the operation appears to be focused on creating a limited no-fly zone mostly targeting the capital city of Tripoli, which is Qaddafi’s stronghold, and other areas along the coast. That will require a wide range of military assets.
In a report released earlier this month, Harrison estimated that the initial stages of taking out Qaddafi’s coastal air defenses could ultimately cost coalition forces between $400 million and $800 million. But the coalition is now targeting his ground forces in an effort to protect civilians—a factor that Harrison said will drive up the initial costs of the operation.
Otherwise known as “mission creep.” And the hits keep a coming:
For now, the United States continues to lead operations, although U.S. military leaders insist that control will soon be transferred to an as-yet unnamed coalition leader.
Army Gen. Carter Ham, the Odyssey Dawn operational commander, told reporters on Monday that allies are stepping up to shoulder much of the mission. There were 60 sorties flown on Sunday, about half by U.S. aircraft. But on Monday, coalition allies were expected to fly more than half of the day’s 70 to 80 sorties.
Complicating matters, however, is the fact that most of the coalition nations’ militaries, which operate on a fraction of the Pentagon’s yearly allowance, are grappling with budget pressures of their own. While the Defense Department hopes to transfer control to coalition partners in the coming days, the longer the operations over Libya continue, the more difficult it will be for allies to take the lead.
“If it goes on more than a month, we’re going to be in the forefront [of operations] or we’re going to let Qaddafi stick around,” predicted former Defense comptroller Zakheim, who served under President George W. Bush. “The choices aren’t very pleasant.”
So basically, there appears to be a sweet spot we are shooting for to keep pretending our allies are running this. We shoulder most of the expense at the front, then try to pass it off to our allies quickly, but if we fail and it goes on a month, congratulations, America- you just bought yourself a third war. But who are we fooling- we own it already.
Pretty clearly we need another round of tax cuts for the rich to finance this.