Published March 29, 2011
The bill is coming due for our role in the war in Libya.
Tomahawk cruise missiles, precision bombs, and of course the crashed jet, combining for a total tab of $600 million—that's according to figures from the Pentagon.
Here's the breakdown:
-199 tomahawk cruise missiles launched.
-U.S. ships and submarines in the Mediterranean cost around $280 million.
-455 precision guided bombs dropped by U.S. warplanes each costing tens of thousands of dollars each.
-One downed Air Force F-15E Fighter at $60 million.
Then, there's the cost of getting the planes there - every sortie - costs tens of thousands of dollars per hour to operate. For example, the three B-2 Stealth Bombers that flew from Missouri to Libya cost an estimated $10,000 per hour to fly.
Given the planes were each on a 25-hour roundtrip flight, their bill alone was $750,000, according to a report from ABC News.
Add in the munitions they dropped and tack on an extra $1.3 million. Much of these costs and service members' salaries are all part of existing military budgets, but the administration may have to ask for additional money if the engagement continues.
Of course the total bill, $600 million, pales in comparison with the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those engagements cost $1.2 trillion. And far more important, 5,800 military members lost their lives in those wars.
That's the true bottom line.
And, the reality is this—maintaining a war on three fronts for any extended period of time is too, too costly, both in terms of the sacrifice of our armed services and the financial tab as well.
Let's hope our involvement in Libya ends and ends swiftly, because the other interesting numbers from the Libyan front are these: Muammar al-Qaddafi has been in office 46 years, outlasting seven presidents. When he got into office the president was in third grade.
Qaddafi knows how to outlast us - let's be sure of our intentions before we go further.