he costs of Operation Odyssey Dawn are adding up fast. The first day of airstrikes against Moammar Gadhafi's forces in Libya cost the U.S. more than $100 million, and the American share of enforcing a no-fly zone could run into the billions, according to a National Journal analysis. In fact, the intervention to protect Libya's rebels and civilians could all but wipe out the savings from the GOP's hard-won spending cuts. With a soaring deficit, can the U.S. afford this? (Watch a Fox News report about the war's costs)
No. We should provide for our own first: Every Tomahawk cruise missile sets us back $1.2 million, says John Baer in the Philadelphia Daily News, and as of Tuesday, we had fired 161 of "those puppies" at Gadhafi. That F15 fighter jet we lost? Another $31 million. And there's no telling how much we'll throw down "another Mideast rat-hole" before it's all over. "If we really care about protecting civilians, why don't we do a better job at protecting our own — from unemployment, from health-care cuts, from wage freezes"?
"In dollars alone, war not worth it"
This is why Obama should have asked Congress: Republicans fought hard for every dollar in spending cuts passed this year, says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway, and now Obama has all but wiped out the savings in a single stroke. Ultimately, lawmakers will have to figure out how to pay for Libya, which is why it would have been "nice if Congress had had an opportunity to debate this engagement before it had been launched."
"Cost of Operation Odyssey Dawn already above $100 million"
Libya won't cost us as much as you think: The ballooning cost estimates assume the U.S. and its allies will enforce a no-fly zone over a vast area, says David Weigel at Slate. But if we merely keep Gadhafi's planes out of the sky along the coast, "where most of the population, and the fighting, is located," the pricetag drops to as little as $15 million a week. "If that's realistic, then seven weeks of a no-fly zone would cost about as much as the funding House Republicans want to strip from Planned Parenthood."
"Maintaining Libya no-fly zone has cost more than $100 million so far"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- Why is American internet so slow?
- The GOP must try to win over African-Americans
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- What would a U.S.-China war look like?
Subscribe to the Week