Friday, October 21, 2011
All the peace money can buy
For $1 billion, one dictatorWhat does one trillion dollars look like?
By Kevin Baron, National Journal
Call him the billion-dollar man. One billion for one dictator.
According to the Pentagon, that was the cost to U.S. taxpayers for Muammar el-Qaddafi's head: $1.1 billion through September, the latest figure just out of the Defense Department.
And that's just for the Americans.
The final totals will take some time to add up, and still do not include the State Department, CIA, and other agencies involved or other NATO and participating countries. Vice President Joe Biden said that the U.S. "spent $2 billion total and didn't lose a single life." NATO does not track the operational costs to each member country, but the funds directly taken from a common NATO account for Libya operations have totaled about $7.4 million per month for electronic warfare capabilities and $1.1 million per month for headquarters and command staff, a NATO spokesman said.
From the beginning of Operation Unified Protector in March, critics have questioned whether the U.S. could afford to open a third front. The Congressional Research Services estimate the Afghanistan war has cost nearly $500 billion so far. With Iraq, the figure easily tops $1 trillion.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson