ABC: First Week in Libya Costs At Least $600 Million

Over at ABC News, Devin Dwyer and Luis Martinez report that the first week of the U.S. intervention in Libya has cost at least $600 million. According to their sources, the most costly items include

  • 191 Tomahawk cruise missiles – $269 million
  • F-15E fighter – $60 million+
  • Fuel for jets and ships
  • Other munitions

Other news sources report lower costs for missiles and the fighter, so I would take ABC’s numbers with a grain of salt until there’s official sourcing. Still, they give a useful sense of the financial costs of the operation.

By any normal standards, $600 million (and counting) is great deal of money – bigger, indeed, than some of the programs that Congress is fighting over in its never-ending debate over the 2011 budget.

For full context, though, keep in mind that we are on track to spend $110 billion in Afghanistan this year and $44 billion in Iraq.

5 thoughts on “ABC: First Week in Libya Costs At Least $600 Million”

  1. People concerned about this should read a March 28 column by Federal spending expert Scott Lilly at .

  2. There are about 100 million households in the US. So the Libya thing (war? action? intervention?) has cost the “average” household $6 so far.

    For comparison, the outstanding federal government debt corresponds to a bit less than $50,000 for the average household.

    It’s not for me to say whether $6 is too much. It’s not for me to say that $50,000 is too much, either. My only point is that I think comparing millions, billions, and trillions makes about as much intuitive sense to “average” Americans as comparing AUs, light years, and parsecs. If I had my way, anybody who talks publicly about national budget numbers of any sort would be required BY LAW to express them in per-household terms.


  3. And what would be the dollar gain to U.S. consumers, our GDP and tax revenues if our intervention results in Libyan oil getting back online one year sooner than it would otherwise (the gain due to however much lower oil prices would be)?

    Just a hypothetical, and I realize it’s also possible that it would come online sooner if we had let Gaddafi retake the East (which I would NOT favor, for humanitarian reasons), but I think it’s worth considering when we speak of the cost of intervention.

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