The U.S. military has spent about $1 billion so far and played a far larger role in Libya than it has acknowledged. According to the Pentagon, that was the cost to U.S. taxpayers for Muammar Gaddafi’s head, the latest figure just out of the Defense Department.
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 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.
Officially, President Obama handed the lead role of ousting Muammar Gaddafi to the European members of NATO. For this he was criticized by Washington war hawks.