This is Pentagon math, the kind of math in which you "save" money over the long term by spending more now, or you "cut" money over the long term by increasing your spending less, but here goes: According to statistics released Monday by DoD, the total cost for American involvement in Libya was about $896 million through July 31 -- that includes military operations and non-lethal support for the rebel alliance. (It will probably end up being higher, especially if Tuesday's violence in Tripoli means the campaign drags on.)
For comparison, this year the U.S. has been spending about $300 million per day for the war in Afghanistan. Three days of war tops the total Libya expenses, and a full seven days of war will run you about $2.1 billion.
What wasn't immediately clear was whether the Libya costs include the prices for replacing the munitions -- including Tomahawk cruise missiles and air-to-ground ordnance -- that American ships and aircraft expended during the campaign. So the cost of the Libyan intervention could have a longer tail going forward if the services want to buy more weapons in next year's budget.
Also from the Pentagon, here's the breakdown of U.S. air operations as part of the Libya intervention so far:
• Total U.S. sorties - 5,316
• U.S. strike sorties - 1,210
• Predator strikes - 101
• U.S. strike sorties that dropped ordnance - 262
As of Aug. 19, the U.S. had sold its allies $221.9 million "worth of ammunition, repair parts, fuel, and technical assistance," by way of the Foreign Military Sales office.
And here's how DoD broke down the non-lethal assistance it has given to the Libyan rebels so far:
DoD has expended about $12.5M of the $25M draw-down authority for non-lethal aid to Libya, which includes approximately $1M for the MREs. Remember, this is not money we've spent, or cost to the DoD. This is the value of the aid only. We have received no additional requests at this time but will continue to work with the TNC to determine what additional assistance they may need. • On 10 May, 10,000 cases (120,000 meals) of Halal Ready-to-Eat meals were delivered to Benghazi • On June 16, a second shipment of non-lethal aid was delivered including medical supplies, boots, tents, uniforms, and personal protective gear. These are all from Department of Defense stocks.