The billion dollar war? Libyan campaign breaks Pentagon estimates costing U.S. taxpayers $2 million a day
Last updated at 10:20 PM on 9th June 2011
The cost of the U.S. campaign in Libya is set to exceed the $750 million Pentagon estimate set out in March, according to a leaked Department of Defence Memo.
The 'eyes-only' DoD dossier said the U.S. had already spent $664 million in Libya by mid-May - a running cost of $60 million a month since the bombing began in March.
At the current rate of spending, the U.S. will have to shell out at least an extra $274 million till the end of the current 90 day no fly zone extension period - brining total expenditure to a minimum of $938 million.
The news came as donors pledged more than $1.3 billion dollars to help support Libya's main opposition group, after countries backing NATO's military mission there met to prepare for the post-Moammar Gadhafi era.
The leaked document, obtained by The Financial Times, showed the rate of spending is far higher than DoD estimates issued in late march.
Then, a congressional hearing, heard the U.S. had spent about $550 million on Libya, at a rate of about $40m a month.
NATO airstrikes rattled the Libyan capital this morning, with seven thunderous explosions shaking the city.
Concussions from the strikes, in clusters of a few minutes apart, washed over Tripoli from its outskirts. Rebels hold swaths of eastern Libya, although fighting has since become a stalemate even with NATO support.
Bombing: Smoke rises in the sky after a NATO air strike in Tripoli. NATO planes bombed the Tripoli compound of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for the second time this week [Ron: NATO says it is doing this is protecting Libyan civilians.].
Italy and France offered a combined $1.02 billion to Libya's Transitional National Council while Kuwait and Qatar promised a combined $280 million to a fund set up to provide transparent assistance to the opposition.
The pledges came as council members appealed for urgent infusions of cash to keep from going broke.
The council is trying to establish an alternative government to take over after Gadhafi.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Abu Dhabi today, disappointed the rebel-affiliated group by saying that while Washington would boost its humanitarian aid to all Libyans by $26.5 million [Ron: In this context such an amount is PALTRY and cannot begin to compensate Libyans for the DAMAGE the US is doing to Libya and Libyans.] it is not offering any direct aid to the council.
Fathi Baja, head of political and international affairs for the TNC, said he was encouraged by the growing list of countries that announced they plan to recognize the council as the legitimate government of Libya.
He said Australia announced at the meeting it would do so today while Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus said they would do so in the coming days.
But he said he was less impressed with the financial commitments, adding that he was hearing more about money in the meeting already promised than new pledges.
He singled out Kuwait, which he said has yet to deliver the $180 million pledge made a month ago.
Although a handful of nations have recognized the council as the legitimate government of Libya, the United States has not.
That has delayed efforts to free up some of the more than $30 billion in Libyan assets that have been frozen in U.S. accounts.
The U.S. said on Wednesday that the first shipment of Libyan oil sold by the council had been delivered to an American refinery and Clinton encouraged other nations to make similar purchases to help the Libyan people.