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Pentagon: Cost of Libya Mission at $550 Million

by Jennifer Epstein

The Pentagon says it has spent $550 million on U.S. military operations in Libya since efforts to protect civilians from Muammar Qadhafi’s regime began 10 days ago.

Veterans for Peace at an anti-war protest

Details of expenditures on the Libya mission show the Defense Department spending more than 60 percent of the $550 million on bombs and missiles, and the rest on getting troops and funding the costs of combat, The Associated Press reported.

The total, the first official tab to be released by the Pentagon, reflects expenditures above and beyond those of day-to-day military operations like troop salaries and the upkeep of ships, Pentagon spokeswoman Navy Cmdr. Kathleen Kesler told the AP. Kesler did not immediately respond to POLITICO’s request for comment.

Several news organizations have estimated that the cost of the Libya mission has already exceeded $600 million. In an accounting published Monday, ABC News’s $600 million-plus estimation included $60 million to replace the Air Force F-15E fighter jet that crashed last week after experiencing mechanical problems.

The total includes $268.8 million spent on at least 191 Tomahawk cruise missiles that have been launched, ABC estimated.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) last week offered up a budget resolution that would block the use of taxpayer money to pay for operations in Libya, effectively defunding the mission. “We have already spent trillions of dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which descended into unwinnable quagmires,” Kucinich wrote in a letter to colleagues. “Now, the president is plunging the United States into yet another war we cannot afford.”

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) quickly signed on a cosponsor of the effort.

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