Obama's Libya debacle

President Obama is in deep water, well over his head, in the misbegotten Libya adventure into which he dragged America. His public statements reveal the degree of the debacle.

On the 18th of March 2011, ABC News reported:

President Obama told a bi-partisan group of members of Congress today that he expects the U.S. would be actively involved in any military action against Libya for "days, not weeks" after which he said the U.S. would take more of a supporting role.

Later in the same week in Brazil per MSNBC:

He portrayed the relatively limited U.S. role as a cost-saving measure saying that "our military is already very stretched" and argued that air strikes by France and other nations "relieves the burden on U.S. taxpayers.

The war in Libya has now, 13 weeks later, evolved into a stalemate with open discussion among NATO of the necessity to place troops on the ground.  The rebel army is disorganized and infiltrated by radical jihadist elements and Moammar Gadhafi is still in power.  There is no declared objective or end-game proposed by this administration even at this late date.

What of Obama's pledges and cost to the American people?  Per the Financial Times:

US military operations in Libya are on course to cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than the Pentagon estimated.

Robert Gates, the outgoing secretary of defense, said last month that the Pentagon expected to spend "somewhere in the ball park of $750 million" in fiscal year 2011. [Ends September 30 2011]

But according to a Pentagon memo which includes a detailed update on the progress and pace of operations, by mid-May US operations in Libya had cost $664 million, a figure confirmed by the Department of Defense.

The document, entitled the "United States Contribution to Operation Unified Protector", adds that costs are running at a rate of $2 million per day or $60 million per month.

If spending remains at the increased rate until the end of the recently extended NATO authorization period, the DoD could face an extra bill of about $274 million to pay for a combination of air strikes, refueling operations, and intelligence-gathering missions, putting further strain on its budget.

On that basis the cost of the Libya debacle will approach $1 Billion within the next three to four months at a time when the U.S. is facing bankruptcy and cuts in the military budgets.

As to the reduction of American involvement promised by Obama, again per the Financial Times:

Although it is working under NATO, the US is by far the largest contributor to operation Unified Protector.  As of mid-May it was conducting 70 per cent of reconnaissance missions, over 75 per cent of refueling flights and 37 per cent of all air sorties.

The US has about 75 aircraft, including drones, involved in the operations and since the end of March has conducted about 2,600 aircraft sorties and about 600 combat sorties.  In addition the US military can call on a number of naval assets in the Mediterranean.

In total the US military has fired about 228 missiles as of mid-May.  For comparison the US Navy plans to buy 196 or so missiles this year for about $300 million or about $1.5 million each, according to US budget documents.

Barack Obama is not only a monumental failure on the economy, he is also one on his war-making decision and execution process by engaging in a completely unnecessary war as a sop to his vanity and messianic desire to transform the Middle East.  Unfortunately the American citizens will pay yet again for his follies.

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