As the country asks whether or not American participation in the intervention in Libya was the right thing to do and whether or not it was constitutional to launch such an extensive military operation without congressional approval, one issue that has not been discussed nearly as much as it should be is how much the Libyan operation is going to cost the American taxpayer.
According to this report from the Associated Press, American involvement in the Libyan operation is costing the country hundreds of millions of dollars per day. Every single one of the Tomahawk missiles were fire (and we have already launched something like 150 in this operation) costs over a million dollars. We are deploying an aerial armada of fighter and bomber aircraft, not to mention the immense aerial refueling tankers that must loiter in the air across the entire Mediterranean to make the whole thing work. The money for all this is being paid by the taxes of hardworking Americans or is being borrowed from future generations.
The deficit is already increasing at a rate of about $4 billion per day; taking on an additional half billion dollars of deficit spending per day is going to make our fiscal situation even worse. It cannot bear being repeated enough: the fiscal crisis is the greatest threat to the safety and prosperity of the American republic. An argument can be made that the need to protect civilians from mass killings requires American intervention, but the financial cost of the operation should not be ignored. President Obama and the Pentagon should be up front with us about how much this intervention is going to cost.