‘An Awfully Expensive Hammer to Hit a Couple of Cheap Nails’
“Last Saturday’s strikes” against Islamic “are indicative of a key complexity of the U.S.-led campaign in Iraq and Syria,” Foreign Policy’s Justine Drennan writes at Stars and Stripes. “In throwing its hugely expensive 21st-century weaponry at a band of insurgents, the Pentagon is using planes that can cost nearly $200 million apiece against pickup trucks costing virtually pennies in comparison.”
Drennan quotes Todd Harrison, an expert with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, as putting the value of a single U.S. “strike” at up to $500,000. Last Saturday’s attack consisted of nine strikes throughout Iraq and Syria.
Harrison said the cheapest possible strike could cost roughly $50,000 — assuming a single plane dropping one of the cheaper types of bombs. But the majority of airstrikes cost much more, involving F-15s, F-16s, F-22s and other aircraft that cost $9,000 to upward of $20,000 per hour to operate and explosives that cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Harrison noted that each strike’s price “depends on the distance to the target site, how long it may need to loiter, what type of aircraft is used, and whether it needs aerial refueling (and how many times).”
But using his $500,000 upper estimate, last Saturday’s strike missions alone cost as much as $4.5 million. And those figures don’t even include the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights necessary to scope out targets ahead of strikes, which have helped make even the low-level campaign against the Islamic State hugely expensive. The Pentagon revealed on Monday that it has spent as much as $1.1 billion on military operations against the Islamic State since June.
Even more disheartening, most, if not all, of the equipment being destroyed originally came from the United States — which is why we’re able to estimate its worth. It was given to the Iraqi army ahead of the U.S. military’s withdrawal in 2011 and captured by the Islamic State when it advanced into Iraq earlier this year. That means Washington is now spending hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury to destroy Humvees, tanks and other weapons that American taxpayers purchased. The situation has led some observers to joke that the Pentagon should christen the mission “Operation Hey, That’s My Humvee.”
Read more here.
— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly’TIS THE REASON…
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