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Carl Levin: I'm Certain the Libya Mission Will Get Cheaper Soon

Has anyone seen anything to indicate this statement is true?

The senators skirted the issue of costs, saying there haven’t been any discussions yet of a supplemental bill or including this into the continuing resolution.

“I think that the fact that it’s a multinational operation will . . . minimize costs for the U.S.,” Levin said, when asked where the funding for the operation will come from. “I believe this is going to cost a lot less because we’re going to be the junior partner in a multilateral effort and also I believe there will be some support in terms of costs that are coming from other countries,” he added. “The cost in these first few days will be a lot larger than the cost of supporting our coalition partners after they take the lead.”

That does not appear to be even remotely true:

Army Gen. Carter Ham, the Odyssey Dawn operational commander, said allies are stepping up to shoulder much of the mission. But it appears the United States is still flying the majority of sorties. Between Tuesday and Wednesday morning, the U.S. aircraft flew 113 sorties, while coalition aircraft logged 63.

But Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber, the operation’s chief of staff, stressed on Wednesday that coalition participation has increased dramatically from just 15 percent of sorties three days ago.

It's a good sign that the rest of the coalition can now shoulder an entire 35 percent instead of 15 percent. But it's very hard to square those numbers — and reports that other coalition members are suddenly hesitating — with Levin's assertion that our allies' contributions will "minimize" our costs.

Jim Geraghty

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Carl Levin: I'm Certain the Libya Mission Will Get Cheaper Soon

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