WASHINGTON: We got a much better feel today for the overall costs of the operations against ISIL in Iraq: a daily average of $7.5 million since we got reengaged in Iraq on June 16.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby unveiled the figure during a pre-Labor Day news conference. Kirby stressed that the figure varied greatly and was an average. He confirmed CSBA budget expert Todd Harrison’s conclusion that the Pentagon would not need money to supplement the 2014 fiscal budget. But Kirby noted that the Pentagon might need to go to the Hill should operations continue for an extended period.
Kirby spent much of today’s press conference dodging and weaving reporters’ questions about US intentions regarding operations against ISIL in Syria. Being an expert, he did a fine job of telling everyone the US is ready to act but that no decision has yet been made whether we should act.
In other news, public support is growing for air strikes against Syria, according to the Huffington Post, an organization that normally wouldn’t like to see such a result.
“According to the poll, 60 percent of Americans now support airstrikes against insurgents in Syria, while 20 percent are opposed. That level of support approached the 64 percent of Americans in the survey who said they support the current airstrike campaign against Iraq,” the HuffPo article says. “Fifty-six percent of Democrats, 54 percent of independents and 79 percent of Republicans said they support airstrikes in Syria.”
So if President Obama decides to strike against ISIL in its home territory, the American people will probably support him — at least for a while.
Astute BreakingD readers will remember our piece estimating that US operations against ISIL had cost an estimated $100 million. Harrison, who worked up the estimate, told me his estimate started my later than Kirby’s bench line. Instead of June 16, Harrison only estimated costs for the bomb and missile attacks against ISIL. They began August 8.
“My cost estimate was only looking at costs since the air campaign began a few weeks ago. I was not including costs incurred before that or costs of whatever we may or may not be doing on the ground,” he said in an email soon after today’s new conference. Ah, the wonders of cost estimates.