Pentagon: U.S. military operations in Iraq cost $7.5 million per day

The Pentagon released the first official figures for the cost of military operations in Iraq: $7.5 million per day.
By JC Finley  |  Aug. 29, 2014 at 3:47 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense acknowledged Friday that the cost of military operations in Iraq is becoming more expensive.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby says the daily expenditure is now at $7.5 million but, "as you might imagine, it didn't start out at $7.5 million per day." Rather, "as our activities have intensified, so too has the cost."

That cost, he said, should be covered by existing funds through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends September 30.

Friday's figures are the first official numbers on the cost of U.S. military involvement in the current Iraq crisis.

In June, President Barack Obama authorized the deployment of hundreds of military advisers to Iraq, which was later followed in August by authorized targeted airstrikes to stop the advance of Islamic State militants and to provide air drops of humanitarian relief to Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar.

The airstrikes have continued. In less than one month, CENTCOM has reported a total of 110 airstrikes.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama reaffirmed that despite growing concerns about IS (also known as ISIL) gaining ground in war-torn Syria, his focus is currently on Iraq: "my priority is to make sure the gains that ISIL made in Iraq are rolled back and that Iraq has the opportunity to govern effectively and to secure itself."

Obama said he has tasked his military advisers to provide him with possible options to counter IS in Syria, but acknowledged, "We don't have a strategy yet."

Should the president move forward with military operations in Syria too, the daily cost of U.S. military operations in the Middle East is sure to rise.

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