Congressman Brad Sherman today released a statement on the death of the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and plans to introduce legislation that would use Gaddafi's frozen assets to pay for US military actions in Libya.
"The people of Libya can breathe easier knowing that a cruel despot, who ruled over them for 42 years with an iron fist, has died," said Sherman. "American forces should be commended for their successful contributions to the military operations in Libya. However, American taxpayers should not be on the hook when some $30 billion is available to pay for the cost of military operations and whatever technical assistance the Libyan transitional government needs."
"In February 2011, the US treasury froze nearly $30 billion of money that Gaddafi had invested in the United States," continued Sherman. "These funds should be used to compensate the American taxpayer for US military operations in Libya and to provide assistance to the Libyan transitional government."
According to the Pentagon, the Defense Department spent roughly $1.1 billion on the operation from April 1 to Sept. 30. Sherman strongly disputes this $1.1 billion dollar estimate, which does not include the cost of major operations beginning in March when operations were most intense. According to the Department of Defense, U.S. military operations from March 19 to March 29, cost $550 million, not including an F-15E aircraft that was destroyed during a mission.
"These figures likely represent only the marginal cost, which drastically underestimates the full expense of the Libyan Operation," said Sherman. "The Pentagon's estimate does not even include the cost of salaries paid to pilots flying over Libya. A calculation of the full costs, including some portion of the fixed costs of maintaining the world's finest military, would likely yield a much higher amount -- closer to $3 billion. Whatever the actual cost, we should see reimbursement from these frozen funds."
"I plan to introduce legislation that would do just that - use Gaddafi's funds to reimburse the American taxpayer the full cost of U. S. military actions in Libya."
Since April, Congressman Sherman has repeatedly urged that the $30 billion of frozen funds be used to defray the cost of U.S. military actions benefiting the Libyan people.