Last night on Fox News, Greta van Susteren hosted former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) to discuss what Palin termed the “squirmish” in Libya. True to form, the former governor was reckless with basic facts and casually septupled the cost of U.S. intervention. According to figures released by the Pentagon, the intervention cost $600 million in the first seven days. Palin, however, claimed that the no-fly zone — which, for the record, she called for — cost that amount daily:
PALIN: Yes, that’s — that’s a good question. And that’s the $600 million dollar-a-day question that is being asked now because that’s the cost incurred by Americans as we support the no-fly zone, which, of course, the no-fly zone, the intervention or enactment is turning into more than that.
It’s important to debate the cost of intervention in Libya, but cavalierly claiming the cost is seven times higher than it actually is does not advance that discussion.
Notably, Palin also urged President Obama to undertake action to remove Col. Muammar Gaddafi from power — which would presumably cost much more money. “With Gaddafi still in power, if we’re not going to oust him via killing or capturing, then there is no acceptable end state,” Palin said. “Well, if we were going to protect civilians, doesn’t that mean, then, getting rid of the bad guy?”
President Obama explained in his address to the nation last night that action to remove Gaddafi would splinter the current international coalition, which is currently sharing the cost of intervention, and would also likely require the introduction of U.S. ground forces and a lengthy battle. “To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq…That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya,” Obama said. Perhaps Palin’s $600 million per day was a proposed budget for regime change?
Former Bush administration official Dan Senor criticized Palin’s Fox News appearance, saying that “I don’t think what Governor Palin said is terribly constructive. I don’t think what many Republicans leaders have been saying over the last week have been terribly constructive.”