Last month, before the parliamentary vote on whether to bomb Syria, British Chancellor George Osborne publicly stated that the cost of extending air strikes against Islamic State into Syria would run in the “low tens of millions of pounds”.
Reuters (December 1st 2015 Osborne referring to the bombing of Syria) – “I think the estimate of extended air action over Syria would be in the low tens of millions of pounds. That’ll come out of the special reserve which we established for the purposes of military action like this.” Osborne told a committee of lawmakers.
Reuters (March 23 2011 Osborne referring to the bombing of Libya) – “The cost of Britain’s involvement in military operations in Libya is likely to be measured in tens of millions of pounds rather than hundreds of millions, Chancellor George Osborne said on Tuesday. Osborne said the cost would be less than recent conflicts and would be fully met from contingency reserves rather than the defence ministry’s main budget”.
Same thing, different bloodbath.
Documents released from Westminster show the final statistics of the bombing campaign in Libya amounted to £320m. This included £50m spent on replacing spent weapons and munitions. These figures were clearly designed to disguise the truth from the British public.
It has since transpired, contrary to Osborne’s “tens of millions” prediction, that the actual total to Britain of bombing Libya is now estimated conservatively to be somewhere between £900 million and £1.25 billion.
We have a Chancellor in Britain who ‘miscalculated’ this campaign by around 1200%, give or take a few ‘tens of millions’. Any so-called ‘special monies’ set aside obliterated in days.
In the meantime, the UK’s actions in Libya has left the country awash with weapons and terrorists groups running amok, the government has collapsed, the country completely lawless. Africa’s richest nation per capita, where poverty was lower than The Netherlands and life expectancy the longest on the continent under Gadaffi has disintegrated. Libya is now just a failed state, a bloody anarchy with extremists hell bent on exporting its death doctrine to the streets of the West.
In September 2011, David Cameron, Speaking in Paris after he chaired a summit on Libya with France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, said early signs for its future were “incredibly impressive” and that the UK will “play its part in rebuilding the country.”
Cameron lied. Britain sent just £25 million ($36m) to rebuild the devastated nation. For context it cost $100 million to build one waste water treatment centre in Iraq after the invasion.
Carmeron, being asked questions by a BBC correspondent said “We stopped a genocide. Would you have rather we’d done nothing, let a genocide take place? Would you feel better as a British citizen?”
The Prime Minister continued to challenge his questioner: “You’re asking me lots of questions, why don’t you answer a question?”
He added: “What you’re suggesting is we should have stood aside and had a genocide take place in Libya, that’s what you’re suggesting. I profoundly disagree. Really disagree. I was prime minister at the time, I could see what was happening, I could see people were going to be slaughtered in their hundreds, possibly in their thousands. I had a choice: act and stop it or stand to one side? We acted and it was the right thing to do.”
But as Counterpunch reveals – David Cameron’s assertion of genocide was a myth. The NYT reported March 2011 – “the rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories, asserting they were still fighting in a key city days after it fell to Qaddafi forces, and making vastly inflated claims of his barbaric behavior”. The “vastly inflated claims” are what became part of the imperial folklore surrounding events in Libya, that suited Western intervention.”
It has since been estimated that although David Cameron asserted that ‘hundreds, maybe thousands’ would be killed by Gaddafi – 60,000 civilians were killed by August 2011 as a result of the 26,000 bombing sorties and 9,600 strike missions.
British former MI5 agent Annie Machon went further, telling RT that NATO’s intervention was a total disaster on every front.
They’ve had free education, free health, they could study abroad. When they got married they got a certain amount of money. So they were rather the envy of many other citizens of African countries. Now, of course, since NATO’s humanitarian intervention, the infrastructure of their country has been bombed back to the Stone Age.
The World Food Programme stated in November 2015 that one third of Libyans now need humanitarian assistance just to survive and one in five are on the brink of starvation. The economy has utterly cratered.
In an interview with The Spectator, just three weeks ago, David Cameron, a man with blood on his hands for taking a fully active role in the destruction of Libya, lied again – “I would say that Libya is better off without Gaddafi. The coalition helped those on the ground to get rid of the Gaddafi regime. We did a lot to try and help it”.
Cameron went on in the interview to confirm he would do the same again under the same circumstances and unbelievably, given his own “dodgy dossier” moment confirmed that “you can’t drop democracy out of a box at 40,000 feet” – and proceeded to do exactly that in Syria.
In December, after the British parliament voted to engage in the bombing campaign in Syria, there were seventeen airstrikes in three weeks. As truepublica reported on the 8th December – “Each 6 hour Tornado mission costs around £210,000, adding to that cost is the use of four Paveway bombs at £22,000 each and two Brimstone missiles at £105,000 each. If all weapons are fired on an average mission the cost of each Tornado mission is therefore £508,000.”
It costs £400,000 a week for British fighters to use airbases alone, before they fuel the fighters – and this is a campaign set to go on for years according to David Cameron.
In the meantime, Britain has successfully lobbied the UN to send ground troops alongside special forces back into Libya to fight terrorists that Britain allowed to take a foothold and subsequent control in the first place. This will add to George Osborne’s “tens of millions” that turned into £1.2 billion.
Up to 2013, the cost of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq cost the British taxpayer nearly £35 billion in addition to normal military funding, which left those countries devastated. Of course that doesn’t include the government’s silence over the£36 billion “black hole” that the taxpayer was facing in 2010 when the Conservatives came to power.
Gordon Brown, the Chancellor at the time of the Iraq invasion stated the cost of the Iraq war to Britain was £8bn – which was only £12 billion short of the actual cost.
You can read more from Graham Vanbergen at his site truepublica.org.uk