By Larry Shaughnessy
As the rebels in Libya push closer to ending the Moammar Gadhafi regime, US warplanes have been increasing their attacks on government positions.
New numbers released by the Pentagon Monday show that the number of US air attacks on Libyan air defenses, ground forces and other targets has nearly doubled over the past 12 days, compared to air attacks in the first 132 days of the NATO mission, from a rate of 1.7 strike sorties a day from April 1st to Aug. 10th to 3.1 strike sorties in the last 12 days.
The total US air attacks includes strikes by Armed Predator unmanned planes. The Pentagon release says those have more than doubled to 1.4 attacks per day, compared to .6 attacks per day between April 1st and Aug. 10th
The cost to the US taxpayers for America’s share of the Libyan mission, which is formally called Operation Unified Protector, is approaching 1 billion dollars.
As of June 30th the most recent figures available, DoD had spent approximately $820 million. The US had also sold its allies and partners in Operation Unified Protectors more than $220 million worth of ammunition, spare parts and fuel.
The DoD was also authorized to deliver up to $25 million worth of non-lethal aid to Libyan civilians, so for it has used about $12.5 million of that authority by shipping Meals-Ready-To-Eat, boots, tents, uniforms and protective gear.
The DoD was able to tap its own stockpiles for this aid.
The Pentagon said that since June, it has received no more requests for more non-lethal aid to be sent to Libyan rebels or civilians.