Ok, ok, so we helped the "international community" bomb the shit out of Libya in service of the "no fly zone" set up to help the opposition get rid of international all time leader in the Nutcase Autocrat division, one Moammar Kadaffi. In the opening salvo, we apparently sent an asstonne of Tomahawk ship to surface missiles over to knock out various Libyan things. Go us.
Wikipedia claims that each tomahawk cruise missile costs $756,000 in FY2011 dollars. This article claims that we launched 112 of these bad boys, but also goes on to estimate the cost of the 'long-range' variant at a cool $1M, maybe $1.5M. NPR comes in with a $100M ballpark for that first salvo as well.
Round numbers, I likey. What I don't so much likey is the following.
One standard 5-yr, full modular NIH research grant proposal runs $1.25M in direct costs. Add on the consensus state university 55% overhead and we're talking just under $2M. For FIVE years of work. On a problem of lasting importance to human health or biological understanding. And we dropped FIFTY of those babies off on Libya all in the span of, what, an hour or so?
For what? mind, you, it ain't like we knocked off Kaddaffi with this. Oh no. We just blunted his ability to knock our planes out of the sky as we enforce a no-fly zone. We're just getting started in terms of expenses, my friends.
Here's a thought. Why don't we just randomly drop FIFTY R01-sized projects on dictatorial megalomania, social control and democratic grass roots revolution onto our social scientists? Hmm? It can't help but be at least as productive as this.