May 15, 2009: Several years ago, Ireland volunteered a battalion of 450 troops to serve as peacekeepers in Chad. The costs have been more than they expected. In less than a year, 34 of those soldiers were returned home because of disease and injuries. No combat losses, just the wear and tear of serving in a dry African landscape that is pretty much in the middle of nowhere.
Just getting there was a shock, of the fiscal kind. Ireland discovered that it would cost $30 million to transports its 450 troops, and all their gear, to Chad. This was done via Antonov 124 transports, leased from a Ukrainian firm, at a cost of $9,000 an hour. Just getting the advance party of 50 troops and 12 vehicles there will cost $9 million.