Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Shortcuts When America Moves a War

The headline in today's New York Times say’s it all. No Shortcuts When America Moves a War. In the context of the article, this phrase refers to the fact that the U.S. must move tones of material from Iraq around Iran to get to Afghanistan. It will be one of the largest movements of military equipment since World War II. In reality, the article is about the fact that no expense is spared to fight this war.

Here are some of the facts.

“The military says there are 3.1 million pieces of equipment in Iraq, from tanks to coffee makers, two-thirds of which are to leave the country. Of that, about half will go on to Afghanistan, where there are already severe strains on the system.”

“All lethal supplies — weapons, armored trucks, eight-wheeled Stryker troop carriers — come in by air to avoid attacks, but everything else goes by sea and land. The standard route from Iraq to Afghanistan is south from Baghdad and down through Kuwait, by ship through the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz to Karachi, Pakistan, then overland once again.”

“Nonlethal supplies flowing into Afghanistan include cement, lumber, blast barriers, septic tanks and rubberized matting, all to expand space at airfields and double, to 40, the number of forward operating bases in a country…”

“The Defense Logistics Agency, which provides meals for 415,000 troops, contractors and American civilians each day in both wars, shipped 1.1 million frozen hamburger patties to Afghanistan in March alone, compared with 663,000 burgers in March 2009. The agency also supplied 27 million gallons of fuel to forces in Afghanistan this month, compared with 15 million gallons a year ago.”

The most telling quote about U.S. priorities comes from General David Petraeus

Gen. David H. Petraeus of the United States Central Command, in another grand historical parallel, recently called the construction under way “the largest building boom in Afghanistan since Alexander built Kandahar,” a reference to the conqueror of Afghanistan in the fourth century B.C.

Additional Resources:

Human Rights Dimension of Poverty in Afghanistan

To see why Iran feels surrounded, here is the map from the paper.

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Afghanistan 101 is a blog of the American Friends Service Committee
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