Posts tagged ‘Afghanistan War’

June 27, 2011

$20 Billion on Air Conditioning for our two wars

by Vince

Doug Mataconis describes this large amount of money:

To power an air conditioner at a remote outpost in land-locked Afghanistan, a gallon of fuel has to be shipped into Karachi, Pakistan, then driven 800 miles over 18 days to Afghanistan on roads that are sometimes little more than “improved goat trails,” Anderson says. “And you’ve got risks that are associated with moving the fuel almost every mile of the way.”

Anderson calculates more than 1,000 troops have died in fuel convoys, which remain prime targets for attack. Free-standing tents equipped with air conditioners in 125 degree heat require a lot of fuel. Anderson says by making those structures more efficient, the military could save lives and dollars.

June 23, 2011

Troop Levels in Afghanistan and Iraq Infographic

by Vince

Click here for the enlarged version (I had to size it down and you can’t read all of the fine details).

H/T: Whitehouse

June 22, 2011

Parsing the Obama Withdraw from Afghanistan

by Vince

Glenn Greenwald analyzes in light of the headlines everywhere (most notably in the NY Times):

President Obama plans to announce his decision on the scale and pace of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan in a speech on Wednesday evening . . . Mr. Obama is considering options that range from a Pentagon-backed proposal to pull out only 5,000 troops this year to an aggressive plan to withdraw within 12 months all 30,000 troops the United States deployed to Afghanistan as part of the surge in December 2009.. . . .

Even after all 30,000 troops are withdrawn, roughly 68,000 troops will remain in Afghanistan, twice the number as when Mr. Obama assumed office.

Emphasis by G.G. His remarks:

So even under the most “aggressive” withdrawal plan the President is considering — one that he and media outlets will undoubtedly tout as a “withdrawal plan” (the headline on the NYT front page today: “Obama to Announce Plans for Afghan Pullout”) — there will still be “twice the number” of American troops in that country as there were when George Bush left office and Obama was inaugurated.  That’s what “withdrawal” means in American political parlance: doubling the number of troops fighting a foreign war over the course of four years.

Many people on the left have debated the speed of which Obama should pull out of Afghanistan. This is in light of almost all lawmakers siding with withdrawing troops and top military officials opposing a swift withdraw.

May 31, 2011

A War Nation

by Vince

Andrew J. Bacevich gives his take on supporting our troops as they continue to embark into two wars without ends in sight:

Members of the civil-military-corporate elite find war more than tolerable. Within its ranks, as Chris Hedges has noted, war imparts meaning and excitement to life. It serves as a medium through which ambitions are fulfilled and power is accrued and exercised. In Washington, the benefits offered by war’s continuation easily outweigh any benefits to be gained by ending war. So why bother to try?

As the 10th anniversary of what Americans once called their Global War on Terror approaches, a plausible, realistic blueprint for bringing that enterprise to a conclusion does not exist. Those who might once have felt some responsibility for articulating such a plan—the president, his chief lieutenants, senior military leaders—no longer feel any obligation to do so. As a practical matter, they devote themselves to war’s perpetuation, closing one front while opening another. More strikingly still, we the people allow our leaders to evade this basic responsibility to articulate a plan for peace. By implication, we endorse the unspoken assumption that peace has become implausible.

In a way, patriotism and the ambiguous “protect America” mantra have trumped peace because, well, we live in a “fallen world”.

February 22, 2011

Did You Know About This Barack Obama?

by Vince

You know, the one who threatened to veto any budget propositions with even small defense cuts, who wants a bigger defense budget than even the GOP, and has now moved the withdraw date for Afghanistan to 2014. I am bedazzled.

August 2, 2010

The Hearts and Minds of Afghans

by Vince

TNR’s Entanglements describes briefly the trove of classified information released by Wikileaks pertaining to the Afghanistan War:

Hatred of foreign forces, particularly in the rural Pashtun communities, has been intensifying steadily for years. On first blush this may be difficult to grasp; the Taliban, after all, tend to be quite brutal in their own right, routinely intimidating or abusing locals. But the documents offer evidence of hundreds of small incidents across the country where troops killed civilians, for failing to stop at a checkpoint, or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or simply for being. Many of these killings came in ones and twos, often too small or in too remote of an area to be reported on. But over the course of five years (the period covered in the documents), they’ve accumulated in the Afghan psyche. And when taken together with night raids and disappearances, it becomes clearer why many rural Pashtuns view the troops as a source of insecurity rather than the other way around.

I have hesitated to post anything on the Wikileaks story because as many have noted the trove of information is somewhat old news. As I read through this short post, it made me think of the impacts the Wikileak release has had on not only American (and other) soldiers but those living within Afghanistan who are allying with the US and against the Taliban. This highlights one of the costs of journalism.

Pictured: Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks.