The president’s $30 billion figure for getting those 30,000-plus new surge troops into Afghanistan is going to prove a “through-the-basement estimate.” As for the dates for getting them in and beginning to get them out? Well, it’s grain-of-salt time there, too. According to Steven Mufson and Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, some of the fuel storage facilities being built to support the surge troops won’t even be completed by the time the first of them are scheduled to leave the country, 18 months from now.
Also, keep in mind the endless, and endlessly vulnerable supply lines on which so much of that fuel — and almost everything else the U.S. military has to have to survive — travels. Along those mountainous roads, trucks are “lost,” or Taliban-commandeered, or bribes are paid for passage, or some are simply destroyed in what can only be thought of as an underreported supply-line war. All of this adds immeasurably to the staggering expense of the project. According to August Cole of the Wall Street Journal, in fuel terms alone, to support a single soldier in Afghanistan costs between $200,000 and $350,000 a year. Read more. Φ
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