Show Me the Money — Military Operation in Afganistan, NOT winning the hearts and minds

Curious about the military and it’s bang for the buck?  Trillions spent and what to we have to show for it?  Osama Bin Laden?  Political Progress?  No, a Nathans and TGIF’s.  Makes health care waste look trivial!

This from Alex Berenson via The Best Defense:

The soldiers and contractors who work at Kandahar Air Field call this giant base KAF, pronounced “calf.” As in fatted. Kabul is the nerve center, the brain, for the war in Afghanistan. But KAF is the mouth and the stomach, the communications and supply center for the 70,000 American soldiers and Marines fighting in southern Afghanistan.

Of course, fighting is a relative term. If they wear uniforms, the ladies and gents at KAF are counted in that total, though they’re about as likely to be in a firefight as the average Parisian. The kaf-firs are required to wear strips of yellow reflective tape if they walk outside after dark. The rule is a concession to the fact that, despite the occasional rocket attack, they’re as likely to die in a traffic accident as from hostile fire. Frontline soldiers refer to the folks at KAF as POGs, pronounced pogues. POG may or may not stand for “people other than grunts.” Either way, the phrase isn’t a compliment.


I walked, and walked, and walked some more. The base seemed endless. KAF is roughly three miles wide and two miles long, one-fourth the size of Manhattan. I wondered just how many people lived here. The consensus figure was north of 30,000, though no one really knew. Besides the Marines and Army, the Navy and Air Force had 5,000 people here, the British and Canadians thousands more. The French had offered a detachment of Mirage jets. Belgium, Italy, and a dozen other nations were here too, supporting the war one cappuccino at a time. KBR and Dyncorp and scores of other private companies fielded their own armies: contractors who cleaned the toilets, ran the chow halls, built the gyms, trained the bomb-sniffing dogs, and serviced the phones. The private workers were even more diverse than the soldiers. KAF is a real United Nations, the world coming together to make war. Only one country is missing: Afghanistan itself. Aside from a few guys selling carpets, the locals are generally not welcome.

After some false starts, I finally reached the perimeter. I expected to see Kandahar itself, but the city was invisible. It lies miles north of the airfield, hidden behind a low mountain, a brown fin that overlooks the base. The only Afghans I spotted were farmers grazing goats hundreds of yards away from the razor wire and high-security fence.

Medicynical note:  Read it and weep.  Is there anything that cannot be subverted for excessive profit?  Probably not.

Guess who pays?

One response to “Show Me the Money — Military Operation in Afganistan, NOT winning the hearts and minds

  1. I just left there. What a huge waste of money. No military discipline. It is like a college campus run wild. Those stationed are sucking up billions of dollars on no essential items while those out at the FOB’s and COP’s and smaller bases go without. This is a disgrace. This place has better sidewalks and streets than most cities in the US. There are probably 100 times more civilian vehicles on this base than military vehicle. I asked about all the construction still going on while we are supposed to be preparing to pull out and I was told by a “civilian” contract writer that it is because this money was approved two years ago and has to be spent. He said they were still building hangers that no one plans to use. I am a active duty US service member and I was professionally embarrassed. This is what our soldiers are going to think a war zone is supposed to look like and we are going to be in big trouble when we have to “fight” our next real war.

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