Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In war, absurdity rears its head


Between listening to the pundits banging on about tax relief for billionaires, and wondering whether Congress will ever pass another bill, and hearing rumblings of the first moves toward dismantling Social Security and Medicare—I read a couple of snippets of random information last week that set my hair on fire:

1) The tents in which our hundreds of thousands of troops must live in in Iraq and Afghanistan have to be air-conditioned—a process tantamount to air-conditioning large areas of the blazing desert, since canvas is singularly difficult to insulate. The gasoline needed to run those hundreds of thousands of air-conditioners is first pumped out of the nearby desert, then shipped to America to be refined, then shipped back to the nearest ports, then driven at high risk of ambush and roadside bombs hundreds of miles back to the camps. By the time all that gasoline flows into all those air-conditioners, the cost is estimated to be $400 a gallon.

2) It appears there is grave concern among the powers-that-be that if we are ever able to teach some basic reading and writing skills and then train and equip a police force in Afghanistan, the poor policemen won't have pensions when they retire. So a fund must be set up for that specific purpose. Seriously. A retirement plan for currently non-existent Afghan policemen. I am not making this up.

What a wonderful world it would be if we just brought the troops home. Then for the next few years I think we should give half the money we'd save to the troops, and the other half to the tragic people whose countries we've devastated.

I bet they'd find better uses for it.

Diana Fassino

Ketchum




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