I found this article
about army helicopters in Afghanistan at Mudville's.
The headline: Choppers leaving troops high & dry.
Hmmm...that's kind of offensive...makes me think that the helicopter crews are somehow letting the troops down...wrong choice of headline.Rank may have its privileges, but it is no exception when waiting to hop a ride with the tiny fleet of choppers the Bush administration has committed to the Afghan war.
Okay...are you saying there should be more helicopters, just so that no one has to wait? This is obviously written by a civilian...they have NO concept of what it means to be in the "hurry up, and wait" military.
Basically the core of the journalist's argument is in this one paragraph:Typical of the frustration was the executive officer of an 82nd Airborne battalion stranded for three weeks at a rear camp. The camp, near the Pakistan border, was just 12 miles from the base he was trying to reach.
Okay...that definitely isn't good.In the more remote areas, the only hope to get anywhere is a regularly scheduled "ring" flight by a Chinook unloading supplies at several bases in a loop, which may or may not arrive, thanks to war or weather.
So if it's the weather and the combat conditions that decide whether or not a helicopter will fly, how will increasing the fleet help this situation?To make up for the dearth of flights carrying ammunition, food and mail, a Special Forces base like Camp Tillman on the Pakistan border depends on special deliveries. Fruit might arrive in aging Soviet MI-8 choppers flown by civilian contractors, or vegetables by Afghan trucks.
Why is it wrong to outsource delivery of certain items, if those deliveries happen reliably, which the article doesn't seem to deny?Seats on the rare chopper flights are usually shared with a stack of huge Hummer tires - testament to how rugged travel overland is on the rocky ruts that pass for roads along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
Your point being? I mean, sometimes there are generators being flown too...a testament to the lack of electricity in the region. Sometimes spare parts of A/C units are being flown, a testament to the occasional comforts certain FOBs have. Sometimes water is being flown, a testament to the lack of running water in the region.
Basically, this journalist just wants to bitch. He wants to bitch about the remoteness of some FOBs, he wants to bitch about how hard it is for the soldiers to survive in the rugged landscape. He wants to bitch, that if there were better organization, this war could be fought in a more comfortable surrounding...like um, downtown New York. Well, good thing this guy is just a journalist, and never considered being a soldier. I seriously, didn't get the point of that article.Update
: Teresa's 2 cents