June 28, 2011

$20 Billion Air Conditioning Costs in Iraq and Afghanistan

The US military spends $20.2 billion each year on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a story in NPR quoting Steven Anderson, a retired brigadier general who served as Gen. David Patreaus' chief logistician in Iraq. "He's now in the private sector," says NPR, "selling technologies branded as 'energy-efficient' to the Department of Defense."
Why does it cost so much?

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.
I've got an even better plan to bring down costs in lives and dollars: get out of both countries.

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