First he banned booze in his Kabul headquarters. Now the notoriously austere commander of US and Nato forces has a new target in his war on terror: ice cream and fast food.
General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of Special Forces in Iraq, who runs eight miles a day, eats one meal and sleeps for only four hours a night, has given orders to close the junk food concessions on Nato bases.
No longer will the fighter pilots at Bagram or Kandahar airfields be able to ring Pizza Hut to deliver. Once General McChrystal has his way, the Whoppers will be off the menu: Burger Kings at both locations are to close. Even the newly opened TGI Fridays on the boardwalk in Kandahar is to close its doors once its contract expires.
“This is a war zone, not an amusement park,” wrote Command Sergeant-Major Michael T. Hall in a military blog.
The boardwalk area also has an Oakley sunglasses shop, a Subway sandwich bar and a Delice de France. The Harley-Davidson concession offering tax-free motorbikes delivered to soldiers’ homes is also going.
The decision is likely to appal the rear echelon soldiers stationed on bases the size of small cities but it has been welcomed by some of the frontline forces stuck in sparse combat outposts without fresh food or running water.
“From the moment [General] McChrystal and I arrived in Afghanistan last summer, we began looking for ways to do things more efficiently across the battlefield. This effort includes moving and reallocating resources to better accomplish our mission,” Sergeant-Major Hall wrote.
“What it comes down to is focus, and to using the resources we have in the most efficient and effective ways possible.
“Supplying non-essential luxuries to big bases like Bagram and Kandahar makes it harder to get essential items to combat outposts and forward operating bases, where troops who are in the fight each day need resupplying with ammunition, food and water.”
In September General McChrystal banned alcohol at his headquarters after complaining that too many staff had hangovers. Some troops dubbed it his “war on Stella”.
The changes are unlikely to have much effect on British troops. Camp Bastion has a Pizza Hut and a van outside the Naafi offering takeaway vindaloos. Alcohol is already banned.
Craig Eliot wrote:
He's absolutely right. This is not a joke.
March 30, 2010
Ed Franklin wrote:
I've been back from Afghanistan for about a week now and am stunned at the red herring being thrown out there. Soldiers downrange appreciate being able to get a taste of home when they are able to stop by one of the Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) with fast food. These fast food joints are paid for by contract from the vendor, not the taxpayer so very few (if any) resources are being used by the military to get them there. Lastly the Dining Facilities at these places are EMORMOUS and are much more responsible for fat troops than the fast-food trailers could ever hope for.
As the US military planners continue to take a top-down rather than a bottom-up approach to this morass, bloated rear FOBs whose purpose appears to be little more than holding areas for bloated staffs and bloated troops will continue to be the rule as planners flail around trying to find a solution to get us out of there. Until then, I'm sure we'll have more misdirection such as this, rather than real solutions that are costing us lives and national treasure.
McChrystal should consider running less and thinking about real logisitics problems (ammunition, housing for troops, fuel for generators and vehicles) rather than wasting time with this. Hall should simply keep his mouth shut.
March 30, 2010
Sonia Rayit wrote:
I love BURGERS!
March 30, 2010
l j stewart wrote:
Fast food produces fat soldiers who cannot run fast enough and present bigger targets. I am glad to see the yanks have at least one general who can think.
Edited by G.MITCHELL, 30 March 2010 - 08:50 AM.