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Poll: fast food, oakleys and Harleys

should these be on sale in a war zone ?

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#1 G.MITCHELL

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 08:48 AM

Burgers go way of booze as US general Stanley McChrystal bans junk food The Times.

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.



Your Comments

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! :D

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.


#2 AQuaker

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 01:08 PM

Although, I voted no for health reasons, I am on the fence with this one. I would hope that the military can provide satisfying, healthy meals for the men when they come off the line. However, I think a cookout with ice cold beer would be a morale booster each time a company comes in from the outlying areas would be ideal. I just don't understand why Pizza Hut and Subway or there. It's a war zone for Pete's sake not university. And wouldn't it be better to have companies invest in Afghanistan? Then again these touches of home boost the soldier's spirit as well, but would it detract from their effectiveness by making them homesick? Decisions, decisions, but I stick to my vote. It is not even healthy for those of us here .

As for the motorcycles...young men with lots of testosterone who are far from home with access to motorcyles makes for a dangerous combination in any part of the world in my humble opinion. The sunglass place is definite neccessity considering the location.

Edited by AQuaker, 30 March 2010 - 01:09 PM.


#3 Yellow Rose

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 06:40 PM

I'd like to hear from someone who served on this one.

However, as a general rule, I'm against the food police. For every bad choice on a fast food menu, there are good choices, as well. I have a three year old, and I find myself at a fast food place at least once a week during the summer months so she can play in the indoor playground during the heat of the day. I could usually find something for us to eat that was freshly prepared and healthy. So, I'm not buying the "fat soldier" part of the argument.

I'm all for anything tax free, especially Harley's!

Sarah

#4 appell8

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 07:44 PM

I'm thinking that anything that serves as a reward to military in the field is just fine by me. They can make their own choices, and I'm happy for them to have as many options as possible.

I would feel differently if this were a zero-sum game, where pizzas logistically crowded out ammo. But it sounds as if the supply chains are independent.

I know my father would not have approved of a no-alcohol policy in the ETO of 1944-45. So, I say (with no Passover/Fiddler pun intended, but unavoidable) "TRADITION!"

#5 G.MITCHELL

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 05:29 AM

Posted Image
The Boardwalk at Kandahar, pizza hut sign in background.

Posted Image
No litter problem here !

Posted Image
The Boardwalk from a distance - not your average Mall ! (how many fat soldiers ?)

Posted Image

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Brits inspect souvenir carpets in the Boardwalk at Kandahar - does this mean a fairtrade for local crafts people ? - a good thing in my view.

Edited by G.MITCHELL, 31 March 2010 - 05:45 AM.


#6 AQuaker

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 08:16 AM

G. Mitchell and the BBC convince me of the error of my ways. So, I think the boardwalk and its tenants should stay. Not that my opinion counts. Nice beach shot. Loved the views. I mean view.

#7 misako

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 09:42 AM

ooooh I hope those guys start wearing light cotton shirts even if they are just playing a game... (is that what they are doing?)

misako (who works a lot on skin cancer clinic)

#8 AQuaker

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 10:20 AM

Misako, the first thing I thought of was sunscreen. They need those shirts that block the rays. :D

ooooh I hope those guys start wearing light cotton shirts even if they are just playing a game... (is that what they are doing?)

misako (who works a lot on skin cancer clinic)



#9 Yellow Rose

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 05:39 PM

Update:

Shh! Don't tell Michelle: the ban on concessions, put in place by General Stanley McChrystal seven months ago, has now been lifted. :D

#10 IMike

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 01:46 AM

From my own viewpoint:

AS LONG AS NO MILITARY TRANSPORT IS INVOLVED, there's not a single thing wrong with a burger king, a TGI Fridays, etc, anywhere in Afghanistan. (Serving of pork should probably be avoided, however. If MacDonalds comes in, it will have to leave its bacon, egg and cheese biscuits, sausage biscuits and egg mcmuffins behind.) Nor should they be restricted to soldiers! We would not be harmed if Afghanis got a taste of American life. I think they would like it. Most people do. Of course, if their demand clogs logistic channels, a different situation exists; but as long as it does not, I'm all in favor of it.

As much as I would hate it, I have to agree with the No Alcohol policy. Islam is very hard nosed on alcohol. Those of you who have seen Charlie Wilson's War will remember his faux pas at the Pakistani capital. (Those of you who have not seen Charlie Wilson's War should do so.) Alcohol is not a necessity, and in Afghanistan it will tend to impede the accomplishment of the mission.

The problem of bloated staffs is a constant one, and it takes a hard-nosed commander to fight it. I have heard that the only US army headquarters which didn't exceed its TDA personnel strength during World War II was Patton's Seventh and Third Armies. A good start is to make them responsible for their own security, so most of the Afghan forces around the bases can go farther out and hunt bad guys. (But they're not Infantry! Don't worry, they'll learn. It isn't rocket science!)

In Vietnam, there was almost always somewhere for troops to go and relax when not on duty -- someplace which had forms of entertainment not available in service clubs (which generally featured little besides alcohol and ping pong). Vietnam had no compunctions about alcohol (and in fact they made some pretty good beer) so that was not a problem. A very serious problem was the fact that a young woman could earn more money in an hour than her farmer father could make in a year. The Vietnamese moral code was far more strict than ours was, with the sexual revolution (an inspiring time, when millions of men all across the country unselfishly stood up in support of a woman's right to have sex outside of marriage!) in full swing, but that kind of payoff overbore the scruples of many young women. Their families -- and I expect many of the women themselves -- hated it, and hated us for it. During my first tour, commanders exercised varying degrees of control over these activities. One camp had a "shopping center" where the women were subject to inspection for STD and other Vietnamese areas were off limits. Another was on the edge of a sizable town, and no overt supervision or control was exercised. My brother informs me that the Marines at Chu Lai weren't allowed off the base at all. On my second tour, advisers at every level did their best to forbid such activities in their area -- generally with little success in the larger cities, but with a good bit of success in the smaller towns and villages. But there we lived on the economy, supplemented by occasional visits to the Province commissary. Some of my fondest memories of Vietnam are from the restaurants where I ate on occasion.

Mike




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