Tuesday, April 13, 2004

When the Going Gets Tough... The Contractors Leave

A report I saw on ABC News last night and an article I read this morning in The San Francisco Chronicle have me so angry I can hardly write this post. Not that that's all that rare these days...

The ABC report was about contract truck drivers returning home from Iraq; apparently they are leaving in droves because the situation is so hot that they are refusing to drive supplies to units spread around Iraq. Who did al the drivers interviewed work for? Kellogg, Brown & Root, subsidiary of Halliburton. The article in the Chronicle was mostly about the situation outside of Najaf and Fallujah, but the last couple of paragraphs were related to the ABC report and are what set me off:

Military officials expressed concern about a growing problem that also plagued U.S. forces during the invasion last year: attacks on supply convoys. Over the past week, insurgents repeatedly have attacked military and commercial trucks and passenger vehicles on two major highways that run west and south from Baghdad, slowing the movement of troops and supplies and rendering both roads off-limits to most foreigners, U.S. military commanders said Monday.

The two highways provide the major links to the densely populated agricultural zone in the south and to Fallujah and Ramadi to the west. In the past week, armed bands of as many as 60 men have ambushed fuel convoys, kidnapped foreign civilians and shot down aircraft along the highways.

Military commanders remain very concerned about the motorways and have declared them dangerous but not impassable, Kimmitt said. He said it could take several weeks before they were completely safe for traffic.

The attacks have led many truck drivers working for Kellogg Brown & Root and other private contractors to refuse to drive, delaying the delivery of much-needed supplies to troops, military officials said.

Private contractors are responsible for providing about half the military's supplies in Iraq.

(Emphasis mine, ed.)
The combination of a complete failure to plan for the aftermath of the war, a desire to conduct this folly on the cheap, the refusal to accept the situation on the ground and provide more troops and the outright cronyism of letting contracts for support of the troops is endangering the lives of our soldiers. I commented on a post yesterday by Hesiod at Counterspin Central, that logistical planning is the least glamorous, but most important job in military operations. Nothing can happen without bullets, fuel and food. Nothing.

There is no other way to say this. The mismanagement of BushCo. is directly responsible for a lack of proper levels of supply line security, supply of ammunition, equipment and food for our soldiers. These factors directly cause additional deaths and injuries.

A military commander who planned and conducted such a shoddy campaign, resulting in so many deaths would be court-martialed.

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