‘money has no value for them’

Roaming packs of feral dogs now bed down at what was once Shank’s busy helicopter landing pad. Crows pick over scrap heaps amid metal tent skeletons whose torn plastic skins whip in the wind. Snow blows through collapsed walls of wood huts that once housed military offices…

Shank’s dilapidation was the result of resource limitations, claimed [Afghan Brig. Gen.] Safi, who heads a brigade in the army’s 203rd Corps. He has been fighting in Logar province for about 10 years and was posted at Shank in its prime.

Fascinating article in Stars and Stripes about an American camp in Afghanistan gone to ruin because the Afghan military simply doesn’t have the resources to maintain it.

But it’s also a story of the waste that accompanies the almost blank-cheque given to the American military by jingoistic politicians.

Obviously the military have different needs than domestic organisations, and we shouldn’t question that soldiers risking their lives far away from home should get some creature comforts. But could the military not look beyond their own situation, to a resource constrained future?

More importantly, does anyone believe an organisation that served the poor or disadvantaged in America wouldn’t be crucified for stories like this?

There’s one incredibly powerful anecdote of a tent that was heated to such a degree that US soldiers wore shorts and drank cool drinks.

Would a military with slightly less resources be able to kick any less ass? Could the money not be better used elsewhere? I hear there was a water crisis in Flint.

Even with a base full of troops, Safi couldn’t afford to maintain it, he said, claiming the facilities are too costly to run. Everything the Americans left requires power, he said, even bathroom door locks his troops have replaced with ordinary padlocks.

For just one of the big tents now rotting in Zombieland, the Americans would burn about 80 gallons of fuel a night, said Safi, who spent hours one January morning searching room to room in his headquarters for a working heater.

“Where are Afghans supposed to get that much fuel?” Safi asked. He said later: “The Americans, money has no value for them.”

As always, my emphasis.