Logistics: March 8, 2004

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For the U.S. Army, war has not gotten any cheaper. Operations in Iraq are costing the army $3.7 billion a month (for about 130,000 troops), while the Afghanistan operations (for about 10,000 troops) are costing $900 million a month. It costs some three times more per soldier in Afghanistan because it's much more expensive to get stuff in and out of land-locked Afghanistan. There is also more (very expensive) helicopter support per soldier in Afghanistan than in Iraq. Moreover, the rugged nature of Afghan roads is harder on equipment, requiring more frequent replacement and repair. There's also a lot more construction going on in Afghanistan. In Iraq, American troops were usually able to take over Saddam's many palace complexes, or Iraqi military bases, and quickly turn them into adequate American bases. Not so in Afghanistan, where most everything has to be built from scratch.  While wages are cheaper in Afghanistan, the corruption is worse. Thus security costs, and theft losses, are higher.

 


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