November 01, 2011
Afghans Get Useless Styrkers
Just stumbled over this part of a Reuters piece about training the Afghan army:
Amlaqullah Patyani, a tall mustachioed general in charge of all Afghan army training, fears a bumpy road ahead even for his most courageous recruits.
"We have no clue how to operate the weapons that NATO gives us. And even if we did, will the weapons keep coming after 2014?" he asked Reuters at the ceremony, raising a key question about the sustainability of expensive Western efforts to build up Afghan security forces.
One example given by recruits is the complex computer system used to operate Stryker armored fighting vehicles that cost around $4 million each. Many new recruits assigned to master the system lack basic numeral skills and are unable to read the Latin script used inside.
The Stryker is a 20 ton eight wheel vehicle that is not really usable in Afghanistan. Because of that the U.S. is sending its Stryker equiped 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division to Afghanistan without these vehicles:
The Stryker Brigade will go Stryker-less for two reasons. First, the Afghan terrain can’t handle a heavy wheeled vehicle that’s about the size of a school bus. You don’t want to take that thing up mountains or roll it through river valleys that lack paved roads. Second, the vehicle is too flimsy to handle homemade bombs. Unlike MRAPs, the flat bottom of a Stryker absorbs the brunt of a bomb impact, rather than deflecting it.
But that very expensive junk is now given to Afghan recruits who are unable to handle it.
Some fat cat in some U.S. company and the associated House and Senate members will make millions from this U.S. taxpayer funded idiocy.
But however you may see the conflict in Afghanistan it will be of zero value to either side of the real war. That's basically fine with me. Still the utter corruption of the U.S. political system that allows for such stupidity amazes me again and again.
Posted by b on November 1, 2011 at 03:29 PM | Permalink
Are you and the US benefactors underestimating the wily Afghan? These items can always can traded for (or repurposed into) something more serviceable, can't they?
Posted by: rjj | Nov 1, 2011 6:19:49 PM | 1
Just north of Kabul there is a place known as "the Tank Graveyard" where the Taliban towed Soviet-era tanks during the 90's and left them to rust according to the below Youtube video the tank scraps continue for miles.
Google Earth pic: http://googlesightseeing.com/2006/03/russian-tank-graveyard/
Youtube of American soldiers patrolling the Kabul Tank Graveyard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAZmpYbOelk
While I was reading this post about Styrkers I was thinking that they are destined for the same place.
Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Nov 1, 2011 6:41:08 PM | 3
This Stryker story is so pathetically pointless and uninformative that I read it a couple of times to try and work out why it was published at all. And I'm still not sure. My guess is that it was to reinforce the myth that the Yankees will still be in Afghanistan in 2014. It's pretty obvious to me that they'll be out of there before the end of 2012.
They clearly have NO achievable, or even plausible, military objectives and the excuse that the people losing the war have to stay there to train the people who are winning how to fight has probably worn out its welcome even among the Pentagoons.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 1, 2011 11:35:42 PM | 4
Great read B-
War is all about maximizing profits.
I believe Milo Minderbender would be very pleased to learn that the US Military was dumping useless machinery in a country where it is even MORE useless to maximize profits at the hands of US taxpayers who funded these useless machines.
Not as bad as Osprey's, but certainly useless and costly and well, now profitable!!!
Posted by: Larue | Nov 2, 2011 1:35:58 AM | 5
I think most here would have to agree that the USA military and the military supplying industry are together the main pillars of "industrial policy" in the USA. Since WWII it has been true that the military has wasted Trillions on expensive toys. (no matter if they work or not)
Say, how is "star wars" coming along?
Posted by: Joseph | Nov 2, 2011 6:23:46 AM | 6
"Say, how is "star wars" coming along?"
Ronny RayGun's rail gun required so much concentrated electro-magnetic energy to launch a heavy projectile that when they finally got around to building and testing one powerful enough to do the job, the first thing it did was melt.
What should distress US Taxpayers is that electrical engineers of 70 years (or more) ago could have predicted that result. Electrical engineers in the Regan era would have been able do so with even greater precision. Clearly, someone told them to shut up.
The anti-ballistic missile program is the new alternative. It will continue to go badly until Uncle Sam can persuade every country with ICBMs to install a GPS beacon in each one (like the Yankees do with their own target missile during "testing").
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 2, 2011 10:31:40 AM | 7
Further to #7.
Politicians have a very big say in which weapons the military is allowed to purchase. One only needs to glance at most modern military hardware to see that its appearance is carefully styled to appeal to the gullible, the immature, and the feeble minded.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 2, 2011 10:52:44 AM | 8
"War is all about maximizing profits".
Yep, not to worry though, the working class of the U.S. will pay the freight by giving up their social safety net to feed the war machine.
Posted by: ben | Nov 2, 2011 10:56:47 AM | 9
Corruption has certainly influenced doctrine in the procurement-driven U.S. military.
Even the neocons can grasp the cost-benefit issues with using our nuclear mega-weapons; and our smart munitions have been substantially offset by the low-tech guided missiles otherwise known as shaheeds or suicide bombers.
Maybe we should try diplomacy, and mutually-beneficial economic relations.
Posted by: Watson | Nov 2, 2011 12:23:06 PM | 10
Posted by: dd | Nov 2, 2011 2:05:21 PM | 11
Maybe we should try diplomacy, and mutually-beneficial economic relations.
Too true, except that would require compromise. And the US doesn't do compromise.
Posted by: Pyrrho | Nov 2, 2011 3:28:21 PM | 12
On the subject of more or less useless military hardware, here's Haaretz speaking truth to the (profitable) hogwash sold to the Jewish Occupiers of Palestine about Iron Dome and its past, present and future variations.
Some measure of the ingrained right-wing myopia and dishonesty evident in the Zionist discourse can be gleaned from the fact that "truthful" Haaretz blames Iran for the Gazan rockets landing in Israel - when everyone except the Jews knows that the rockets are a direct result of "Israel's" insane policies toward, and cowardly attacks on, Gaza.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 3, 2011 1:25:47 AM | 13
On the overall Afghan Fake War issue, this article from MKB explains how the Yankees have managed to wear out their welcome just about everywhere on the planet. It's about a 'summit' at which Yankee attempts to hijack the stated agenda didn't fool anyone but the Yankees themselves. Its take-home message appears about 12 paragraphs from the end:
The devastating suicide car bomb attack in Kabul killing 13 American and 3 Australian soldiers may well be the harbinger of a new offensive. Its timing - on the eve of the Istanbul conference - carried a barely-disguised message to the US administration that crunch time has come and the US strategy to degrade the Taliban and force them to come to the negotiating has not only failed, but the Taliban seem more than ever convinced that they are inching toward conclusive victory.
US's post-2014 Afghan agenda falters
M K Bhadrakumar
It's easy to forget that EVERY casualty inflicted on the US and its allies, by Afghanistan's 'backward' peasants and subsistence farmers, does irreparable damage to the illusion of US military supremacy.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 3, 2011 11:52:45 PM | 14