August 12, 2003

GI's compaining about food? I'm shocked!

Phil Carter at Intel Dump, who's been there, has a thoughtful dissection of the military aspects of Krugman's latest column. (see below) Are we surprised that he is not impressed?

...Krugman cites to some letters on Hack's website, including one where soldiers complain about water supplies.
One writer reported that in his unit, "each soldier is limited to two 1.5-liter bottles a day," and that inadequate water rations were leading to "heat casualties." An American soldier died of heat stroke on Saturday; are poor supply and living conditions one reason why U.S. troops in Iraq are suffering such a high rate of noncombat deaths?
This is a flat-out false statement. The truth is, according to Sergeant Major of the Army Jack Tilley during a recent press conference in Iraq, that soldiers are being issued two 1.5 liter plastic bottles of water today in addition to their regular water supply, which is provided in 500-gallon "water buffaloes" and other means. In fact, the planning factor for a soldier in a desert environment is something like 10 gallons of water per day -- plus between 10-50 pounds of ice per day (Note: a lot of this ice goes to food preparation and bulk water cooling, not directly to the soldier). A significant portion of the logistical effort goes to pushing this "Class I" supply forward to soldiers in the field, and distributing it. The physiology of this is obvious. If soldiers in Iraq were being forced to live on 3 liters/day, they would die.

Clearly, there is other water out there. Some soldiers are simply whining because they can't get an unlimited supply of Evian bottles, the way they did in Gulf War I when the Saudis footed the bill and the American supply lines weren't set up yet. I say: "Tough". Get your water in bulk from the water buffalo, fill your CamelBak, and deal with it.

A note on CamelBaks: I could write a book on this subject, from my active duty experience in the desert, but I won't. Suffice to say, the CamelBak is the best tool for hydration available, and every soldier should have one -- but doesn't yet...

Posted by John Weidner at August 12, 2003 12:27 PM
Weblog by John Weidner