Leaving Behind in Iraq Equipment Needed in Afghanistan

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Arguing that it is cheaper to buy new equipment instead of shipping the old, the U.S. military has decided to donate tens of millions of dollars in vehicles and other materials to the Iraqi government rather than send it to Afghanistan. The decision has sparked a debate within the Department of Defense over the wisdom of giving American base commanders in Iraq

authority to leave behind up to $30 million worth of equipment from each facility.
Brigadier General Peter Bayer Jr., chief of staff for the ground forces command in Iraq, argued it is more cost-effective to donate civilian SUVs and other goods to Iraqis than it is to ship them to Afghanistan. “In many cases, we’ll spend more between labor and transportation than the equipment is worth,” Bayer told The Washington Post. “We’re not talking about green Army trucks or weapons systems or night-vision capabilities.”
Others in the military disputed the rationale, pointing out that some of the equipment targeted for donation is desperately needed in Afghanistan. “In Iraq, people drive around in new Yukons, Suburbans, Envoys and new pickups,” said one official privately. “In Kandahar, you find troops from the same U.S. Army driving around in broken-down, 15-year-old, right-hand-drive clunkers with bald tires.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Millions' Worth of Gear Left in Iraq (by Ernesto Londoño, Washington Post)


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