Slaughterhouse Five

What is a war without a slaughterhouse?  There happens to be an active Afghan National Army (ANA) slaughterhouse in Kabul (and a new one planned) in contrast to the slaughterhouse that sets the stage for the Kurt Vonnegut novel.  The stories do, however, converge around the out-of-this-world plots and characters. 

The Washington Post highlights the need for improving ANA logistics with a focus on the ANA slaughterhouse in the article ‘Slaughterhouse dude’ Chris Hart reflects changing U.S. role in Afghanistan.   A couple questions:

  1. Since the ANA is mostly fielded, why is demand growing?
  2. With “dudes” like this in the war-zone, who needs troops?
  3. Why are we doing this now?

The WaPo article cites this as a necessary step in making the ANA self-sufficient: “[T]he ability of these forces to master the logistics of supplying and sustaining themselves — to keep, for example, the water buffaloes flowing — is perhaps their biggest obstacle to self-sufficiency.”  But the ANA doesn’t raise the livestock, they buy it off the street like the countless other butcher shops in Kabul and everywhere else in Afghanistan.  And are plastic-handled boning knives and band saws more sustainable than hatchets and tree-trunk chopping blocks (or even dwarves climbing into water buffalo cavities)?

According to GEN Petraeus’ own FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency Field Manual, logistics should be among the first things established.  We’ve now established an army (and a police for that matter) that has minimal logistics capability, relies nearly completely on U.S. support, and we are now pulling out of the country. 

 Sounds like novels filled with lessons to re-learn.

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