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Cold war: it’s not the heat, it’s the humanity

28 June 2011

The United States spends $20.2 billion annually on air conditioning for troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan — more than NASA’s entire budget, NPR reported.

The necessary cooling costs so much because of the remote locations and danger involved in delivery equipment and fuel, Steven Anderson, a retired logistician who served under Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq.

Kase Wickman, Raw Story

When I lived in the Big Bend, the soldiers who were sent here (with no break) from Afghanistan to supposedly “secure the border” always mentioned how much the area looked like the place they’d just left.  Of course, it wasn’t quite as cold in the winter, but summer temperatures in the desert (especially the further south you get in the Chihuahua desert) are just as brutal as they are “over there”.  It’s the reason so many migrants die along the way.

Of course, the soldiers stationed along the Rio Grande were staying in motels (with air conditioning) but the soldiers running around on this side of the border, chasing those violence entrepreneurs are not.   For which the United States gives Mexico about 20 million dollars… but no air conditioners.

I don’t blame the soldiers, or even their superiors for the outrageous expense.  Being sent off on a war of choice by their government, I guess the soldiers are entitled to some level of comfort.  But, when it comes to necessities in the United States (like food), it’s a different story.  From Austin American-Statesman:

A knot of criminal offenders who spent seven hours in the sun harvesting buckets of vegetables by hand have decided they’re calling it quits exactly as crew leader Benito Mendez predicted in the morning.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal started the experiment after farmers publicly complained they couldn’t find enough workers to harvest labor-intensive crops …  Latino workers — including many illegal immigrants — refused to show up… One crew …wouldn’t come to Georgia for fear of risking deportation.

Mendez put the probationers to the test last Wednesday, assigning them to fill one truck and a Latino crew to fill a second truck. The Latinos picked six truckloads of cucumbers compared to one truckload and four bins for the probationers.

“It’s not going to work,” Mendez said. “No way. If I’m going to depend on the probation people, I’m never going to get the crops up.”

Conditions in the field are bruising, and the probationers didn’t seem to know what to expect. Cucumber plants hug the ground, forcing the workers to bend over, push aside the large leaves and pull them from the vine. Unlike the Mexican and Guatemalan workers, the probationers didn’t wear gloves to protect their hands from the thorns on the vines.

Temperatures hovered in the low 90s with heavy humidity, but taking off a shirt to relieve the heat invited a blistering sunburn. One Latino worker carried a machete that he used to dispatch a rattlesnake.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bear permalink
    28 June 2011 8:49 am

    Georgia is just one more state suffering from the cabeza rectal syndrome.

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