The U.S. military spends $20.2 billion every year just to keep air conditioning running in its facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. National Public Radio points out that this amount is "more than NASA's budget. It's more than BP has paid so far for damage during the Gulf oil spill. It's what the G-8 has pledged to help foster new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia." Not only does the U.S. spend a lot to cool the troops, it risks a lot as well. Steven Anderson, David Patreaus's former chief logistician explained on All Things Considered that "to power an air conditioner at a remote outpost in land-locked Afghanistan, a gallon of fuel has to be shipped into Karachi, Pakistan, then driven 800 miles over 18 days to Afghanistan on roads that are sometimes little more than 'improved goat trails.'" He estimates that "more than 1,000 troops have died in fuel convoys, which remain prime targets for attack."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.