The Longest Supply Lines Re: Crony capitalism and its wartime discontents

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Fri Mar 28 19:36:47 MST 2003


At 9:24 PM -0500 3/28/03, M. Junaid Alam wrote:
>Far more significant here is the fact that Allied supply lines are
>so stretched, that commanders were openly speaking of water and food
>shortages before the forward line halted its march towards the
>capitol. Soldiers are now only receiving 1 MRE per 24 hours, whereas
>the standard is 3.

The Iraqis are smartly attacking the supply lines -- the longest
supply lines in American history.

*****   ...The rapid advance of American forces through Iraq has left
the spearhead of the army 300 miles away from its main base. As a
result, the supply lines are stretched thin and are vulnerable to the
kinds of attacks that have left this convoy standing still since
Tuesday...

The Marine convoy is a gigantic thing, involving trucks and tankers
and jeeps and tanks, carrying thousands of gallons of diesel fuel,
millions of rounds of ammunition and crate upon crate of ready-made
meals. So large is this caravan that it takes several hours for all
of its vehicles to pass through a single point. Among its cargo is
160,000 gallons of fuel and 180 tons of ammunition.

Yet it is a measure of the voraciousness of the modern military that
this convoy, 300 vehicles long, carries only enough supplies to last
the First Marine Division a few days. Its guns can shoot thousands of
shells in a single day; it takes as much as five gallons of fuel just
to start the engine of an M-1 tank. The key to the Marines'
logistical success is the ability to keep the train going, to keep
more caravans, just as big, rolling north....

The Marine convoy stuck near Diwaniyah, for instance, has more than a
dozen 60-foot-long fuel tankers. Each one carries 5,000 gallons of
diesel fuel.

"I think about it a lot, getting hit," said a diesel truck driver.
"I'm a sitting duck."...

(Dexter Filkins, "Endless Supply Convoy Is Frustrated Endlessly,"
March 28, 2003,
<http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/28/international/worldspecial/28CONV.html>)
*****

Cf. Carl von Clausewitz, _On War_, Book VI "Defense," Chapter XXVI
"Arming the Nation":
<http://www.clausewitz.com/CWZHOME/On_War/BK6ch26.html>.
--
Yoshie

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