Tomgram: Dilip Hiro, How to Trump a Superpower
Up until last November, more than 30% of the basic supplies for the war came by ship to the Pakistani port of Karachi and were offloaded onto trucks to begin the long journey to and across the Pakistani border into Afghanistan. Late last November, however, angry Pakistani officials — as Dilip Hiro describes below — slammed that country’s border crossings shut on American and NATO war supplies. Those crossings have yet to reopen and whether they will any time soon, despite optimistic U.S. press reports, remains to be seen.
The result has undoubtedly been a resupply disaster for the American military, but you would never know it from the startling lack of coverage in the mainstream media here. All supplies now have to be flown in at staggering cost or shipped, also at great expense, via the Northern Distribution Network from the Baltic or the Caspian seas through some portion of the old Soviet Union.
Soon after this happened, there were brief reports indicating that the costs of shipping some items had gone up by a factor of six, depending on the route chosen. Back in 2009, it was estimated that a gallon of fuel cost $400 or more by the time it reached the U.S. military in Afghanistan, and that was by the cheaper Pakistani route. How much is it now? $600, $800, $2,400?
We don’t know, largely because coverage of the Afghan war has been so patchy and evidently no reporter bothered to check for months. Only in the last week have we gotten a Pentagon estimate: a rise in shipping costs of about 2½ times the Pakistani price. (And even such estimates are buried in wire service stories on other topics.) In other words, for months no reporter considered the border-closing story important enough to make it a feature piece or to follow it seriously.
In an America where financing is increasingly unavailable to fire departments, police departments, schools, and the like, is it really of no significance what money we pour into our wars? Is no one curious about what the Pakistani decision has meant to the American taxpayer?