As I write this the temperature in Kabul, Afghanistan is -2o Celsius, a pleasant winter's evening. The weather can get brutal, falling below -20oC and temperatures approaching -50oC have been recorded. The reason I am sharing these meteorological tidbits is that American soldiers are starving in Afghanistan. Soldiers and Marines are losing 20 to 40 pounds of body weight during their Afghan deployments. One soldier had to be evacuated because of malnutrition and a 60 pound weight loss.
The reason is pathetically simple. The standard MRE (meal ready to eat) has 1200 calories. Eating two a day is sufficient nutrition for a normally active adult male, plenty of food for riding around New Jersey in a Hummer. In Afghanistan, the soldiers are hiking more than riding, often in bitter cold. Under winter combat conditions they can easily burn 6000 to 8000 calories a day. They simply can't eat enough of standard cheese-and-crackers MREs to replace the energy they are losing.
Anyone with wilderness experience knows compact calories, proteins and fats, are a necessary food under these conditions. Unfortunately, the wine-and-caviar Pentagon generals are ignorant twits. So, for five years American soldiers have been struggling with malnutrition as well as Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.
The Pentagon is finally reacting to the need by sending high calorie First Strike Rations - in late April long after the winter cold, and greatest need, has passed. Skippy rightly asks, "this is supporting the troops...how?"
But, starving soldiers is a Bush Administration traditon.