Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed the $400 figure to the Congressional Research Service. The number is from the Pentagon.
Last year, the price of gasoline in the United States topped the $4 per gallon mark.
This year in Afghanistan, the price has topped $400.
The stunning revelation emerged Thursday in a report from the Pentagon to House officials. The information conveyed offers new insight into a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, which found that the US spends $1 million per year for each servicemember on the ground in Afghanistan.
Why so much? The cost includes shipping, which sometimes includes the pricetag of a helicopter flight. Sending fuel by helicopter is woefully inefficient, because it uses up almost as much fuel as it carries.
Speaking to the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill, House Appropriations chairman John Murtha (D-PA) said the figure was “worrisome” and “we started looking into it.”
Afghanistan is also landlocked, meaning that fuel must be transported in ways that stretch the limits of economic reason.
Because the country has no seaports, fuel is shipped to Karachi, in Pakistan, then carried across land by commercial trucks through Afghanistan. For remote bases, gasoline is sometimes transported by air.
“One of the most expensive ways to supply fuel is by transporting it in bladders carried by helicopter; the amount that can be flown at one time can barely satisfy the need for fuel,” the Hill notes.
The paper notes that the $400 pricetag is referred to in Pentagon argot as the “fully burdened cost of fuel.”
The government’s Defense Energy Support Center provides fuel to the military at $2.78 per gallon, the conveyance of which then grows exponentially more expensive as it travels through dangerous combat zones.
Gen. James Conway, who runs the Marine Corps, told a Navy forum that perilous risky routes up gasoline that originally cost $1.04 gallon up to $400.
“These are fairly major problems for us,” Conway was quoted as saying.
Accused child molester Roy Moore defends Brett Kavanaugh: ‘I too was the object of false allegations’
Accused child molester Roy Moore on Wednesday came to the defense of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault.
Moore's remarks came after The New York Times published accounts from a new book, which found that two of Kavanaugh's accusers were credible.
In a statement to the press, Moore defended Kavanaugh on Wednesday.
"I too was the subject of false allegations, but unlike Justice Kavanaugh and others who have suffered the ire of the left, I filed suit against my accusers and their conspirators," Moore said. "For over two years, I have not seen nor been able to question any of those who went on national television tol tell their false stories just 32 days before the election in December 2017, and ironically I have been sued for defamation for merely denying their false and malicious accusations."
Trump says ‘many options’ on Iran response
US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has "many options" in addition to military strikes against Iran and that details of newly announced sanctions will come within 48 hours.
Asked by reporters about a possible US attack on Iran, Trump said "there are many options. There's the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that."
He explained that by "ultimate option" he meant "war."
Trump said that the specifics of sanctions he announced earlier would be made public "over the next 48 hours."
US ally Saudi Arabia says Iran was behind a missile or drone attack setting ablaze major oil facilities last weekend.
Bermuda braces for Hurricane Humberto
Residents of the tiny British archipelago of Bermuda battened down the hatches on Wednesday ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Humberto, a major category 3 storm packing fierce winds and punishing rain.
The Miami-based US National Hurricane Center put the center of the storm about 225 kilometers (140 miles) west of Bermuda at 1800 GMT, with maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour.
The core of the large storm was expected to pass to the northwest of Bermuda later in the day or overnight, dumping as much as 15 centimeters (six inches) of rain. A heightened storm surge is possible.