It's relative costs that matter
Posted by aogSunday, 05 August 2007 at 10:28 TrackBack Ping URL

British military leaders had a brilliant idea. Instead of fighting in Afghanistan (aka, the Graveyard of Great Armies), the Ministry of Defence decided to buyoff the other side. Hey if Saddam Hussein can buy off George Galloway, why not buy off the Taliban?

Brilliant plan.

Except for the part where it did not work because the bureaucracy tried to do it on the cheap.


Here is why the Brits failed: They were too damned cheap. The MoD only ponied up £1.5 million — $3 million. We spend more than that on toilet paper for our soldiers.


The Brits say they bought off 4,000 people with this £1.5 million. That’s $750 a man.

Oddly, that wasn’t enough to insure permanent loyalty. One advantage the enemy has is that he doens’t have to buy off everyone, just select members of the chatterati, who then become the darlings of the “trangressive” Left. If we tried the same thing, the enemy would just shoot them. On the other hand, maybe we should buy enemy commanders, just for a short time, to engage in defeat in detail.

This is also remarkably similar to the American failure to provide company level groups with sufficient “walking around money” to hand out to locals not for bribes, but to build / repair / obtain equipment that’s useful. Like, say, water purification, or generators, etc. There was a program for that but it died under the same sort of penny pinching attitude. It’s especially egregious for the USA — if you’re already spending $1B / week, and you trust your company commanders to act with unprecedented decorum in combat, you can trust them with some cash as well.

[source, source]

Cross posted in Low Earth Orbit

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