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The finger on the invisible hand

Whatcha Gonna Do with All that Ass

Saturday, August 13, 2005

(SNN Kandagal) Logistics problems are common in every army. This has always especially been true in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan. Humvees are of limited use and support helicopters, the backbone of US military rough terrain logistics, have difficultly maneuvering in the thin air of high mountain elevations, especially when being shot at. However, one battalion of Marines has found an original solution: transporting food and bottled water using the methods that the Afghan villagers have been using since the beginning of recorded time.

The donkeys are significantly cheaper than Chinook helicopters

Thirty donkeys have been rented from local farmers. The donkeys are more effective at delivering supplies and significantly cheaper than Chinook helicopters, whose price runs around thirty million dollars and cost thousands of dollars an hour to fly.

"With all the smart bombs and the modern stuff in war nowadays, this is the best way for us to resupply our troops there," said Lt. Col. Jim Donnellan, commander of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.

The donkeys allow squads to carry enough food and water for an additional two days in the field, as well as providing warmth and companionship for the Marines. "Marines have used donkeys since the American revolution," said Capt. John Moshane at the Marines' Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Nevada. Still, even Marines find the donkey’s determination to mate whenever they are untied frustrating.

Also, in an environment as dangerous as the Afghani Mountains, it is possible for a Marine to have his ass shot out from under him. The civilian donkeys rented by the Marines are soft sided and susceptible to small arms and sniper fire. There has been some interest in seeing the donkeys hardened.

Still the stubbornness of the animals has continued to be a problem for Marines. To them, we give the following piece of advice from animal handler George Clinton, “Free your mind and your ass will follow.”

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