Gen. Stanley McChrystal announced he is giving fast food restaurants the boot on large military bases in Afghanistan.
The announcement has spawned a series of delightful headlines – including many variants on ‘McChrystal dethrones Burger King‘.
McChrystal is commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF. Upon inspection, he found that fast food outlets on the large bases of Kandahar, Bagram and Mazar-e-Sharif are diverting too many resources from smaller bases.
Health And Economics
While some media outlets see this as a tactic to keep troops healthy, it really comes down to economics.
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall explained why the ISAF is doing away with these businesses:
Supplying non-essential luxuries to big bases like Bagram and Kandahar makes it harder to get essential items to combat outposts and forward operating bases, where troops fighting every day need to be resupplied with ammunition, food and water.
Some soldiers feel that the move will further damage the already crippled morale of troops in Afghanistan. Regarding morale, Hall says:
What won’t change or be diminished are the facilities that cater to service members’ well being and morale. Physical fitness centers will be equipped with cardio and weight equipment. We are working hard to get more bandwidth in country so we can provide troops throughout Afghanistan with faster, more reliable and more affordable (perhaps even free) Internet services and access to phones to stay connected with loved ones.
The troops in Afghanistan should expect the businesses to close their doors in the coming weeks and months.