How Come We Can Afford 400 Buck Gasoline in Afghanistan, But We Can’t Afford Health Care Reform?

The Hill reported yesterday that gasoline for American troops in Afghanistan costs–on average–400 dollars per gallon:

“It is a number that we were not aware of and it is worrisome,” Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Defense panel, said in an interview with The Hill. “When I heard that figure from the Defense Department, we started looking into it.”

The Pentagon comptroller’s office provided the fuel statistic to the committee staff when it was asked for a breakdown of why every 1,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan costs $1 billion. The Obama administration uses this estimate in calculating the cost of sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Here’s a fact to put that price in perspective. A standard American military Humvee in Afghanistan has a 25-gallon gas tank. Every time one of those vehicles pulls up to the pump, American taxpayers cough up $10,000. That’s right. One Humvee, one filled gas tank, Ten Thousand Dollars. Can I check your tire pressure for you? How about your blood pressure?

And while you’re choking down that expensive thought, consider that Humvees probably get less than ten miles per gallon. With a probable range of less than 250 miles per tank, Humvees suck down tons and tons of gasoline. Or, as The Hill reports:

The Marines in Afghanistan, for example, reportedly run through some 800,000 gallons of fuel a day. That reflects the logistical challenges of running the counterinsurgency operations but also the need for fuel during the extreme weather conditions in Afghanistan — hot summers and freezing winters.

But those Humvees are nothing compared to your average M1A1 Abrams tank. Our tanks run on gasoline turbines, have truly horrible gas mileage (about two-thirds of a mile per gallon), and their gas tanks are the size of small swimming pools– 500 gallons, to be exact. What’s the cost per tank, you ask? Let’s see here…500 gallons @ 400 bucks a gallon comes to….

Holy Smokes–that’s $200,000!

Two Hundred Thousand American Taxpayer Dollars.

Wait. That can’t be right. We can’t be paying that much. $200,000 bucks just to fill one damn tank with gas, one time, so it can be driven less than 300 miles? And after that, it will need another $200,000 fill-up? Why, a health insurance policy for an American family of four–even at today’s exorbitant rates–only costs about $15,000 for a whole year! And your telling me we’re paying two hundred thousand just to top off one of our Abrams tanks?

Does Obama know about this? Do the Republicans know this? Do our financial guardians, the pay-as-you-go, deficit-hawk Blue Dogs know this? Do they realize that every time we take one of our tanks out for a spin in Afghanistan, a little run from Kabul to Kandahar, that it costs more for one crummy tank of gas than a years worth of health care for 13 American families a whole YEAR?. Yes–that’s over 13 families of four–a total of 52 mommies, daddies and children. A whole neighborhood of struggling American families.

But we simply can’t afford that real health-care reform, we’re told. It’s just too expensive.

More from The Hill piece:

With the military boosting the number of the all-terrain-mine resistant ambush-protected vehicles (M-ATVs) in Afghanistan meant to survive roadside bombs, the fuel consumption will likely rise even higher, since those vehicles are considered gas-guzzlers.

Right. We’ve got our super-fuel-efficient vehicle fleet in there now, the Marines are telling us. But watch out–we’re bringing in the “gas-guzzlers”.

The President and the Congress have some real explaining to do. They need to explain to all those American families, millions and millions of them, how we can afford $200,000 dollar fill-ups for the military occupation of Afghanistan, but we can’t afford to reform our broken, corrupt, rip-off of a healthcare system here at home. I think our families want to hear that. I want to hear that. We all want to understand.

Filed under: Gasoline, Afghanistan, Health Care Reform, Insanity

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