What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Airlift

I'm not really interested in tracing the backlash in terms of Germany-bashing in reaction to this article. This is, of course, the story that would quite expectably work as a magnet for stark criticism. Germany is lifting a lot of beer for its troops in Afghanistan. I can't really say if this is bad in itself, but it's certainly, possibly, interesting to ponder the volume lifted.
WaPo says it was about 260,000 gallons of beer last year and 18,000 gallons of wine.
Counting in US liquid gallons, that would be 984,100 litres of beer, plus 68,130 litres of wine - I hope I'm correct.
That's still not near the Berlin airlift: there about 4,500 tons of daily cargo was delivered at one point. But what sort of comparison is that to make?
It's a lot of beer and a lot of wine to take there, anyway. People use that to have some fun in a faraway place where they would not have gone if it would have been up to them in the first place. Leaving behind friends and family like that, for those for whom that is the case, is rather difficult, when you go somewhere where you will hardly be able to leave your base. And when you do, you might be in danger.
How should this be judged? What would be better in terms of beer/wine policy? I'm totally puzzled by these questions. There's a major downside to every single point of view I can imagine here.

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