Opinion (Michael T Klare): The wars that oil the Pentagon's engine
Sixteen US gallons - more than 60 liters - of oil. That's how much the average American soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan consumes on a daily basis - either directly, through the use of Humvees, tanks, trucks and helicopters, or indirectly, by calling in air strikes.
Multiply this figure by 162,000 American soldiers in Iraq, 24,000 in Afghanistan, and 30,000 in the surrounding region (including sailors aboard US warships in the Persian Gulf) and you arrive at about 13.25 million liters of oil: the daily petroleum tab for US combat operations in the Middle East war zone.
Multiply that daily tab by 365 and you get 4.9 billion liters: the estimated annual oil expenditure for US combat operations in Southwest Asia. That's greater than the total annual oil usage of Bangladesh, population 150 million - and yet it's a gross underestimate of the Pentagon's wartime consumption.
Such numbers cannot do full justice to the extraordinary gas-guzzling expense of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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