Gen. Petraeus Not Ruling Out Bringing Burger King Back To Afghanistan

A few months back, our men and women stationed overseas in Afghanistan lost a little piece of home when the U.S. military announced they were closing most fast food operations on the bases in Bagram and Kandahar. But now that the reins have been handed over from Gen. McChrystal to Gen. Petraeus, Stars & Stripes is reporting that our soldiers may get their Whoppers back!

The publication put the question to Petraeus: Will Burger King, Pizza Hut and other ousted food outlets be allowed to return?

And while the General didn’t reply directly to Stars & Stripes, his spokesman reported back that “Gen. Petraeus said with a smile that ‘all options are on the table.’”

That’s not exactly a crystal-clear answer, but it’s much different than the “This is a war zone — not an amusement park” line the military was giving back in early April.

Will the Burger King at Kandahar re-open? [Stars & Stripes]

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  1. coren says:

    And what’s the taxpayer cost to get them reinstituted, and how much are they gonna foot of the bill of supply shipping? Will they provide money (or vehicles) for this so troop supplies aren’t disrupted? I seem to remember these being the big concerns, so I’m hoping there’s a plan to address them.

    • mmbb says:

      I was about to ask the same thing, coren, but between the time it took me to read your comment and then sign in, I came up with an answer:
      less than 5¢ per taxpayer.

      sure, there are more worthy things to spend all of those accumulated nickles on, and sure, nickels add up, but… To what address do I mail my nickel to bring Whoppers to the troops? (that’s my plan to address your issues).

      • common_sense84 says:

        That is ridiculously expensive. A nickel per taxpayer.

        But if they have to be over there, it’s a necessity. If we are going to be upset over the cost of war, we need to stop the war and bring everyone back.

    • wiggie2gone says:

      The military dosen’t haul anything for them. They hire locally or non american workers (usually from the Phillipines). They truck stuff in with there own vehicles from the airport but they get there supplies from planes that are owned by Fed Ex or DHL.

      • Tim says:

        [citation needed]

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        I hate to say you are wrong……..but, you are wrong. http://www.life.com/image/50857294 Unless that is a FedEx/DHL C-17 Globemaster III the BK tractor trailer is driving out of. Also, according to the military, THEY have been escorting the deliveries of supplies.

        “LTC Michael T. Lawhorn, public affairs officer with ISAF, pointed out that with the concession closures, an estimated 60 less shipping containers per month will be transported into Afghanistan, which will require fewer Soldiers on the roads providing security, and less fuel flown in for convoy trucks.

        “Supplying nonessential luxuries to big bases like Bagram and Kandahar makes it harder to get essential items to combat outposts and forward operating bases, where troops who are in the fight each day need to be resupplied with ammunition, food and water,” CSM Michael T. Hall, the command sergeant major of ISAF, wrote on his blog. “

  2. AndroidHumanoid says:

    I know this is complete junk food. But you have no idea how happy this will make the troops.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      Have you any idea how many calories, especially in the form of fat, are in just one MRE? MREs are probably the reason I no longer have a gallbladder. I remember the year before I was to have it removed, I was in Haiti, and the only MREs that didn’t give me the worst case of acid reflux were chicken a la king and tuna with noodles. Fortunately, these were the least popular entrees by far, and I could always find someone to trade with me.

  3. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    What I find most disturbing is that between the NSA,CIA,Army Corp of Engineers, SeaBee’s, etc… the US Government can not figure out how a Whopper is made, and how to make one themselves. Instead, we find our troops relying on Foreign Fry Oil. We need to reduce and eventually eliminate our dependence on Foreign Fries.

    • NewsMuncher says:

      My deployed person says he can’t get real milk out there, but he can get calamari and fresh vegetables. He has no complaints about the food where he’s at — except the milk.

      Now, if they were to pipe in better water and built better shower facilities, that might garner a strong response from our men and women out there.

      But then again, it’s war. We aren’t there to build resorts for our folks. We just want to do the job and bring them back home without them suffering needlessly in the process, so that when they come home they are healthy, soul, mind and body.

      • TouchMyMonkey says:

        Yes, it’s war, not vacation. It’s a war zone, not a resort. Still, if we can do these small things to make their day to day lives suck a little bit less, we ought to do them and stop bitching about it.

  4. fuceefacee says:

    Suck in that gut…soldier!!!!

  5. teqjack says:

    Good.

    Military and other institutional food is usually fair to good, but not something to look forward to. A so-called “junk food” meal once a week can be.

  6. blag says:

    Little things like these touches of home make a world of difference to soldiers far away in foreign countries. They deserve this.

    I just want to mention, Burger King is the only fast food joint to offer a veggie burger. I love BK for that reason. It’s so easy to do; why can’t more fast food places have this choice??

    • mmbb says:

      the only mcdonald’s that i’ve had in the last 30 years was in the czech republic, and it was vegetarian. so, no, burger king isn’t the only one… (travel more!)

      • koalabare says:

        You come off as a douche.

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          Yes, a major douche. And remember, he was talking about the Czech Republic. Non-US McDonald’s restaurants around the world offer some special item for the benefit of the local population. In Germany, for example, they serve beer. In Central America, they have fried chicken. I heard they serve sushi in Japan. Just because it’s not on the menu in the USA doesn’t mean it isn’t on the menu elsewhere, and vice versa.

    • Snoofin says:

      other restaurants dont have veggie burgers because they taste nasty to anyone who isnt a vegan and they dont sell enough of them to keep them in stock. They usually go bad from sitting too long

    • smo0 says:

      Agreed. Veggie burgers sells me if I ever have fast food (which is rare.)

  7. Fantoche_de_Chaussette says:

    If you’re in a war zone because you have to be, that’s one thing.

    But if you’re in a war zone to run a freaking Burger King, you’re going to feel really silly the first time there’s incoming rocket fire.

    It’s criminally immoral to invite civilian employees to risk their lives for such utter frivolities.

    • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

      They are made well aware of what it is they’re going to do. Civilian employees are also pretty well protected AND their movements regulated. A fast food worker will probably never, ever leave base- as they shouldn’t. Also, they are certainly paid well enough for their work, and if they stay a year it’s tax-free.

      • Fantoche_de_Chaussette says:

        Incoming rocket and mortar fire doesn’t really care if you leave the base or not — it comes to you.

        Informed consent and generous pay don’t give the US military a moral pass to stupidly and unnecessarily expose civilians to danger; we’re literally putting these civilians in danger for our troops’ amusement. The fact that many of these civilians are recruited from the Third World, where risking their lives for US minimum wage might seem like a great deal, makes this whole business even more morally repellent.

        • Kitamura says:

          I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but in some of these places you can get shot by looking at someone the wrong way or wearing the wrong clothing. Working in a place that only might be hit by mortar fire or RPGs might actually be a step up in safety for some of them.

        • Pandrogas says:

          It’s not like they’re being blindfolded and airdropped into the country without knowing where they are. I’m pretty certain they know they’re going to Afghanistan. If you want to debate morality, try answering the question of why we’re still there fighting a war when we don’t know how or when it ends?

          I’m less concerned about a few civilians than I am about getting all of our people out of there.

    • Peter Nincompoop says:

      While I agree it’s ridiculous to put civilians in harms way, do you have any idea how well fortified these bases are? Once you enter the first perimeter of a military base, you’re still about 30 miles (on all sides) – and several checkpoints – from the heart of the base, where all the action takes place. While it’s feasible that a rocket can make its way onto the base, the odds of that happening compounded with the odds that it will actually strike a human are about slim to none. The rockets the insurgents are using are better used on unprotected targets, such as vehicles.

      • Fantoche_de_Chaussette says:

        The rocket attacks on the base aren’t a big deal. Unless they happen to kill you.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        These types of facilities are also big boosts to the local economies. I served in the Balkans in the mid-1990′s and our big bases hired hundreds of local civilians to work at the PX, laundry, mess hall, etc.

  8. TouchMyMonkey says:

    Well, I think Gen. Petraeus better understands the operational value of such morale-boosters. Take all that stuff away, and the troops get the feeling things are getting worse, that we’re not turning the corner, etc., and that has got to have an effect on performance.

    • shibblegritz says:

      So are we supposed to attach hamburger units to each company?

      I can just see it now …

      “Yeah, I served in the ‘Stan … 405th Regimental Hamburger Team. Got this here purple heart when a prisoner got hold of some water, dumped it in the fryer. Sprayed me but good. Hurt for two weeks.”

      Seriously … war isn’t about feel-good happy times. If we have to serve our troops fast food to get them to fight, we’re doomed. I think part of the reason why the previous command sought to eliminate this stuff was to toughen up the troops and remind them that Afghanistan is a war zone, not a cushy assignment back home.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        When I served in the Balkans in the 1990′s, the idea of having a hot shower, a movie, a real bed, clean socks, and even a whopper or a slice of pizza every few months was a huge morale booster. I’m sure the guys in the field in Afghanistan count down the days to they get some R&R at the MWR facilities back on base.

  9. Kibit says:

    My brother couldn’t get calamari or fresh veggies, heck he could barely get canned veggies, and the milk was a joke.He was always so happy when the PX would stock cranberry juice.

    The fast food they had was more consistent and better tasting with fresher ingredients then the chow hall food. And on many occasions, easier to get to.

    If the government would provide our soldiers with fresher, higher quality food, they wouldn’t need to rely on the fast food. The only time they had decent to good food was on some holidays and when someone higher up on the food chain stopped in for a visit.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      mess hall == cafeteria. When have you ever seen anything good in a cafeteria? Cafeteria food sucks almost by definition. It wouldn’t matter how good the cooks were at making what they get to cook taste good, you will still want to go to BK because it’s different. We don’t want the same old thing every day. That’s why we have this cultural thing called cuisine. If it didn’t matter, we would all eat the nutritionally-optimized equivalent of Meow Mix.

  10. BradenR says:

    Anything to lend assistance to the opposition, I quess. Let Burger King kill of the troops which should save the other side some money.

  11. Tim says:

    Right, because the war in Afghanistan was going swimmingly up until we took Burger King out.

  12. Pryde987 says:

    I’m glad our generals are busy addressing the lack of Burger King in a war zone as opposed to the percentage of women who are sexually harassed or raped by these ‘heroes.’

    Anyway, more junk food isn’t the answer. With soldiers possessing so very much disposable income, I view these places as predatory. They’re no better than the Blue Hippo-type places trying to milk the soldiers for all they’re worth financially. We need to improve the diet of our servicepeople. If school lunches are the greatest threat to our incoming recruits, then what the fuck is a Burger King on base?

  13. Peter Nincompoop says:

    Sounds all fine and good until you consider that about 5% of the troops have regular access to these eateries. The vast majority of the soldiers stationed on bases that have fast food restaurants on them have one thing in common: they become fat asses. When I came back from the middle of nowhere Afghanistan when my tour was over, you would have thought that the guys stationed on base were sent there as part of a fat camp. The running joke was that if the guys had to do a tour in the middle of the desert for a year, they’d probably die from deep-fried withdrawal. Somebody I was friendly with who I had shipped out with over a year earlier was stationed on a base and he had gained over 20 lbs, by his own admission, because he ate fast food at least once a day.

    It would be one thing if the fast food joints were open only a day or two a week to limit access, but you can pretty much walk right up to one any time you want to and order whatever you want. When it comes to choosing between army food and BK, guess what the vast majority is going to pick? The money being spent to operate this garbage can be better spent, say on functional armor and everyday necessities such as med supplies and water filtration systems.

  14. PencilSharp says:

    You can easily tell the difference between vets and non-vets in this thread…

    Hailing back to Desert Storm (yes, I’m dating myself; it’s not like anyone else would), being stationed five miles east of Boonefark, Saudi Arabia, one of the things we GIs looked forward to were the gut trucks. Some enterprising Saudi national would stop by a KFC (never did see an actual KFC restaurant anywhere in the Middle East…) and buy a buttload of 2-piece combos, complete with sides and a biscuit. Our guards would spot this dude coming from two miles away (he knew to kick up as much dust as possible to announce his approach) and radio the news in.
    Man, it was like watching a bunch of kids swarming a Good Humor truck. Five bucks a box (in 1990 dollars, BTW) would score you some lukewarm, but damn tasty, KFC. Oddly enough, though we all joked about it, fewer of us got sick from “Kentucky Colonel Achmed” than from the MREs.

    So, for everybody kvetching about the on-base fast food joints…
    1. Morale is a bear in a combat zone. You do NOT want to remove perks and pleasures from guys stomping onto base with ten pounds of sand in their boots.
    2. We are not talking about Burger King Inc, et al. These are franchised AAFES facilities, and are operated without expense to taxpayers (warning: PDF; third paragraph under “Sales and dividends”), and they handle a lot more than just BK.

    In short, it costs you (el taxpayero) nada to provide these facilities, while AAFES uses pre-existing military routes for deliveries, adding very little cost to the DOD.

    Know before you blow. And knowing is half the battle…

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I completely agree. I joined right after Desert Storm and served throughout the Balkans as a infantry grunt, where we spent a lot of time out in the field. We’d literally count down the days until we’d get a few nights back at our major bases, where we had actual beds (cots), hot showers, hot meals and the ability to get a slice of pizza.

  15. EcPercy says:

    I have worked on most of the bases in Kuwait and I have worked in Iraq as well. (As a contractor) There are upwards of 20+ fast food restaurants on most of the bases.The size of the base dictates how many restaurants there are.

    Given the fact that most of the countries already have these fast food restaurants I would gather that the food is bought and shipped in locally to save as much as you can on shipping costs. In Kuwait most of the restaurants on the bases are owned by Kuwaiti’s as well so all of the upfront costs are paid for by the business owner as opposed to the American Taxpayer.

    On another note. It’s pretty sad when you see some of these soldiers and you are asking yourself if they are national guard or active duty due to their size… I think that they should just do away with all of the restaurants because they aren’t needed.

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/pictures/view/863184/

    The soldiers need to get themselves in proper shape so that they can be considered fit for duty and then we can talk about getting fast food brought back…

  16. Dallas_shopper says:

    Normally I support the troops getting whatever they need to do their jobs. Key word here: NEED. They don’t need Burger King. In fact, many of them really do NOT need fast food. With so many exemptions being given for being overweight and second and third chances being given to people who fail physical fitness exams, do we really need to HELP our military get fatter? Especially on our dime? Answer: no. Eat your MREs or local food. You’re on an overseas deployment, not at college or a fairground.

  17. shibblegritz says:

    Again, if a Republican were in the White House, y’all would be all over him for spending what you like to call “government” money to ship supplies to Afghanistan to be sold at profit to our warfighters, thereby enriching private corporations at the expense of vulnerable young men and women desperate for a taste of home.

    Me? If the chain of command thinks it can be done without jeopardizing the necessary flow of warfighting materials to Afghanistan, I’m happy for folks there to have a bit of home.

    Let’s just make sure those who spend most of their time at the forward bases get a taste of it from time to time.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      “Me? If the chain of command thinks it can be done without jeopardizing the necessary flow of warfighting materials to Afghanistan, I’m happy for folks there to have a bit of home. “

      That sounds like a very sound policy.

  18. IR1 says:

    Do you think they will open up a McDonald’s and start serving a new exclusive burger called the “McCrystal”??

  19. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    Better idea: bring our men and women home, and they can eat the hell out of a Whopper, with no cost to the taxpayer. Win-win.