Front page
Archive
Silflay Hraka?


Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

Email
bigwig AT nc.rr.com

Friends of Hraka
InstaPundit
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
ColdFury
Oceanguy
Fragments from Floyd
VodkaPundit
Allah
The Feces Flinging Monkey
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Sperari
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
ErosBlog
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Rantburg
AMCGLTD
WeckUpToThees!
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
Wizbang!
Bogieblog
ObscuroRant
RocketJones
The Greatest Jeneration
Ravenwolf
Ipse Dixit
TarHeelPundit
Blog On the Run
blogatron
Redwood Dragon
Notables
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
IMAO
Zonitics.com
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
HokiePundit
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
dcthornton.blog
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
IsraPundit
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Dustbury.com
tonecluster
Bo Cowgill
mtpolitics.net
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Hoplites
Jimspot
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Testify!
Northwest Notes
pseudorandom
The Blog from the Core
Ain'tNoBadDude
CroMagnon
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
Pdawwg
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Mercurial
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Foolsblog
Sasha Castel
Dodgeblogium
Susskins Central Dispatch
DoggerelPundit
Josh Heit
Attaboy
Aaron's Rantblog
MojoMark
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
Velociblog
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
DaGoddess
Single Southern Guy
Caerdroia
GrahamLester.Com
Jay Solo's Verbosity
TacJammer
Snooze Button Dreams
Horologium
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
Aimless
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Moxie.nu
Eccentricity
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
MonkeyWatch
Geekward Ho
Argghhh!!!
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
Fringe
The Biomes Blog
illinigirl
See What You Share
Truthprobe
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Consternations
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
ambivablog
Soccerdad
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
kschlenker.com
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Wizblog
tweedler
Pajama Pundits
BabyTrollBlog
Cadmusings
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

May 18, 2004

Afflicted with Boils

When it comes to disabling American soldiers, Iraqi sand flies are far more effective than the Iraqi insurgents are.

They bring with them "Baghdad Boil," a nasty disease, more properly known as cutaneous leishmaniasis. They go about their ghastly business of extracting a blood meal and laying its eggs in human skin. In the previous 12 months there have been over 650 cases of the disease. Poor planning, imprudent regulations and military incompetence mean the Boil will be worse this summer than it otherwise should.

There are no FDA-approved vaccines or medications available to prevent leishmaniasis. The only way to control the disease is by attacking its hosts, the sand flies. Spot use of DDT would dramatically reduce the number of cases, but there's a US government ban on the chemical, even though spot use is a technique light years away from the widespread spraying of DDT described by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring. Even without DDT, measures that could be taken weren't.

Although the inability to use DDT is annoying, the entomologists' largest frustration is that in some instances requests for insecticides last summer went unanswered for many months. The results were immediate. "We started seeing soldiers basically eaten alive, 1,000 bites a night in a handful of cases," said one military medic. It is incredibly hot in the desert in the summer and most soldiers sleep in shorts and nothing else, with their tent flaps wide open to keep the air flowing.

This isn't just a failure in pre-war planning for the post-war period. It's a failure in post-war logistical planning as well, not on the same level but similar to the German failure to equip its soldiers with winter coats during the 1941 invasion of Russia.

Once it was realized that US forces in Iraq were going to be larger and stay longer than originally planned, some process should have been started to supply that larger number of soldiers with the equipment needed for the environment around them--not only insecticide and AC tents, but body armor, the shortage of which was an issue last fall.

But this may not be the military's fault in the strictest of senses. A great deal of the logistics once handled internally has been outsourced to private firms, under the assumption that this practice is both more efficient and cheaper than handling logistics internally would be. Given the $20,000 expenditure per case of cutaneous leishmaniasis versus the cost of a can of insect repellent , this would seem to not be so, at least in the limited circumstances described in the article.

Yet the shortage of protective measures for the Baghdad Boil is remarkably similar to the earlier body armor controversy. One might argue that while one instance is easily explained away, two such are evidence of an incipient pattern. Should the disease keep debilitating our forces at its current rate, or if another shortage in basic equipment is detected, the logistical arrangements in Iraq might need to be re-examined.

Caveats:

1.) It's possible that the logistics dealing with AC tents and insect repellent are so bad because they haven't been privatized, rather than because they have. I'm unable to find information detailing that one way or another.

2.) There are over 130,000 troops in Iraq, yet there have been only 650 reported cases of leishmaniasis, giving the disease a roughly 0.48% infection rate among American troops. Given that many troops have been rotating out of the country during the past year, the true infection rate is almost certainly even lower.

Posted by Bigwig at May 18, 2004 12:37 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
Comments
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.









Remember personal info?