Thursday, 21 July 2016

No Power or Water

If you follow military news....ever since Friday night's coup episode in Turkey....they've had the power and water turned off at Incirlik Air Base (a joint American-Turk installation).

So, they've been running the main generator on base, and alternate generators at various significant sites around the base.  Significant parts of the mission are getting power.  The lesser significant points....like the barracks and base housing....no power.

In the summer period, with temperatures up around 95-degrees....it's a harsh deal.

No one from the Turkish side says anything much about this.  No timeline given for restoring power or water.

The base won't say how much water or fuel they have to keep running a mission.  My guess is that they probably have enough for three weeks....maybe four if they really stretch it.  If they ran some Berlin-airlift-like operation.....they could bring in some stocks of fuel and water each day to get by but the question is how long do you do something like this, and how far will the morale on base go after a couple of weeks of this?

Why?  My humble guess is that the Turks have added up everything and figured that it'd be ok if the Americans (and the Germans who are on the post as well) were to leave, on their own.  The Turks won't order them to leave, but they will make it harsh enough that the Americans will just pack up and go.  The Pentagon probably realizes this and is just shaking their heads. Three months.....six months....a year.....without power or electricity?

I've been on Incirlik a couple of times.....three months at one point.  It was one of those places that you really never wanted to be permanently stationed or spend a three-year tour there.  I almost regarded Honduras as one step below Incirlik, which ought to give the idea of daily life there.

The visiting quarters on Incirlik was a hotel for cockroaches mostly.  I checked in one day for a five-day TDY and probably killed forty cockroaches in the first hour.  I asked for another room, and killed twenty cockroaches upon entering it.  I ended up walking over to the BX....buying a can of cockroach spray, and spraying every inch of the room.

There were extreme rules on how to enter or exit the base.  If you didn't have permanent status, then you needed to have a pass to exit.

No matter where you went....everything was marginally working.

I had to go over to the airport one day to pick up some guy.....so I took a taxi.  As I sat down in the Turk taxi, I happened to notice a baseball size hole in the floor, and could observe the ground as we progressed.  The shocks were non-existent.....so you can guess how I felt at the end of a 15-minute ride.

I worked with a guy at Ramstein who was given a week-long TDY there and there were weather issues so he ended up landing at Ankara (about six hundred miles north of the base).  He looked at the situation and decided to just rent a car and drive down.  There were three folks in the group, so it made sense.  What the car rental guy didn't really say much about is that there are generally two ways of driving down.  One way was a generally decent two-lane road....and one was half-paved/half-chirt-rock (this one cut through some mountain pass and actually looked shorter on the map).  Naturally,, the Captain picked the marginal road.  What should have taken seven hours to drive, ended up around 16 hours.

 I can feel bad for these guys stationed there right now, and the reality of Sarge telling them that water and electricity might never be turned on again.  One might hope that the AF would give them some medal or something, but they don't have such a decoration for putting up with crappy living conditions.

The Trump/Pence Ticket

Election campaigns over the past hundred years in the US.....have delivered all kinds of odd pairings.  Most Presidential candidates would end up picking some key state's 'favorite' son, who was not really known in any of the other states, and the guy's two functions during the campaign was to hype up votes in his own state, and not do anything stupid.

Few remember these party tickets, or the upside/downside of picks for VP.

In terms of Trump and Pence?  I would make these four observations.

1.  Pence is a fairly competent guy, who can stand on his own in a debate.  He's not going to be some lightweight Dan Quayle-type character.  Befuddled journalists attempting to take him down in the debate with 200-word questions....will find that he's capable of throwing it back in their face.

2.  Pence probably will deliver Indiana to Trump via the Electoral College.  It's not a big deal but if things were kinda close, it might matter.

3.  My humble guess is that Trump mega-vetted Pence.  As much as some journalists will try to find tons of stuff to dump on Pence....it'll be things like he let his grass overgrow in the backyard, speeding tickets from the 1980s, and he likes watching ALF reruns when chilling out.

4.  For experience, you have a business executive and a governor.  In some ways, that's a positive.  It's not like digging up two senators for President and VP.

Next week, in Philly....the Democratic Convention will start up.  No one says that Hillary will announce her VP choice by this weekend.  Obviously, she ought to be down to the final three people by this point.

Another governor VP pick?  Unknown.

What has shocked me is the limited amount of trouble for the cops in Cleveland.  Will that play out as well in Philly?  Unknown.

On the positive side.....in about ten days....for those of you who really are fed up with politics constantly on TV for the past year....you might get a couple of weeks of marginal politics, before the campaigns really start to take off in late August.