WASHINGTON — A contract solicitation for thousands of Port-a-John bathroom facilities to be placed into Syria could be the clearest indicator yet of U.S. military escalation in the region.
For years, military analysts have pored over documents and imagery to make predictions. Much like imagery showing North Korean missiles being fueled could mean an impending nuclear test, the shipment of Port-a-Johns to a war zone likely signals an influx of conventional US ground troops, experts say.
“When you’ve got this much military shitter hardware headed downrange, it’s pretty much a guarantee that something big is about to go down,” said Kevin Inglewood, an analyst for the Rand Corporation.
In a document obtained by Duffel Blog dated Apr. 3, 2017, the military calls for bathrooms and maintenance for the facilities, which it refers to interchangeably as “head, outdoor” or “masturbation room, field.” The Port-a-Johns, the contract notes, would be placed in various areas in and around Raqqa, Syria, the so-called capital of the Islamic State.
The US military footprint in Syria has been increasing in recent months. Although the Pentagon had previously placed only special operations forces inside the country under President Obama, it has since deployed conventional forces consisting of infantry and artillery units to support partner forces on the ground and play spades all day.
Besides bathroom facilities, the Pentagon has also quietly moved other materiel to the area that could further signal a troop increase. These include hundreds of thousands packs of Pine cigarettes, a large number of copies of Microsoft PowerPoint software, and shipping containers filled to the brim with Green Beans Coffee.