As the Obama Administration objects to the Russian government selling attack helicopters to Syria in the midst of that civil war, another deal to buy the same Russian helicopters has surfaced: our own contract to buy Russian copters for the Afghan military from the same country. I share the disgust over Putin’s continued support for the Assad regime, but I am equally dismayed by Obama’s continuing to spend billions on the corrupt Karzai government to use in its own civil war.
Press secretary George Little insists that “We’re not buying helicopters for the Syrian regime. We’re buying helicopters in support of the Afghan Air Force.” That can be a precious distinction to some. However, I am more aggrieved by the fact that there is little debate over these contracts that continue to gush billions of dollars that are desperately needed at home to help with cash-strapped states and cities. In this one contract, we have agreed to buy 21 Mi-17 helicopters for Afghanistan from the Rosoboronexport company for $375 million by 2016, with an option to buy additional aircraft worth $550 million. The greatest irony is that not only will the money not go to American manufacturers but it will guarantee that future sales are likely to go to the Russians as these helicopters and existing helicopters require maintenance and spare parts.
I cannot express how frustrating it is to see our leaders continuing to spend such money in a war that the majority of Americans no longer support and in a country where anti-American sentiments are growing and whole areas are now back in the hands of the Taliban. We continue to spend huge amounts of money on this corrupt regime as we roll back on educational, scientific, and environmental programs. It is perfectly insane.