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‘To watch the courageous freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom. Their courage teaches us a great lesson-that there are things in this world worth defending. To the Afghan people, I say on behalf of all Americans that we admire your heroism, your devotion to freedom, and your relentless struggle against your oppressors.’ U.S. President Ronald Reagan – March 21, 1983.
May God keep you away from the venom of the cobra, the teeth of the tiger, and the revenge of the Afghans. ~ Alexander the Great (356 BC-323 BC).
The departure of American troops from Afghanistan is being lamented as a defeat. Yet, for war profiteers the 20 year occupation of Afghanistan was a triumph. : Not from the point of view of the US military arms making complex and the political elite who invested in war. For them, the Afghan occupation has been a thunderous success. Trillions of taxpayer dollars have flowed through their budgets and profits over the two decades in which in despite public cynicism and disapproval they successfully maintained the operation.
The truth of this was forcefully brought home by a mid-level staffer attending a meeting of senior generals discussing the Afghan mini-surge back in 2018. He says they were agreed that the move would make absolutely no difference to the war, ‘but it will do us good at budget time’.
Col. John Boyd, the former Air Force fighter pilot: ‘People say the Pentagon does not have a strategy,’ he said. ‘They are wrong. The Pentagon does have a strategy. It is: ‘Don’t interrupt the money flow, add to it.’’
Less than one month before NATO’s departure a Press despatch: ‘We were sending the Afghan air force 37 UH-60 helicopters. A reminder of the war’s real, squalid history, so tragic for so many Afghans, so profitable for some Americans.
A new UH-60 costs some $12 million, so this parting gift amounts to around $450 million, a not inconsiderable addition to the $3.3 billion already budgeted for support of Afghan security forces over the next year, though a mere drop in the bucket compared to the overall $2.26 trillion tabs for our two-decade campaign. The military hardware paid for by US taxpayers was indirectly gifted to the Taliban and will now likely end up in Iran.
Great news for politician and the ruling elite’s investors in the Lockheed Martin Corporation, owners of the helicopters’ manufacturer, Sikorsky. The aircraft will join 53 UH-60s already dispatched to the Hindu Kush in recent years.
The Afghans had been well able to look after the helicopters they had previously flown the Russian MI-17, a simple, rugged machine on which local pilots and mechanics had decades of experience. It also had the benefit of being able to operate in the higher parts of the mountainous country, which the UH-60, deficient in altitude, is quite unable to do. The Iranians possibly the Chinese will happily send in their aircraft specialists.
For some years, the US Army had sensibly purchased overhauled Russian helicopters at a cost of $4.5 million each to pass on to the Afghans. Sadly, for taxpayers, the deal went crooked when the army colonel running the program, Norbert Vergez, entered into corrupt dealings Russian middlemen to jack up the price.
Vergez pleaded guilty to a ‘conflict of interest’. He received a judicial slap on the wrist and the US Army transferred the contract to Sikorsky/Lockheed. The media censored scandal was one of many investigated by John Sopko, who, as Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction.
‘It was a disaster ready to happen, and it happened,’ he told me a few years into the job. ‘We wasted a lot of money. It wasn’t that people were stupid, and it wasn’t that people didn’t care; it’s just the system almost guarantees failure.’
As example he pointed to a plastic model of a twin-engine transport plane, an Italian G-222, sitting on his windowsill. Twenty of these had been bought for the Afghans at a cost of $500 million. ‘They were the wrong plane for the country, the altitude, the weather. The Afghans couldn’t be trained on them.’ Unable to fly, they had been abandoned as soon as they arrived. Sopko had come across them on the edge of Kabul airport, ‘rusting, with trees growing through them’. No one, he said, had been fired or even disciplined for this initiative, or for any of the similarly blatant examples of corruption. ‘I doubt that anyone missed a promotion or even a bonus. Welcome to my world.’
Few people realize that much of the time, the war itself was paid for by a bonus, an add-on to the main Pentagon budget in the form of a special fund for ‘Overseas Contingency Operations’, money duly appropriated to the military for actually fighting this and other ongoing wars, rather like a police department charging extra for catching criminals.
As the years passed, the Pentagon began quietly diverting its ‘war budget’ to funding new weapons programs. That year it was acknowledged that $98 billion of the OCO money is for routine ‘base requirements’, rather than fighting abroad.
Even for hardened scrutineers of US defense-spending excesses. The exploding price tags of the Obama nuclear bequest are eye-watering. The first of 12 new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines is now slated to cost just over $15 billion, an increase of $637 million in the last year alone marking the first time a submarine has cost more than a 100,000-ton aircraft carrier.
A 2018 investigation by the Washington watchdog group Project on Government Oversight found that from 2008 to 2018 at least 380 high-ranking department officials and military officers became lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for defence contractors within two years of taking off their uniforms.
James Mattis, to take one prominent example, retired as a four-star Marine general, ascended to the board of leading defence contractor General Dynamics where he served for three years, taking home $900,000 in compensation, then spent two years as Trump’s defence secretary, after which he returned to the General Dynamics board.
Lloyd Austin, the current Secretary of Defense, garnered as much as $1.7 million worth of stock as a director of Raytheon, the nation’s second-largest defense contractor, in the four years between retiring from the army and assuming his current august post, along with other lucrative positions in the defense business.
Each time the US military withdraws commentators’ harangue that the occasion might be marked by a respite from gargantuan defense budgets. Even when the core justification for America’s entire defense effort, the Soviet Union utterly collapsed in 1991, the budget faltered only briefly before resuming its upward climb.
A sophisticated examination of US defense-spending statistics since the end of the Korean War by former Pentagon analyst Franklin Spinney has revealed an intriguing pattern: overall, the ‘defence’ budget has grown at a steady rate overall of 5 percent a year. Yet, every time the number has sunk below that trend, a fearsome ‘threat’ such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, China, Iran, etc. has appeared right on cue to justify remedial action.
It should come as no surprise therefore that as American forces exit Afghanistan, calls from the defense campaign for a boost of, yes, 5 percent in defense spending is growing louder.
Although the Russian bear is still pressed into service for old times’ sake, the People’s Republic of China has now stepped forward in a starring role as a foe guaranteed to endure for many budget cycles to come.
As a foretaste, the US Navy has sold the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, reminiscent in some ways of the recently departed Overseas Contingency Operations boondoggle, a package of demands for extra spending to thwart the Middle Kingdom’s designs in the Pacific Ocean amounting to at least $27 billion over the next five years.
Testifying in support of the initiative this last March, Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of the Indo-Pacific Command, spoke ominously of a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan in the near future, and the commensurate need to spare no effort, and of course no money, in standing firm against their aggressive designs.
NOTE: WORLD WAR II the war profiteers raked in $933 every time blood was spilt anywhere in the world. Every time an American fell in battle the Wall Street tills rang up $52,000 blood profits. Big Tech is censoring us. FOLLOW MY BLOG) to continue getting our news.
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MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of RISE OF THE SUN WHEEL, EUROPE ARISE, TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROES, MEGACAUST, DEATH OF A CITY, WITNESS TO HISTORY, MY LAST TESTAMENT LET GOD JUDGE ME, THE BUSINESS BOOSTER , THE FIFTH COLUMN VOLUME I and II, FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, IMMORTAL BELOVED, THE ALL LIES INVASION, INSPIRE A NATION Volume I, INSPIRE A NATION Volume II , SLAUGHTER OF A DYNASTY , REICH AND WRONG, THE RED BRIGANDS, RANSACKING THE REICH, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS , SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD REICH VOLUME III Porcelain and Reich Sculptors, The Exiled Duke Romanov Who Turned Desert Into Paradise , THE DOVETAILS , SEX FEST AT TIFFANY’S , THE AMOROUS GHOST AND ENCOUNTERS and other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.
MICHAEL WALSH is an Irish British-born journalist. His 70 books include best-selling historical books THE ALL LIES INVASION, MY LAST TESTAMENT LET GOD JUDGE ME, WITNESS TO HISTORY, TESTIGO DE LA HISTORIA: HISTORIA SIN CENSURA (SPANISH EDITION), REICH AND WRONG, HEROES HANG WHEN TRAITORS TRIUMPH , HEROES OF THE REICH, THE HOLY BOOK of ADOLF HITLER, THE FUHRER’S PROCLAMATION TO THE GERMAN PEOPLE , FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, MEGACAUST, THE RED BRIGANDS, RANSACKING THE REICH, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS , SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD REICH VOLUME III Porcelain and Reich Sculptors, and DEATH OF A CITY.
MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, author, and broadcaster. His 70 books include best-selling RHODESIA’S DEATH EUROPE’S FUNERAL, AFRICA’S KILLING FIELDS, THE LAST GLADIATORS, A Leopard in Liverpool, RISE OF THE SUN WHEEL, EUROPE ARISE, FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, THE ALL LIES INVASION, INSPIRE A NATION Volume I, INSPIRE A NATION Volume II, and many other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers. Click REAL HISTORY.
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