Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Pentagon Now Buying Helicopters From Russia - For The Afghan Air Force!

Every time you think the Obama Administration has hit bottom when it comes to ridiculous nonsense, they surprise you by sinking to a new low. Get your mind around this...the Pentagon is using your tax dollars to buy helicopters from Russia - for the Afghan air force.

The Pentagon must pay Russia’s state- run arms trader to provide helicopters for Afghanistan’s air force even though the company also been has supplying Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with weapons to kill his own people, according to the Defense Department’s top policy official.

The U.S. Army has taken delivery of nine Russian-made MI-17 helicopters for the Afghans from Rosoboronexport under a $375 million contract issued in May 2011, with six more awaiting shipment and another six to be delivered by May 31, Acting Undersecretary for Policy James Miller said in a previously undisclosed March 30 letter to lawmakers. The U.S. has an option to buy an additional 12 Russian helicopters for the Afghans, who have been flying them for 30 years.

“I share your concern that Rosoboronexport continues to supply weapons and ammunition to the Assad regime and acknowledge there is evidence that some of these arms are being used by Syrian forces against Syria’s civilian population,” Miller wrote Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, who’s led opposition to the contract in Congress.

The U.S. barred deals with Rosoboronexport from 2006 to 2010, citing its arms sales to nations including Iran and Syria as violating efforts to curb proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

In his letter to Cornyn, Miller sought to reconcile the Pentagon’s purchases from the Russian government arms company with the Obama administration’s pleas for nations and companies to stop doing business with Assad.

The Syrian angle aside - and that alone is a pretty large one in view of all the pious rhetoric and inaction from the Obama Administration - a few other questions come to mind. Why are we paying the Russians to build helicopters with U.S. tax dollars when we have American companies here that can do it, combined with an 'official' unemployment rate of over 8% nationally? Is building helicopters yet another one of those jobs Americans won't do? And if we are outsourcing this, why not to one of our allies, instead of to a nation that is in many ways hostile to us and our foreign policy aims?

And while we're on the subject, why do we need to subsidize the building of an Afghan air force anyway? Just like the shiny new armies we have built at U.S. expense for the 'Palestinians' and for the Iraqis, exactly what good is America going to get out of spending over a billion dollars to buy helicopters from Russia to give to the Afghans?

Dumb and dumber.


B.Poster said...

I'm no fan of the leadership of Barack Obama, however, in this case this may be the right decision. You see from continuing operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world over the last ten plus years our military has been worn down to the point where even basic national defense is problematic.

At this time, our main goal here is, at it should be, a face saving withdrawl. Furthermore the Afghan government and its puppet masters in Pakistan don't like us very much either. Neither does the populace of these countries. As such, they can't be seen using or buying American made weapons.

The best option for achieving our goals here, at this time, may be selling them Russian made weapons. I certainly don't think the Russians are going to sell them their state of the art helicopters that could be used against them at some point. If we sold them our own stuff, at some point this might be used against us. Also, Russia is the dominant power in the region. Having them use Russian weapons reflects this reality. Besides how might Russia react to us selling the Afghans US made weapons? Probably not well.

It is conceivable if handled properly this could help in the "reset" in Russian relations we are striving for. Unfortunately I don't think the Administration is up to the task of handling this properly, as they don't understand the nature of the enimity. In this case, we are not dealing with something rational for the basis. The Russians are embittered becasue they lost Cold War I. Not only this but at its height the Soviet Union was far stronger than America. As such, this serves to "rub salt into the wound" so to speak. Once the nature of the enimty is understood, we can begin to address it. Until then it is going to be problematic at best.

Now sense our main goal at this time is a face saving withdrawl, the media needs to think twice before they a.)report on misconduct of US troops without taking the context into consideration or b.)disclose the nature of delicate negotiations between us and the Taliban. Such actions undermine the mission and place the lives of American troops and the lives of American civilians in even graver peril than they already are. Perhaps proving their anti-American bonafides is more important than any of this.

In the case of the Palestinians, I only hope we got access to and training from the Palestinians in their war fighting tactics. Somehow I doubt the Palestinians shared that information with us. It seems unwise to reveal your tactics or to supply weapons to a bitter enemy like the Palestinians.

Finally, due to the dilapidated nature of US military assets and our severe lack of the appropiate industrial base to build these things in sufficient quantity or quality any military equipment such as helicopters or any thing else we can make for the foreseeable future will be needed right here in America. Building them to be sold to someone else or for the use of someone eise is an unwise use of these precious and limited resources.

Rob said...

..the Afghan government and its puppet masters in Pakistan don't like us very much either. Neither does the populace of these countries. As such, they can't be seen using or buying American made weapons.

Poster, where do you think the majority of the weaponry and equipment that shiny new Afghan army we're building is using comes from? And what about the Pakistani air force's F-16's? All U.S. stuff...

My question is, why not sell them American made second rate stuff if that's the rationale ( which I don't think it is)? And for that matter, why should we spend U.S. tax dollars for the Afghans to have helicopters?

That will make three armies we will have built in Muslim areas where, as you say,they don't like us very much. Is there any rationale for doing so that's in America's interest? I don't think so.

B.Poster said...

I strongly suspect the Afghans and the Pakistanis are phasing out the use of American made weapons. If I understand our situation, then I'm sure they do.

Furthermore, they are not going to want our second rate stuff when they can get better stuff elsewhere. They can get better stuff elsewhere.

I agree that US tax dollars should not be spent to buy helicopters for Afghanistan. Essentially our infrastructure is crumbling, our military has been worn down to the point where even basic national defense is problematic, and for all practical purposes the country is bankrupt. All tax dollars will need to be spent right here for the foreseeable future.

The current policy is likely formulated with the goals of a face saving withdrawl and an attempted reset of relations with Russia. I don't think it will work because the American government does not appear to understand the nature of Russian or Islamic enemity towards us. As such, its likely a bad policy.

I agree that building armies in Muslim areas is a bad idea. It makes little sense to arm people who don't like and reveal any of your tactics to them. Besides we need to build a shiny new army for us. With our limited manufacturing capability and the limited availablity of properly trained personnel to work in manufacturing industries as well as the financial difficulties we have any money or weapons manufacturing capacity will need to be spent building our own military.

Rob said...

Hi Poster,
Respectfully, I believe you're simply wrong on this one.

1)The Pakistanis and Afghans are not 'phasing out American made weapons' because there is always an unlimited demand for free stuff. And if you do your research, you'll find out they're asking for more!

2)"Furthermore, they are not going to want our second rate stuff when they can get better stuff elsewhere. They can get better stuff elsewhere." See point one.

3) As usual, you seem to have an inaccurate idea of the capabilities of the U.S. military. I assure you, if things were as bad as you say,you'd be desperately trying to learn the rudiments of Russian or Chinese right now.

4) As to why this Pentagon contract went to a Russian firm,there probably was a payoff to someone involved in terms of a 'sales commission' or 'special import tax'..either to someone in the Afghan government in exchange for something else we wanted, to someone in DC or to both.

B.Poster said...

Hopefully we are getting something in exchange for the "free stuff" that we are supposedly giving to them. Surely we are not that stupid but then again with the current incompetent boobs who are running things we just might be that stupid!!

I'm sure there are others who would or could use whatever they are giving us in exchange for the so called "free stuff." As such, they can get the "free stuff" elsewhere and we would lose out on whatever it is we are getting.

It could be a case of we need their cooperation more than they need to cooperate with us. In any event, they will likely phase out American arms purchases, if they have not begun to do more.

If they are asking for more, this may be becuase they know we need something from them. In any event, we cannot supply them more. We barely have enough for our own needs. Who builds us a shiny new military?

As for point 3, the main thing holding it together is what is left of the nuclear deterrent. Unfortunately we've allowed this deterrent to deteroiate over the years while adversaries and potential adversaries have increased their capabilities in this area in recent years. Right now I think its simply a matter of timing and logistics for our adversaries and potential adversaries.

All of this can be reversed. It is not to late. Its going to need to begin with a proper deployment of our forces to give them a fighting chance of defending our country.

As for point 4 and as for something we wanted, I can think of several of things. A.)Information that might be used to prevent a major attack on our homeland, b.)payment of blackmail to someone so they would refrain from attacking our homeland, or c.)advanced tactical training from Muslim forces that would benefit our warriors. As for c, I doubt they are going to oblige, however, the payment of tribute to someone for not harming one or their interests has been quite common among nation states for centuries. This is likely what is at work here. Of course if corrupt leaders in America, Afghanistan, or elsewhere can make some money off of the deal somehow this is hardly surprising.

B.Poster said...

Sorry about the multiple posts here. In post # 2 on this thread, you ask why not spend American tax dollars doing this that is in America's interests. I would tend to agree that there is no justifiable American interests.

I think this may be explained by the concept of "special interests" that influence Congress and government agencies to promote certain policies. Sometimes the wishes of these special interests mesh nicely with the interests of America as a whole. Sometimes the special interests don't win out and they don't get their policies. Other times these interests win out when they take positions contrary to America's best interests and we end up with policies that don't represent American interests. In the case of using US tax dollars to buy helicopters for the Afghan military from Russia, this may be one of those times. I think this fits in with the point you are trying to make in point #4.

A bit off topic but Israel receives foreign aid from America along with military aid but the restrictions America generally places on how this aid is to be used greatly harms Israel's economic and security interests. Essentially if Israel did not have this aid they'd lose some support from the US but they'd have greater freedom to operate in a manner that would better serve their interests.

Also, Israel has a great deal to offer nations such as India and China just to name to. As such, any "aid" they lose from America might just be made up from trade with other nations. Essentially the current "special relationship" is a net negative for Israel and has been since at least 1990.

Why does Israel simply tell America "thanks but no thanks" for the "aid"? There's a polite way this could be done. Might this be a case of special interests over riding the national interests as it sometimes does here in America? Not being an Israeli I cannot say but just wondering.