In what some on Capitol Hill are calling an outrage, the Pentagon announced plans to purchase 21 Mi-17 Russian helicopters from Rosoboronexport. With a taxpayer price tag of $375 million, the purchase of Russian made helicopters will be completed over the next 4 years. Worse yet is that they announced a contingency plan to purchase additional helicopters worth $550 million.
Although US taxpayers are buying these helicopters, they are not for us. They are for Afghanistan to help build up their fleet of the Russian made helicopters.
As it turns out, Rosoboronexport is also doing business with the Syrian government who is purchasing weapons from them to be used on their own people. In what some are calling an official civil war, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been attacking and killing thousands of his own people. Al-Assad is not only attacking the opposition forces in his country, but he has repeatedly attacked women and children and in some cases lined them up for assassination, as what took place in the city of Houla where 108 were murdered.
The Defense Department is justifying their actions saying that they are buying the helicopters for Afghanistan and not for Syria. They are also denying some accusations claiming that the DOD and the Obama administration are not pressing the arms to Syria issue too hard as they have been negotiating with Russia on a northern route into Afghanistan.
Sen John Cornyn (R-TX) expressed his outrage of the deal in a letter he sent Monday to Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense. In the letter, Cronyn wrote,
"I remain deeply troubled that the DoD (Department of Defense) would knowingly do business with a firm that has enabled mass atrocities in Syria.”
"Such actions by Rosoboronexport warrant the renewal of US sanctions against it, not a billion-dollar DoD contract."
The only thing I’ve seen the Obama administration do in relation to Syria was when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Russia of sending more attack helicopters and weapons to Assad and then lying about it. But she hasn’t followed through with any action to stop them or to stop the genocide taking place in Syria.
I can’t help but recall the words of Mitt Romney, when he referred to the Obama administration, as having a ‘policy of paralysis’ concerning Syria and I have to agree with him. I also have to agree with Sen Cornyn is wondering why we are awarding nearly $1 billion in contracts to the very company that is supplying arms to a tyrannical dictator who is using them to murder his women and children? This is an outrage that every one of us needs to express to our Congressman/woman and Senator. Washington needs to step in and stop this action.
At a time when our own country is facing a financial crisis, can’t pay our own bills and we still have millions of Americans out of work, why are we spending a $1 billion of our tax dollars on Afghanistan helicopters? To begin with, I don’t believe we should be giving them any of our money when we don’t have it to give. Wouldn’t it make more sense to put that $1 billion towards our national debt? If we are obligated to provide helicopters to Afghanistan, then award the $1 billion contract to a US company to supply US made helicopters to Afghanistan? Think of how that could help out our economy and help put some Americans to work. Yes, I know that Afghanistan already has a fleet of Russian helicopters and that some of this contract is for parts to repair and maintain that fleet, but let them buy their own spare parts from Russia and keep the taxpayer dollars here at home where it is desperately needed.