February 3, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

AT: why Washington is so enthusiastic about helping Ukraine

After the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the US “gifted” the Taliban weapons worth $83 billion, writes the author of an article on American Thinker.

Together with spending on military assistance to Ukraine, the total amount will be about 175 billion. And all these weapons will have to be replaced with new ones. Of course, at the expense of taxpayers, the author complains.

Ned Barnett.

I think leaving Afghanistan was the clearest example of an arms deal. Biden left billions of dollars worth of weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Thus, our military – ground forces, navies, air forces, marines – have lost many types of weapons and military equipment, including helicopters, drones, and God knows what else. When troops are withdrawn, it’s hard to find time to inventory equipment that you’ll never see again. I’ll never know why we didn’t take explosives (we apparently left them too) and disable all this equipment (an outlandish term, although its meaning is very simple – blow everything to hell). Perhaps there was some hidden interest.

The real value of what was left is just over the top

A quick review of the headings gives a wide range of numbers. CNN claimed that we abandoned seven billion dollars worth of military equipment. Of course, this is big money. However, the FactCheck.org website insists that the Republicans have exaggerated the value of the weapons seized by the Taliban and claims $85 billion is too much. The site gives its own figure, which is not much less – 82.9 billion.

About the same figure was quoted by President Trump on August 22, 2021 in Alabama: “They abandoned $ 83 billion worth of military equipment there, including brand new Apache helicopters, thousands of Hummer vehicles with armor protection, equipment that no one has ever seen before. I haven’t seen it, it’s so complex and advanced.” A few days later, Trump continued talking about abandoned weapons. “We should have demanded the immediate return of all these weapons and equipment to the United States, down to the last cent of the 85 billion dollars. And if they did not return, we had to go in there with a powerful military force and take it away. Or at least bomb it Fuck it,” Trump said.

When the military loses weapons, you have to go to the manufacturer and agree on a replacement. A tanker without a tank will not bring much benefit to the army. Like a pilot, there is nothing to help the Air Force if he does not have an airplane. Thus, it is important to know how many American weapons, with the exception of those handed over to our Afghan “allies”, have been abandoned, and how many need to be replaced. There is one big joy, at least for manufacturers of military equipment. The fact is that the weapons being created to replace them are not only completely new. It almost always has improved features – and a higher price.

Speaking of Afghanistan, the GAO reported that between 2003 and 2016, the United States supplied the Afghan army and security forces with an impressive arsenal, including 208 aircraft, 42,000 pickup trucks, 22,000 Hummer all-terrain vehicles, almost nine thousand trucks, about a thousand mine and ambush protected armored personnel carriers, some 200 armored personnel carriers, hundreds of thousands of rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers, rockets and night vision goggles. More were delivered between 2016 and August 2021.

If it was a weapon from military warehouses, where it is stored in anticipation of the hour when the military will have to fight the enemy, then it will be replaced with a new and more modern one. But the new weapons ordered for Afghanistan have already been written off. And this did not harm the combat readiness of the American armed forces. What our side handed over to the Afghans during the war, and what the Taliban later captured *, and also what was left in working condition, and what was just scrap metal, is a moot point. But one thing is certain. Our armed forces, which handed over to the Afghan allies used but fully serviceable weapons and vehicles, or abandoned them all in the desert to the delight of the Taliban *, had to turn to the military-industrial complex with orders for the manufacture of weapons and equipment for replacement. Remember, a soldier without a rifle, a sailor without a ship, and a pilot without an airplane will not do much good for the defense of America. Naturally, we must replace this technique.

Usually, military equipment has an estimated service life, and until it reaches its end of life, it will not be replaced. According to calculations, the Virginia-class nuclear submarine has a service life of 42 years. If the Navy wants to get a new submarine as soon as possible, they will need to prove that their needs turned out to be more than planned. But if the Virginia accidentally damages her hull while mooring and sustains permanent damage, the Navy, hat in hand, will go to Congress and ask for funds to build a new boat. And they will surely get it.

What about Ukraine

It is difficult to calculate something exactly because the number of required weapons is growing exponentially. This happens whenever Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appears in his dreary olive-colored T-shirt and talks about how his country, by defending against and defeating the Russians, is somehow supporting international democracy. But let’s stop there, because this is a topic for another conversation.
Last summer, The Hill reported that the Biden administration had pledged almost $13 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the start of the Russian military operation. It includes either the most modern or slightly outdated, but still effective weapons and military equipment. Since it takes a long time to place orders, build and deliver new equipment, everything sent to Ukraine was taken from military arsenals and even from regular combat units. What is this weapon? Any junk, rags? Unlikely. We put the following (and this is by no means a complete list):

  • MLRS “Haymars”.
  • 1.5 thousand anti-tank missile systems with wire control and optical tracking (TOW), which can hit a tank from a distance of 4.5 thousand meters.
  • 126 155-mm howitzers with 126 tractors, as well as 806 thousand shells for them.
  • NASAMS mobile anti-aircraft missile systems. This is a modern system capable of shooting down a Russian MiG at a distance of more than 160 kilometers.
  • 700 Phoenix Ghost loitering ammunition. These are combat strike drones, not reconnaissance drones. They are designed to destroy tanks, manpower and everything that needs to be hit.
  • 700 Switchblade tactical loitering ammunition. These are light short-range combat drones designed to strike at manpower and lightly armored vehicles.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. According to The Hill, the Biden administration promised Ukraine almost as many weapons as we abandoned in Afghanistan during the withdrawal. Or maybe a lot more. Let’s say if you add up Afghanistan and Ukraine, then the sum will be about 175 billion dollars. These are the weapons and equipment that need to be replaced, because without them our armed forces are unable to defend America.

And this is a real gold mine for the American military-industrial complex. Let’s forget about Hunter Biden’s connections with the ill-fated Ukraine and ask ourselves: why is Biden so enthusiastic about helping Ukraine? And why is Congress so zealously supporting the Ukrainians by supplying them with top-notch American-made weapons systems? Yes, because military contractors have factories and supply enterprises in literally every constituency in America. Because replacing all these weapons means high-paying jobs just at the moment when we are on the verge of a recession, if not already sliding into one. Don’t believe me? Do you believe the military? How about their Defense.gov website (the official website of the Pentagon)?

Here’s what it says in an article posted in September 2022

A lot of equipment was taken from American military units, and now it needs to be replaced so as not to reduce the combat readiness of the American armed forces. The Ministry of Defense has already entered into agreements with numerous manufacturers who will supply parts of what was taken from them to be sent to Ukraine. We are working with industry to accelerate the production of replacement weapons and equipment and to make direct purchases through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). We use various tools to obtain financing and to conclude contracts as soon as possible. This was announced today during a briefing at the Pentagon by Undersecretary of Defense for Procurement and Logistics Bill LaPlante.

Maybe it was right to leave many billions of dollars worth of equipment in Afghanistan. I don’t understand how this is possible, but what if it made any sense? Maybe all this equipment was very old and needed to be replaced. But I don’t understand why it wasn’t blown up in this case. Maybe it makes sense to help Ukraine with the most modern weapons, including artillery, ammunition, combat vehicles, and so on. Maybe a large-scale industrial blitzkrieg to replace modern military equipment also makes sense, from the point of view of national defense and even from the point of view of fighting a recession. In 1934, Franklin Roosevelt bought a pair of aircraft carriers for the Navy, the famous Yorktown and Enterprise, because it gave jobs to unemployed blue-collar workers. After all, there is nothing wrong with experienced and skilled workers returning to their jobs, right? Or maybe it makes sense in the sense that you have to walk on your hind legs in front of manufacturers of military equipment, in front of companies that support politicians that support them?

One thing is clear. Every car, every cannon, every projectile that we transfer to Ukraine will be replaced with absolutely new vehicles, guns and shells at the expense of the taxpayers. It may be that the weakening of Russian military power and the undermining of the reputation of the formidable Russian army are worth the billions spent. Time will tell if we watch closely.

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