Earlier in the year, calls to unify the disparate efforts to arm and fund Ukraine led to the Ukraine Assistance Act, a nearly-unprecedented infusion of cash into an allied nation to the tune of $40 billion.
Now Congress in the current lame-duck session will have to decide whether or not to double that amount, as the White House requested $37.7 billion more in mostly military assistance. With all this money sloshing around, calls for oversight in the houses of Congress are rising even from warhawk lawmakers.
During the war, regime change, and 20-year occupation of Afghanistan, various oversight reports detailed nearly immeasurable fraud and corruption in the more than $1 trillion spent on civil and military aid.
Yet that sordid history didn’t stop Chair of the House Armed Services Committee Adam Smith (D – WA) from calling these calls for oversight “part of Russian propaganda,” and saying that concern over how the money was being spent “makes me a little crazy”.
He added as a result that the White House needs to “build a better narrative for why spending money on defense actually does make sense”.
The remarks came at the Reagan National Defense Forum, according to Defense News which details that earlier this year, 57 House and 11 Senate Republicans voted against this most recent Biden Ukraine aid request, after a dozen conservative groups came out against further aid without oversight.
One of these Republicans, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R – GA) introduced a bill in mid-November to audit the money already spent in Ukraine.
“I’ll introduce this resolution again, but I’ll also be calling for a full audit. We voted ‘no’ to send money over there, but we’re also going to audit what’s happening in Ukraine,” Greene said at the time.
If “blowback” is the D.C. term for unintended consequences of conscious foreign policy decisions, and “backdraft” is that for a plan immediately blowing up in the administration’s face, then “spillover” must be the one that accounts for geographically-localized action spreading beyond the area where a policy was implemented.
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has stated that American-made arms and ammunition are ending up in the hands of terrorists across the Lake Chad Basin.
“Regrettably, the situation in the Sahel and the raging war in Ukraine serve as major sources of weapons and fighters that bolster the ranks of the terrorists in the Lake Chad Region,” he said.
The Nigerian leader said that arms “being used for the war in Ukraine and Russia are equally beginning to filter to the region”.
“Buhari’s comments were not the first indication that Western arms bound for Ukraine are ending up on the black market,” reports Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp. “Finland’s national law enforcement agency, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), warned in October that arms meant for Ukraine have wound up in the hands of criminal gangs in Finland. The NBI also said that weapons meant for Ukraine were also found in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands”. WaL
PICTURED ABOVE: The HIMAR artillery rocket system, one of the largest weapons so far delivered to Ukraine.