Ukraine ‘aid’: Congress pays off military-industrial capitalists

Has there ever been a more corrupt Congress? Democrats and Republicans alike.

On May 19, the U.S. Congress approved an additional $40 billion in “aid” to Ukraine, added to the roughly $14 billion of Ukraine war funds approved in March. That’s $54 billion total. 

President Joe Biden promoted the escalation of military spending, grinning as he stood at the podium, with a banner behind him declaring “Standing With Ukraine.”

The Democrats unanimously approved the billions. None suggested that the funds should go to housing, food, healthcare, transportation, COVID relief or some other failing part of the U.S. economy.

To put some perspective on this, $54 billion is more than Russia’s defense budget for the whole year 2021, which was $43 billion.

Officially, the U.S. military budget is $782 billion for 2022. The $54-billion Ukraine “aid” equals 7% of this year’s official military budget.

The New York Times says that it’s more money than the U.S. has given in any kind of aid to any country in the last decade. “It is roughly two times the amount given in 2011 to Afghanistan, the largest U.S. foreign aid recipient until now,” the May 20 Times reported.

The Times adds that it is 1% of this year’s projected federal budget. The “Ukraine aid” is more than many of the individual packages in Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan that the Democrats couldn’t approve, including Medicare hearing aid benefits, and roughly equal to the “Build Back Better” public housing funds.

‘Financing total war’

“The sums of money being contemplated in Washington are enormous,” Adam Tooze wrote in the Guardian shortly before final approval. “It will mean that we are financing nothing less than a total war.”

On April 25, at a meeting with more than 40 NATO and non-NATO defense officials in Germany, U.S. Secretary of War Lloyd Austin said in so many words that the NATO military operation is not about “defending Ukraine” but is a proxy war against Russia, with Ukraine as the battlefield. 

“A weakened Russia” is the goal, Austin said.

Leon Panetta — White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton, CIA director and secretary of defense under Barack Obama — explained that the conflict in Ukraine is a NATO “proxy war” against Russia. Biden himself declared the goal is regime change in Moscow, saying Putin “cannot remain in power.”

The Ukraine aid package, by the way, should rightfully be called a payoff to the U.S. military-industrial complex. For example, $9 billion of the $40 billion package goes directly to U.S. capitalist corporations that produce weapons, designated as “replenishment of U.S. weapons stock” in the bill. 

About $6 billion goes to a Department of Defense slush fund that the Pentagon will decide how to spend. And $4 billion is for Ukraine to spend buying new military equipment from U.S. weapons producers. 

Another $3.9 billion is for sending an additional 10,500 U.S. troops to Europe. Hard to find anything that’s actual aid to the people in Ukraine.

Written by Lockheed Martin

In fact, the whole Ukraine aid package was written by the U.S. military-industrial complex. Business Insider reported on May 23: “One of the largest defense contractors in the nation donated to nearly 150 members of Congress as they debated Ukraine military aid.” 

On May 3, President Joe Biden went to Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Operations facility in Troy, Alabama, and did a photo op at the Javelin missile production facility.

Military contractors have been the primary beneficiaries of the Ukraine war aid approved by Congress.

Lockheed Martin is the top war (military-industrial) contractor in the U.S., followed by Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing and Northrop Grumman.

The top member of Congress in charge of the military budget, Democrat Adam Smith from Washington state, is also the top recipient of money from the weapons makers.

The fact is, any semblance of Congress being representative of people and not money has been mostly abandoned. The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision “reversed century-old campaign finance restrictions and enabled corporations and other outside groups to spend unlimited funds on elections,” according to the Brennan Center for Justice. 

In the New Yorker, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin concludes that the Citizens United decision “let rich people buy candidates.” 

In 2016, in a case involving the open corruption of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling made it difficult to impossible to prosecute political corruption. Some have characterized it as approving the purchase of sitting politicians. 

On May 16 of this year, the Supreme Court removed the only restrictions left on the rich donating to (purchasing) politicians after they had been elected.

The military-industrial complex apparently owns Congress and it is writing the agenda.

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