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Obama Overrides Congress to Buy $690 Million Worth of Russian Choppers for Afghan Air Force

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On April 8, 2013 @ 8:03 pm In The Point | 58 Comments

Apparently America has too many jobs so Obama will be spending taxpayer money to support Russia’s defense industry on behalf of Afghanistan. And he’s doing so over the bipartisan objections of Congress from both the right and left and a ban on buying them written into the NDAA.

The US Department of Defense said Thursday it plans to sidestep a Congressional ban to purchase 30 helicopters from Russian state-owned defense firm Rosoboronexport, despite objections from US lawmakers who allege that the firm has equipped the Syrian government to commit brutal crimes against civilians.

The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, approved by Congress last year, includes an amendment that prohibits financial contracts between the United States and Rosoboronexport, except when the Secretary of Defense determines that such arrangements are in the interest of national security.

The contract totals $690 million, most of which would go to the Russian arms maker, he added.

Aside from throwing almost $700 million to a company owned by the Russian government at a time when Obama has taken a chainsaw to the United States military, subsidizing the Russian defense industry helps it develop more weapons that will be sold to America’s enemies.

That money will help fund R&D for the next generation of weapons that an American military dismantled by Obama will be facing on the battlefield.

Rosoboronexport was originally under US sanctions for doing business with Iran until the ban was lifted. Rosoboronexport is still selling advanced weapons to Iran.

And oh yeah, this was a no bid contract.

The Pentagon didn’t solicit bids from any other company for the helicopters. That “seems just plain stupid,” says Texas Senator John Cornyn, one of nine Republican and eight Democratic senators pressing the U.S. Department of Defense to cancel the deal.

John Pike, director of national security think tank GlobalSecurity.org, says Russia sold Mi-17s to other countries during the Cold War, and that companies other than Rosoboronexport should have secondhand models that could be refurbished: “The notion that you can’t come up with a couple dozen of these puppies in the used helicopter market is hard to believe.”

Well why bother when Barack is willing to be so flexible for Vladimir.

A bipartisan Congressional group wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week in which they objected to the ongoing business relationship between the Russian arms company and the Pentagon. “What is the national security justification of continuing business with Rosoboronexport?” they asked in the letter. “Russia continues to transfer weapons through Rosoboronexport to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria,” they continued. “Since the Syrian uprising began, Russia has continued to serve as the Assad regime’s chief supplier of weapons, enabling the mass murder of Syrian citizens at the hands of their own government.”

When you’ve got John Cormyn and Rosa DeLauro on the same side, that’s as close to a consensus that you can imagine.


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