by Kolby LaMarche
A couple of weeks ago I told you that the U.S. should abandon Ukraine. And while I mentioned the important issue of corporate interests, and provided recent headlines, I must sample to you a second reason.
I have grown increasingly suspect that America has some sadistic fetish for getting ripped off. From an estimated over $2 billion worth of COVID-era fraud to more than $3 billion being fraudulently ripped from our social security each year, U.S. taxpayers are robbed blind.
John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, for example, estimated that $19 billion of the foreign aid given to Afghanistan in the last decade was lost to fraud, waste, and abuse. In recent years, audits undergone at the Department of Defense revealed that 62% of DoD assets could not be accounted for, totalling over $2.1 trillion.
I get it, though. When you run a government worth trillions, some monies are likely to become missing. But that is why oversight is critical to maintaining course on large-scale investments. Seems like a no-brainer, right?
Three days ago, Senate Democrats once again demonstrated their reluctance to prioritize accountability, as they joined forces and heeded the White House’s call to block legislation that aimed to establish a ‘watchdog’ for overseeing aid spending on Ukraine.
The Democrat’s argument: the Pentagon Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office are already “undertaking multiple investigations regarding every aspect of this assistance.” Yes, the same Pentagon which routinely, and dramatically, fails every audit.
Setting aside government incompetence, the significance of independent oversight cannot be underestimated, and equally important is the evaluation of the character and credibility of aid recipients. Let’s look at the ‘hiccups’ and the character of those to whom we are sending your tax dollars:
- According to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Seymour Hersh – and affirmed by the CIA and numerous generals in the Ukrainian army – President Volodymyr Zelensky embezzled $400 million in Western aid intended to support Ukraine’s war effort against Russia.
- According to a watchdog report obtained by CNN, members of a Ukrainian volunteer battalion stole over 60 rifles and nearly 1,000 rounds of ammunition, presumably to sell them on the black market. Additionally, Ukrainian criminals managed to steal $17,000 worth of bulletproof vests by impersonating a humanitarian organization.
- In 2021, the British Guardian published a report based on the Pandora documents, leaked to the International Federation of Journalists, exposing corruption allegations against Zelensky. The documents disclosed Zelensky’s involvement in jointly owned offshore companies with his old friends and television business partners, including Sergey Scheffer, a former producer of Zelensky’s television shows.
- And recently, medical supplies sent by the U.S., totalling more than $1 million, were stolen, entrapping numerous Ukrainian military leaders in the scandal.
I could go on, but it’s safe to assume you get my point. Ukrainian corruption isn’t new. In fact, it has a long-seeded reputation for being heavily corrupt. Why then, if not for our fetish of being ripped off, would the U.S. even think about sending billions upon billions of your dollars there? I’ll leave it to you to render the true answer on that.
Burning Sky is dedicated to providing critique and commentary on the issues of the day from an unapologetic perspective, fueling change in the heart of Vermont. Authored by Kolby LaMarche every week.