Tag Archives: Defense

LOTFI: Dear Neocons, Rand Paul Is Right On Military Spending

During the recent Fox Business News – Wall Street Journal Republican Primary debate, United States senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had what was probably one of the most meaningful exchanges so far in the race to decide the party’s nominee for president.

Paul and Rubio traded jabs over military spending, an issue that has divided many in the Republican party, and there’s little consensus on who won the exchange. That being said, the neoconservatives like Rubio are wrong when it comes to military spending and it’s time the Republican party, as a whole, realize it.

Let’s be clear about something. When Paul says you’re not a serious conservative if you’re willing to spend another $1 trillion, on loan from China, on the Department of Defense (DOD), he says so because the DOD is rife with fraud and waste.

For example, the DOD spent $2 million dollars for every one Syrian rebel they trained. Guess what? The majority of them never showed up to fight on our behalf after being trained. That’s right, $2 million to train one person that never showed up. The DOD also spent $43 million to build one single gas station in Afghanistan, which will never be used. If that wasn’t enough, Congress recently pushed $436 million on weapons that military experts explicitly said are not needed.

Yes, managing our military is one of the few roles the federal government performs today with actual constitutional authority to do so, but does that mean they should continue to receive blank checks?

The DOD clearly has money to flush down the toilet, and the American taxpayers are ultimately responsible for that money.

How is it that conservatives trust no wing of government to operate efficiently, but believe the DOD is infallible? If you’re serious about cutting the deficit and tackling our national debt, then understand this simple fact—government, by design, creates waste. The DOD isn’t exempt from this fact.

Neocons need to stop pretending defense spending is untouchable in order to pacify the multi-billion dollar defense contractors that lobby them for tax-dollars that are not needed to secure our well-being. Even the United States Army agrees.

You’re either serious and principled about cutting waste, or you’re not. And when you’re not, liberal Democrats then get to say, “Well, you spent money we didn’t have on this, so we want more welfare.” The same goes for the Constitution. When Republicans ignore the 4th Amendment and push the NSA, Democrats get to ignore the 10th Amendment and push the EPA. In Washington, I think they call this “bipartisanship.”

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Obama Administration Ends $500 Million Syrian Rebel Training Program

Obama administration officials announced on Friday that the $500 million program training and equipping moderate Syrian rebels will end, recognizing that the program has yet to produce successful ground forces to combat Islamic State militants.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that instead of continuing the current Syria Train and Equip program, the U.S. will seek to work more closely with capable Kurdish groups, which he called a “more strategic approach.”

“The work we’ve done with the Kurds in northern Syria is an example of an effective approach,” Carter said. “That’s exactly the kind of example that we would like to pursue with other groups in other parts of Syria going forward.”

[RELATED: ISIS Seized 2,300 U.S. Armored Humvees, Possibly Worth 1 Billion Dollars]

The Associated Press noted that the first group of the program’s trainees “largely disbanded soon after they were sent into combat; some were captured or killed, while others fled,” and the second class “yielded only a small number of new fighters, drawing criticism from U.S. lawmakers who condemned the program as a joke and a failure.”

An anonymous senior Defense Department official told the New York Times that the U.S. would stop recruiting “moderate rebels” from Syria to undergo training programs in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates, and would set up a training center in Turkey, where leaders of opposition groups would be taught “operational maneuvers like how to call in airstrikes.”

[RELATED: U.S. Senators Call For Obama To End Program Training Syrian Militants]

Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) sent a letter to the Obama administration last week calling for an end to the program, on the basis that it is a “failed initiative” that needs to be stopped before causing “additional harm” to the Syrian people.

“The Syria Train and Equip Program goes beyond simply being an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars,” the senators wrote. “As many of us initially warned, it is now aiding the very forces we aim to defeat.”

[RELATED: Toyota, U.S. Treasury Department Promise to Investigate ISIS-Toyota Connection]

After months of losing both fighters and equipment to Islamic State militants, the U.S. government has said it is now investigating how the group obtained hundreds of Toyota pickup trucks, which have been featured in ISIS propaganda videos.

Investigative journalist Ben Swann reported on the origin of ISIS in March, noting that ISIS experienced dramatic growth in 2014 “because of all the U.S. military equipment they were able to seize – equipment that our military left in Iraq.” 

Swann also noted that even when the U.S. government “became aware that ISIS fighters were capturing U.S. equipment, it did nothing.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6kdi1UXxhY