The U.S. government is snapping up Russian-made helicopters to form the core of Afghanistan's fledgling air force, a strategy that is drawing flak from members of Congress who want to force the Afghans to fly American choppers instead.
In a turnabout from the Cold War, when the CIA gave Stinger missiles to Afghan rebels to shoot down Soviet helicopters, the Pentagon has spent $648 million to buy or refurbish 31 Russian Mi-17 transport helicopters for the Afghan National Army Air Corps. The Defense Department is seeking to buy 10 more of the Mi-17s next year, and had planned to buy dozens more over the next decade.
The spectacle of using U.S. taxpayer dollars to buy Russian military products is proving a difficult sell in Congress. Some legislators say that the Pentagon never considered alternatives to the Mi-17, an aircraft it purchased for use in Iraq and Pakistan, and that a lack of competition has enabled Russian defense contractors to gouge on prices.
"If people come and fly in Afghanistan with the Mi-17, they will understand why that aircraft is so important to the future for Afghanistan," said Brig. Gen. Michael R. Boera, the U.S. Air Force general in charge of rebuilding the Afghan air corps. "We've got to get beyond the fact that it's Russian. . . . It works well in Afghanistan."
Will somebody tell this bureaucrat, he can't be a military man, that helping our enemy is kind of like.... well.... stupid?
I sear. This right after some doofuss in the Coast Guard can't figure out how to inspect barrages for fire extinguishers and life vests while they are working.
There is a theory that says there are alternative universes... These two birds must have slipped across with Obamie and his minions. They could not have been born and raised in the USA.
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“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.” - William Pitt