Whether or not you think the gift of US M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine is a good idea, or whether it’s even helpful, the gift underscores the sorry state the US military finds itself in. Despite over 10,000 of these tanks having been built over the years, the military is struggling even to come up with the 31 it has pledged to Ukraine.
After 20 years of the “War on Terror” and having left billions of dollars worth of hardware in Afghanistan after it left with its tail tucked between its legs, the US military is but a shadow of its former self. The fact that it is struggling to find 31 tanks to give to Ukraine is a pretty damning indictment of US military readiness.
This whole incident also underscores that, after trillions of dollars have been spent fighting abroad and nation-building, that money was all wasted. Like every dollar spent on the military-industrial complex, its purpose wasn’t to make the US military the world’s greatest fighting force, it was designed to enrich US defense contractors and the retired generals who sit on their boards, corrupt Third World kleptocrats, and the various vultures who pick away at the defense budget until nothing is left for our soldiers.
But perhaps worse than the sad reality of the situation is the fact that the US citizenry is so oblivious to all of this. Even the average “conservative” voter in this country probably still believes that the US military is a strong fighting force, that defense spending is actually intended to benefit the military, and that we need to keep spending more money on defense to keep us safe.
Just like the US government’s wasteful domestic spending, defense spending is beset with fraud, waste, and abuse. We like to make fun of the Russian military’s troubles and the horrible state of its hardware due to poor maintenance and fraudulent misallocation of funding, but the fact that we can’t even come up with 31 tanks without running into problems is a pretty damning indictment of our own military spending. If we don’t take this as a warning sign and start taking steps now to audit the Pentagon’s spending and correct the wastefulness and fraud, we may end up paying the consequences when we can least afford to do so.