Rand Paul Tried To Stop $40 Billion From Going to the Military-Industrial Complex. Bernie Sanders Didn’t

Every Democrat in the Senate, even the party's staunchest progressives, just supported one of the biggest gifts to the Washington war machine in U.S. history.

This week, Sen. Rand Paul tried to hold up the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill passed by the House and Senate by insisting on an amendment that would include oversight on how these funds were spent.

After all, $40 billion is quite a lot. It’s more than we spend on the entire Justice Department. 

Still, Democratic leadership said no.

So, we’re left wondering: Do we have any idea where this money is going? According to independent journalist Glenn Greenwald, while some dollars will go to actual Ukrainian aid, most of it looks like a Military-Industrial Complex slush fund.

While a small portion of these funds will go to humanitarian aid for Ukraine, the vast majority will go into the coffers of weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the usual suspects,” Greenwald writes. “Some of it will go to the CIA for unspecified reasons.”

Greenwald noted, “The extreme speed with which this was all approved means there is little to no oversight over how the funds will be spent, who will profit and how much, and what the effects will be for Ukraine and the world.”

That seems irresponsible. Is Rand Paul the only senator who doesn’t want to give billions recklessly to war manufacturers?

No, luckily Bernie Sanders agrees with him. (Or at least, he used to). 

Except… this time Sanders voted for this $40 billion in spending. For Raytheon. For Lockheed. For Martin. For Boeing. For the CIA.

This did not go unnoticed on social media.

Not a single Democrat voted against this spending package. Not even the most progressive, typically anti-war voices. No member of the Squad. Not the consistently non-interventionist Ro Khanna.

Not Sanders.

As Greenwald notes, Sanders understands the complexities of this conflict and the U.S.-NATO role in provoking Russia.

“Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has thus far said nothing about this House vote, warned in The Guardian in early February, that while Putin is immoral and tyrannical, the West bears some blame for provoking this war with reckless NATO expansion and, more importantly, warned of the grave and unpredictable dangers of having the U.S. pursue a strategy of fueling the war rather than trying to solve it diplomatically,” Greenwald wrote.

Even the New York Times expressed concern that the usual anti-war voices in both parties, with obvious exceptions like Sen. Paul, weren’t saying anything at the moment about this colossal Ukraine spending bill and its ramifications.

After the bill passed the House, the Times noted on May 10, “The escalating brutality of the war in Ukraine has dampened voices on both the right and left skeptical of the United States’ involving itself in armed conflict overseas, fueling a rush by Congress to pour huge amounts of money into a potentially lengthy and costly offensive against Russia with few questions or reservations raised.” 

The Times added, “Under pressure to present a united front as President Vladimir V. Putin’s forces carry out a campaign of atrocities across Ukraine, lawmakers in both political parties who have previously railed against skyrocketing military budgets and entanglements in intractable conflicts abroad have gone largely silent about what is fast becoming a major military effort drawing on American resources.” (Emphasis added).

What is going on here? Why was Rand Paul the only senator to raise questions about this bill? And why has Bernie Sanders not said anything at all?

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Jack Hunter
Jack Hunterhttp://LibertyTree.com
Jack Hunter is a freelance writer, the co-author of Sen. Rand Paul’s 2011 book ‘The Tea Party Goes to Washington’ and the former politics editor for Rare.us.