The Uniparty Keeps Americans in the Dark on Ukraine Aid
In rejecting Hawley’s amendment for a special inspector general, the uniparty has shown their hand.
As the global American empire bumbles its way into another military conflict, pouring billions of dollars and depleting military stockpiles into Ukraine, the uniparty has resolved it doesn’t want Americans to know if their taxpayer dollars are being used properly.
On Tuesday night, the Senate rejected an amendment proposed by Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri to create a special inspector general to analyze and oversee U.S. aid to Ukraine.
Hawley’s amendment was for a bill under consideration that would repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs) that relate to Iraq. Just over a week after the twentieth anniversary of America’s invasion of Iraq, the Senate passed the bill that would repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs. The bill now heads to the House, where House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has signaled openness to passing the bill quickly. The more expansive 2001 AUMF passed after 9/11, however, was not part of the Senate’s considerations.
Like other I.G.s, Hawley’s special inspector general would have provided quarterly reports to Congress on expenditures, equipment transfers, corruption, and aid provided by other NATO allies, thereby centralizing oversight of America’s multi-department effort to assist Ukraine. “Right now, no single authority is responsible for overseeing our Ukraine spending. The responsibility is supposedly split between three agencies—the Department of Defense, the State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development,” Hawley wrote in an op-ed for Fox News this week. “But when the buck stops with no one, there’s no ultimate accountability for policing waste, fraud and abuse.”
Hawley’s special inspector general, which would have to have been confirmed by the Senate, is far from unprecedented. As Hawley noted in his op-ed, “During the war in Afghanistan, Congress established a special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction to ensure that aid funds weren’t being embezzled or misappropriated.” Which is precisely what the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found—and a lot of it.
“Doing the same for Ukraine is a straightforward fix that every member of Congress should endorse,” Hawley claimed, because “Congress has lavished Ukraine with $113 billion in aid spending—including both weapons and direct payments to the Ukrainian government. That’s almost four times the annual budget of my home state of Missouri,” and “roughly $750” per American.
“And it doesn’t look like they’re poised to turn off the spigot anytime soon,” the senator added.
“Everyone—especially Washington Republicans—should at least agree that Americans deserve to know how their money is being spent,” Hawley asserted. “Astoundingly, right now that isn’t the case. Despite repeatedly asking for more funding for Ukraine aid, the Biden administration hasn’t rigorously kept track of the money.”
Congress apparently has no plans to do so, either. Hawley’s proposal was rejected by more than a two-to-one margin—sixty-eight votes against, and just twenty-six votes for. Twenty-two of Hawley’s Republican colleagues, half of the Republican Senators voting Tuesday night, voted for the special inspector general. Democratic Senators Jon Tester of Montana and Jon Ossoff of Georgia, as well as Independent Sen. Kristin Sinema of Arizona, joined in voting “aye.”
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One Republican vote in favor that was particularly surprising? South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Why would Graham, one of the most hawkish members of the GOP caucus when it comes to Ukraine, vote for an inspector general that could undercut the establishment narrative vis-à-vis the war in Ukraine?
Maybe Graham is truly concerned about fiscal responsibility in Ukraine (though he was not all that concerned when it comes to American military adventurism in the Middle East). What seems more likely, however, is that he knew Hawley’s proposal was a dead end. If the vote is not going to be close to begin with, then there’s no harm in voting for the special inspector general. In the meantime, Graham can buck, for a little while, justified accusations of warmongering.
No matter Graham’s motivations, the irony of this particular episode in Congress is not lost on those who have been skeptical of American military adventurism in the name of liberal democracy. As Congress finally decides to close a chapter on one failed intervention, the ranks of the uniparty shows they have learned nothing from their previous failures. That is, unless their failure is intentional.