12162017What's Hot:

Defense bill showers cash on Israel and Ukraine

Alongside funding for Israel, the NDAA budgeted unprecedented funding for supposedly defensive weapons for the Ukrainian military, which has been locked in a destabilizing conflict with Russian-backed separatists since a U.S.-backed coup toppled its democratically elected government in 2014. 1.4 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced by the conflict, and with new weapons on the battlefield, many more are likely to be forced to flee their homes.

The $ 500 million earmarked for Ukrainian military will also cover the treatment of its soldiers in American hospitals, including “transportation, lodging, meals, and other appropriate non-medical support in connection with such treatment.”

While Trump sets massive sums of American taxpayer dollars aside to provide Ukrainian troops with first-class medical care, his administration has proposed cutting some $ 800 billion from Medicaid and other healthcare programs servicing poor and working-class Americans. If the $ 500 million reserved for Ukraine’s military were restored to the budget, it would cover almost all of the cuts Trump has proposed to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which conducts critical research on heart and lung disease.

Providing new, U.S.-made weapons to the Ukrainian military has been a key priority for Kurt Volker, whose role at the State Department is supposed to entail ending the conflict in Ukraine. Besides serving as Trump’s man in Kiev, Volker is a neoconservative operative currently listed as the executive director of the McCain Institute for International Affairs. His organization is a faux humanitarian initiative launched by John McCain, the senator who was the driving force behind this year’s NDAA. The McCain Institute is funded by a collection of oligarchs, repressive governments like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the BGR group, whose designated lobbyist, Ed Rogers, is a lobbyist for Raytheon, an arms contractor that is certain to reap a massive windfall profit from the NDAA.

Source: Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture > Politics

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