OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The Pentagon has found $3 billion in unspent funds directed toward Ukraine due to an accounting error and apparently they are going to use this newfound cash to send it to Ukraine anyway.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke to CNN host Jake Tapper on the network’s Sunday show “State of the Union” where he was grilled on the error.
“You were talking about aid to Ukraine a minute ago. There was this very bizarre admission from the Pentagon this week of an accounting error that suggested that the U.S. has at least $3 billion that it didn’t know it had that it can use for Ukraine aid. That’s a hell of an accounting error, and it provides a lot of fodder to critics of U.S. aid to Ukraine and critics who say there’s not enough oversight going on. Are you concerned about this accounting error?” the host said.
“Well, one thing I just want to make clear, that is not money that went out the door and disappeared. That is not a waste of that $3 billion,” the National Security Adviser said.
“It is simply a tally of how much military equipment we have given them. And the way that the Pentagon was counting it was, what’s the replacement cost for the equipment we provide, rather than just the actual cost of that equipment?” he said.
“Once you make that adjustment, it turns out we have an additional $3 billion that we can spend to provide even more weapons to Ukraine. And, at the end of the day, not one penny of U.S. dollars will have gone missing or had been misallocated. It will all be provided in the form of equipment to Ukraine on the battlefield,” Sullivan said.
“But, of course, it would be better to get right, in terms of the accounting, up front. In the end, though, the Pentagon discovered the error, the Pentagon corrected the error, and Ukraine will get what it needs, and the American taxpayer will be able to be confident that this money is being spent effectively and appropriately,” he said.
But if the government found $3 billion, and we know that the deadline to hit the debt ceiling is coming on June 1, why not use those funds for our own nation?
It would not provide much, if any, assistance in avoiding hitting the debt ceiling at such a relatively tiny amount of funds, but how many shelters for homeless people could be provided for $3 billion?
How many meals could be served to starving families in our own nation for $3 billion?
And it was apparently not the only mistake the administration made in recent weeks.
“Another correction coming from the Pentagon, the U.S. is walking back claims that a drone strike in Syria earlier this month killed a senior leader of the terrorist group al Qaeda. The family of the man killed told CNN he was just a 56-year-old shepherd with 10 kids, zero connections to terrorism. Is that right that the strike did not kill the senior al Qaeda leader, it killed a civilian? And if it is true that it was a civilian killed, is anyone going to be held accountable?” the host said.
“Well, in fact, Jake, it was President Biden who stood up with Secretary Austin guidelines for this administration to ensure that there would be accountability and oversight of any potential civilian casualties from counterterrorism strikes,” Sullivan said.
“In this particular instance, the Pentagon is conducting a full and thorough investigation. They will report the results of that investigation to the president, and we will proceed from there. So far, we do not have evidence to validate the claims being made in Syria. But I am going to withhold any judgment on what exactly happened here until the Pentagon’s investigation is complete,” he said.