How Corruption Cripples America’s Military

Eric Zuesse

America’s military budget is roughly 7.2 times that of Russia ($610 billion compared to $84.5 billion), but even Western news-accounts are saying that the weaponry produced in Russia is superior overall to the weaponry produced in the United States.

Compare the top-of-the-line fighter jets of the two countries: that’s the F-35 fighter-jet produced by the U.S. corporation Lockheed Martin, versus the Su-35 fighter jet produced by the Russian government (its wholly owned Sukhoi Company). The F-35 costs around $100 million per plane. The Su-35 costs around $65 million per plane.

The weaponry-expert David Majumdar headlined on 15 September 2015, “America’s F-35 Stealth Fighter vs. Russia’s Su-35: Who Wins?” He concluded: “Basically, an F-35 pilot should avoid a close in fight at all costs. It is highly unlikely that a U.S. Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) would assign an air superiority mission to an F-35 unit if alternatives were available. But given the tiny fleet of [F-22] Raptors and dwindling F-15C fleet, it is possible that the JFACC could be forced to use the F-35 as an air superiority asset.”

In other words: the U.S. had stopped production of the better planes, the F-22 and the F-15C, which might stand a chance against the Su-35. The U.S. stopped production of those planes in order to replace them with the inferior and far costlier (and more profitable) F-35.

Earlier, on 6 December 2014, Majumdar had bannered, “Killer in the Sky: Russia’s Deadly Su-35 Fighter.” He wrote:

One U.S. Navy Super Hornet pilot — a graduate of that service’s elite TOPGUN school — offered a sobering assessment. “When taken as a singular platform, I like the Su-35’s chances against most of our platforms, with perhaps the exception of the F-22 and F-15C,” the naval aviator said. “I suspect the F/A-18E/F can hold it’s own and F-35 has presumed stealth and sensor management on its side.”

But one Air Force official with experience on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter said that the Su-35 could pose a serious challenge for the stealthy new American jet. The F-35 was built primarily as a strike fighter and does not have the sheer speed or altitude capability of the Su-35 or F-22. “The Su’s ability to go high and fast is a big concern, including for F-35,” the Air Force official said.

As an air-superiority fighter, its major advantages are its combination of high altitude capability and blistering speed — which allow the fighter to impart the maximum possible amount of launch energy to its arsenal of long-range air-to-air missiles. …

Another highly experienced veteran fighter pilot added that much about the Su-35 and the capabilities of the Russian military remain unknown.

Among these unknowns were the effectiveness of the Russian plane’s “electronic attack” capabilities. Here’s how that was described:

The addition of the electronic attack (EA) capability complicates matters for Western fighters because the Su-35’s advanced digital radio frequency memory jammers can seriously degrade the performance of friendly radars. It also effectively blinds the onboard radars found onboard American-made air-to-air missiles like the AIM-120 AMRAAM. …

Said another senior Air Force official with experience on the F-22 Raptor, “So, while we are stealthy, we will have a hard time working our way through the EA to target the Su-35s and our missiles will have a hard time killing them.”

The Su-35 also carries a potent infrared search and track capability that could pose a problem for Western fighters. “It also has non-EM [electro-magnetic] sensors to help it detect other aircraft, which could be useful in long-range detection,” the Super Hornet pilot said.

Another of the Su-35’s major advantages is that it carries an enormous payload of air-to-air missiles. “One thing I really like about the Su-35 is that it is a high-end truck: It can carry a ton of air-to-air ordnance into a fight,” the Navy pilot said.

On paper, that makes the Su-35 an extremely capable platform, but as one highly experienced F-22 pilot pointed out: “Whether they can translate that into valid tactics remain[s] to be seen.”

What, then, about that electronic-attack unknown?

On 13 September 2014, Voltairenet described on the basis of a 30 April Russian report, an incident on 12 April, in which the USS Donald Cook Aegis Class destroyer, loaded with missiles, entered the Black Sea, to threaten Russia, and a Russian Su-24 flew overhead, carrying a device that can turn off all electrical systems. Voltairnet said: 

As the Russian jet approached the US vessel, the electronic device disabled all radars, control circuits, systems, information transmission, etc. on board the US destroyer. In other words, the all-powerful Aegis system, now hooked up — or about to be — with the defense systems installed on NATO’s most modern ships was shut down, as turning off the TV set with the remote control.

The Russian Su-24 then simulated a missile attack against the USS Donald Cook, which was left literally deaf and blind. As if carrying out a training exercise, the Russian aircraft — unarmed — repeated the same maneuver 12 times before flying away.

After that, the 4th generation destroyer [Donald Cook] immediately set sail towards a port in Romania.

Since that incident, which the Atlanticist media have carefully covered up despite the widespread reactions sparked among defense industry experts, no US ship has ever approached Russian territorial waters again.

According to some specialized media, 27 sailors from the USS Donald Cook requested to be relieved from active service.

Later, on 31 March 2015, Ben Hodges, the Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, issued, to Defense News, an incoherent statement against Russia, that:

the volume of artillery and rocket ammunition that has been expended [by Russia] is eye-watering. The quality of the electronic warfare [EW] capability that Russians have employed in eastern Ukraine, this is not something that you can create in the basement of your home. So when President Putin says, well these are just coal miners and tractor drivers, it is an obvious lie.

Despite Hodges’s attempt to bury in an insult to Putin, reference to electronic warfare capabilities on Russia’s part, that were “eye-watering” for Hodges, Defense News made clear what brought these tears to his eyes, when it reported on 4 August 2015:

Ukrainian forces have grappled with formidable Russian electronic warfare capabilities that analysts say would prove withering even to the US ground forces. The US Army has also jammed insurgent communications from the air and ground on a limited basis, and it is developing a powerful arsenal of jamming systems, but these are not expected until 2023. …

Hodges acknowledged that US troops are learning from Ukrainians about Russia’s jamming capability, its ranges, types and the ways it has been employed. He has previously described the quality and sophistication of Russian electronic warfare as “eye-watering.”

Russia maintains an ability to destroy command-and-control networks by jamming radio communications, radars and GPS signals, according to Laurie Buckhout, former chief of the US Army’s electronic warfare division, now CEO of the Corvus Group. In contrast with the US, Russia has large units dedicated to electronic warfare, known as EW, which it dedicates to ground electronic attack, jamming communications, radar and command-and-control nets.

Of course, Hodges hadn’t said that about “Russian electronic warfare,” he had actually said it about “the volume of artillery and rocket ammunition that has been expended.” But he never publicly objected to the news-media’s tacit acceptance of what had really  brought tears to his eyes. Everyone knew it. And it wasn’t “the volume of artillery and rocket ammunition that has been expended.” So, Hodges had dealt with his tears by insulting Putin, instead of by thanking him for having given the U.S. this harmless warning shot across the bow. (Would Hodges have preferred that this capacity continue to be hidden by the Russian side?)

Everybody in the know knows that the U.S. wastes on corruption most of the money it pays, for military, just as it does for health care, and for education, and for other governmental functions. The higher the governmental level is (such as in the White House, and in the Pentagon), the bigger the percentage of waste is, because the skimming is monumental at those higher levels. And for recent U.S. Presidents, they and the foundations they set up suck in billions of dollars, as delayed ‘compensation’ for the favors that the former President had thrown to the ‘donating’ billionaire.

The BBC headlined on 25 January 2016, “Putin Is Corrupt, Says US Treasury,” and three days later, Reuters headlined, “White House Backs Treasury’s View that Putin Is Corrupt.” (Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Secretary himself is deeply corrupt, even if not as much as recent U.S. Presidents have been.)

The next day, January 29th, Britain’s Independent  headlined, “Russia’s ‘Rustbucket’ Military Delivers a Hi-tech Shock to West and Israel,” and reported:

It is this military might that is underpinning President Vladimir Putin’s strategic triumphs. His intervention in Syria has been a game changer and what happens there now lies, to a large extent, in his hands. The Ukraine conflict is semi-frozen, on his terms. The Russians are allying with the Kurds, unfazed by the Turkish anger this has provoked. And, crucially, they are now returning to Egypt to an extent not seen for 44 years, since they were kicked out by President Anwar Sadat.

One of the most senior analysts in Israeli military intelligence told The Independent in Tel Aviv last week: “Anyone who wants anything done in this region is beating a path to Moscow.”

If America elects yet another in the now-long succession, since 1980, of corrupt Presidents, it will be terrible not only for Russia, and for the countries such as Ukraine and Syria and Iraq that the U.S. is destroying, but also for the American people. 

On 31 August 2015, The Daily Beast bannered, “Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS,” and reported:

Members of al Qaeda’s branch in Syria have a surprising advocate in the corridors of American power: retired Army general and former CIA Director David Petraeus.

The former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has been quietly urging U.S. officials to consider using so-called moderate members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front to fight ISIS in Syria, four sources familiar with the conversations, including one person who spoke to Petraeus directly, told The Daily Beast.

Petraeus had organized the death squads in El Salvador and in Iraq, so he’s a natural for the global aristocracy to rely upon about such things. He’s even a regular attendee at the secret annual Bilderberg meetings.

On 16 November 2015, F. William Engdahl headlined, “Do We Really Want a New World War With Russia?” and he itemized the ways in which Russia’s military performance, in both Ukraine and Syria, has shocked the U.S. and its allies, especially. The main categories were: “Sukhoi SU-34 ‘Fullback’ fighter-bomber,” “New EW technologies,” “Killer Bumblebees,” and, “‘Status-6?,” which latter is “a new Russian nuclear submarine weapons system designed to bypass NATO radars and any existing missile defense systems, while causing heavy damage to ‘important economic facilities’ along the enemy’s coastal regions.”

Any U.S. President who would continue the effort started in 1990 by President George Herbert Walker Bush, to conquer and grab control of the resources of post-communist Russia, is insane, especially now, after the February 2014 U.S.-run coup in Ukraine crossed the line that Russia had repeatedly warned must not be crossed. If this effort ever stops, the ‘news’ media won’t report the U.S. gang’s retreat from this by-now 25-year-long war against Russia, which those same ‘news’ media have consistently refused to report. But even if they were to report it, no obligation by the West is so important as the obligation to stop  it — the obligation to call off the West’s Saudi-Qatari-Turkish-UAE-Kuwaiti-financed Sunni terrorists, and the rest of the West’s (via NATO, the IMF, etc.) war against Russia and against Russia’s Shiite and BRICS allies. 

On 28 May 2014, Barack Obama told future leaders of the U.S. military:

Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums.  …

It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world. The question we face, the question each of you will face, is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead — not just to secure our peace and prosperity, but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.

If these sorts of lies are all that he can give us, then the Nobel Peace Prize Committee must demand he return his shameful 2009 Prize from them, right now. And why hasn’t the Committee already  demanded he return it?

American Presidents, and we, should leave Russia and its allies (including the BRICS and the non-BRICS such as Argentina) in peace, not pretend to support peace, when all that the U.S. actually spreads is invasions and wars — never-ending wars, and refugees from those wars, which are profitable only for the private investors in those private war-corporations or “contractors.”

Without that corruption, there would be a vastly smaller U.S. ‘Defense’ budget. The Pentagon isn’t even auditable. We have a good idea as to where lots of the real expenses are going. And it’s the opposite of ‘humanitarian’ or ‘pro-democracy.’ It’s arms to hire, or to invest in, by the world’s top kleptocrats — the people who control the lobbyists in Washington, who basically write America’s laws, and fund America’s politics.

Amongst all corrupt aristocracies (and that’s every  aristocracy), America’s takes the cake. But yet what has been a standard description which American leaders apply to the governments (such as Saddam Hussein’s, and Muammar Gaddafi’s, and Viktor Yanukovych’s) they’ve overthrown? It’s that they’re “corrupt.”

The International Criminal Court will begin to have credibility if and when it starts to prosecute American leaders such as George W. Bush and Barack Obama, but not a minute before that time. Western gangsters lead the world right now, and Western political leaders are their agents — merely fixers, for those elite gangsters.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.