Since last Friday, Georgia has drawn considerable international attention. Being invaded by Russia tends to do that. Georgia, however, has been the object of interest by Washington for much longer — a fact clearly reflected in U.S. military aid to the country.
A quick lesson on Georgia: The country stands at the entrance to the Middle East, and is a short distance from Iraq and Iran — a location that is of obvious strategic value to American interests. Georgia also has been a reliable supporter of the War on Terror.
For Georgia this has translated into more than $98 million in U.S. military aid in the three years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to the Collateral Damage report by the Center’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. In contrast, during the three years preceding the 9/11 attacks, Georgia received less than $18 million in aid.
Though it’s virtually impossible to track the precise amount of U.S. taxpayer dollars going to foreign militaries, we can at least take a peek at the State Department’s publicy available Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations for some sense of military aid to Georgia since Collateral Damage was released. The State Department report registers more than $49.9 million in military aid to Georgia, including more than $33 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) from 2005-2007… that is, U.S. money given to foreign countries to buy arms from private American companies.
According to the report, the U.S. is slated to send at least an additional $27 million in 2008-2009, though the Georgian government may consider that too little, too late.
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