On Friday, following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's historic speech to Congress urging them to commit to continue defending the nation against Russian aggression, the Wall Street Journal editorial board laid into the growing wing of the Republican Party turning on the defense effort.
"GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has said he doesn’t support 'a blank check' for Ukraine, as if anyone does, and concerns over how the money is spent are now a central GOP objection," wrote the board. "Sen. Josh Hawley skipped Mr. Zelensky’s speech and told reporters he didn’t go 'because I didn’t want to be part of the photo-op asking for more money from the United States government when they haven’t given us a single piece of accounting on anything they spent.'"
These sorts of complaints, the board wrote, are misleading.
"It’s important to be 'good stewards of taxpayer money,' as Ohio Sen. Rob Portman put it this week, noting the World Bank provides reports and audits," wrote the board. "The Pentagon inspector general told Congress in June the office is 'fully engaged in ensuring comprehensive oversight of funds appropriated for assistance to the government of Ukraine.' The State Department IG in September announced an audit of humanitarian assistance. The spending bill requires 'end-use' reporting on U.S. military equipment. Congress can add to the list."
"But war is destructive and some waste is inevitable, as the Pentagon regularly proves," wrote the board. Furthermore, "these costs are dwarfed by the benefits. Economist Timothy Ash wrote in November that Ukraine aid is 'an incredibly cost-effective investment,' burning up Russia’s military power for a single-digit share of the Pentagon’s annual budget, though Moscow is one of America’s most formidable adversaries."
"Many of the same Republicans sneering at Mr. Zelensky will claim the U.S. needs to abandon Ukraine to focus on China," the board concluded. "But Beijing and Moscow are working together to undermine the West. The best step the U.S. could take to deter another assault like Mr. Putin’s is delivering to Ukraine more of the best long-range weapons, aircraft, missiles, tanks and other tools it needs to defeat the invasion."