Helicopters for Colombia May Not Arrive Until 2002

Helicopters for Colombia May Not Arrive Until 2002
Posted by FoM on September 21, 2000 at 17:12:54 PT
By Ken Guggenheim, Associated Press Writer 
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Colombia may have to wait until at least 2002 for delivery of the Black Hawk helicopters that are an important part of a $1.3 billion U.S. anti-drug aid package, Clinton administration officials said Thursday. Officials also told lawmakers that the administration is not certain it will have enough money to buy all 18 helicopters included in the plan.Two Republican committee chairmen who frequently criticize the administration's handling of Colombian aid said the delays would set back drug-fighting efforts in Colombia, the source of an estimated 90 percent of the cocaine in the United States and much of the heroin.
``This is a war that's going to be lost if we wait two or three years,'' said Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., chairman of the House Government Reform Committee.Rep. Benjamin Gilman, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, noted that traffickers were able to acquire materials to build a recently discovered submarine.``Our State Department ought to be able to deliver our counterdrug aid at least that well,'' said Gilman, R-N.Y.Randy Beers, the State Department's top counterdrug official, and Brian Sheridan, assistant secretary of defense for special operations, agreed that the delays were unacceptable and said they were working to speed up the purchases. They also said they still hoped all 18 Black Hawks could be acquired.The Black Hawks are the fastest, most versatile and most expensive of the 60 helicopters included in the recently approved Colombian aid package. They are intended to help Colombia fight leftist guerrillas who finance their insurgency in part by protecting drug laboratories and fields of coca and poppy, the raw materials for cocaine and heroin.Congress budgeted $234 million for the Black Hawks, or $13 million for each. But the actual costs will not be known until defense and budget officials determine the helicopters' equipment.The Defense Department's ``conservative'' estimates are that the first helicopters would be delivered in October 2002 and all by May 2003, Beers told members of the International Relations subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs.He said a more precise estimate will be made after contracts for the helicopters are signed, but under military procurement procedures, that may not take place for another six months.A spokesman for the Black Hawks' manufacturer, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., said the company could deliver all 18 helicopters for $234 million by October 2001.Scott Seligman, spokesman for Sikorsky's parent company, United Technologies, said in an interview he does not know why there would be further costs or delays.Burton suggested that Black Hawks from the U.S. military inventories be sent in the meantime.Noting that Colombian President Andres Pastrana has ceded a demilitarized zone to guerrillas, Burton said that ``the president down there is scared to death of these people and you're going to wait three years to give them the help they need? That's baloney.''Beers said that even if Black Hawks were delivered immediately, the Colombians lack the pilots and mechanics needed to operate them -- disputing Burton's claim that Colombia already has the manpower.While awaiting the Black Hawks, Colombia's counternarcotics battalions can use 18 UH-1N helicopters that the United States gave them last year and 15 more that will be delivered early next year, he said.Washington (AP) Published: September 21, 2000© 2000 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, CannabisNews Articles - Colombia:
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #7 posted by FoM on September 21, 2000 at 22:17:59 PT
My 2 cents
By the time the helicopters are ready they'll want more MONEY! If we don't learn from history we are doomed to repeat it and we are.Peace, FoM!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by CongressmanSuet on September 21, 2000 at 20:25:13 PT:
Uh, you know...
We were all up in arms when this aid went thru, its gonna start a war, blah, blah, blah. But, we forgot one important thing. The people in charge of all the rhetoric and budget supplying need someone to tell them when their shoes are untied. This really will be pathetic. relax, enjoy the show, it will be awhile before there are any actual fireworks. Not too say a CNN ratings booster isnt on the way, just, I think we are forgetting how mired government really is.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by Lehder on September 21, 2000 at 19:18:59 PT
Hey, we have a budget surplus, remember?And these Colombians are killing our children.So wussup? You mean no TV show like Desert Storm, like Panama, like Somalia, like Kosovo? Or maybe it took McCaffrey this long to figure out that Colombians can smuggle Stinger rockets Into Colombia. It was in about 1985 or 1986 when I saw Carlos Lehder-Rivas interviewed on TV. He lifted a big sac of cocaine to eye level and said, "This is MY atomic bomb." Get it?It would have been be a short series anyway. World, we Americans are a people oppressed and made ignorant by a government that has succumed to an ideology, a closed system of thought and a world view ( drug free ) that has no basis in reality but which controls every aspect of our lives whatever our attitude toward drugs. Right now, we could use a little help. I would like to see some heads of foreign states, like in Europe or South Amnerica or anywhere, speak out about our policies. There is hardly a country in the world left that could not teach us something about the human rights we're always harping about. We are rapidly developing a hateful, retrograde political and military system that will destroy human rights in America. Like a hurricane at sea, the madness is swirling faster, growing stronger. It has a life of its own; it's beyond our control. And if we fall, so will you. Our political leaders don't hear us, they don't listen to our philosphers or our thinkers or our cultural leaders because our political leaders are ignorant and love it and have been driven insane by their own dogma. But maybe they'll listen to you. So give us some help: bomb our cities, embargo us, starve us until the government returns to sanity. At least let's hear from you. HELP!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by Dave in Florida on September 21, 2000 at 19:14:06 PT
Then will you Stop the War?
>`This is a war that's going to be lost if we wait two or three years,'' said Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., chairman of theHouse Government Reform Committee.Idiots, just plain idiots..
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by Frank on September 21, 2000 at 19:02:47 PT
Vietnam Again
This war is going nowhere even if the helicopters make it to Columbia. They will be shot down and the aviators heads cut off and impaled on the end of a stick for the children of Columbia to come by and spit on. Then Amerika will send more money and finally their own sons to suffer a similar death. When the Army notifies the families of the dead, they will say they died for the “Drug War” The longest failed public policy of our country. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by MikeEEEEE on September 21, 2000 at 18:24:17 PT
As if we didn't know
It's a lost cause.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by Occassional Pot User on September 21, 2000 at 17:58:14 PT
Advice for the president of Colombia
Tell the U.S. to fuck off and legalize cocaine.I should have the right to use cocaine if I so desire. The government needs to fuck off and deal with real issues.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: