I find it interesting that with General/President Musharraf’s government in trouble we are now getting reports that our billions of dollars in military aid to Pakistan is being misappropriated. It seems that for five years we have been contributing about a billion dollars a year to a program known as Coalition Support Funds. This of course is just a fancy name being used for a program that pays the Pakistanis to continue fighting a war they don’t want to fight and the results prove that out. The Coalition Support Funds are designed to reimburse the Pakistani military for conducting missions against the Taliban and al Qaeda in the mountainous border regions of Pakistan. My question is this, if the Taliban, al Qaeda, and the other terrorists are a threat to Pakistan as well as the US as the Bush administration and President Musharraf have stated why do we have to pay them to fight?
Early last week, six years after President Bush first began pouring billions of dollars into Pakistan’s military after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Pentagon completed a review that produced a classified plan to help the Pakistani military build an effective counterinsurgency force. NY Times
Once again it seems like the only way we can get people to fight alongside of us in this “War on Terror” is to pay them. While this is not surprising it does raise some other interesting issues, such as why is it that now when Mr. Musharraf’s political position seems precarious these allegations are beginning to surface? Are we to believe that for all these years no one noticed that Pakistan was not using the money to buy the military hardware they were supposed to, but instead purchasing advanced systems to compete with India? Where were they purchasing this advanced hardware from with our tax payer dollars?
The Bush administration has kept a blind eye to the human rights abuses, the loss of democracy, and the misappropriation of funds that has been occurring in Pakistan. Why would they be concerned about those small details when they have done likewise here in America? Tyranny knows tyranny. Rather than complete the mission in Afghanistan and actually make the world safer as they claim, they instead choose to expand their war into Iraq. Now as they exit the world stage; we have a war on at least two fronts and we are not “winning” either and we are no safer. But Forgiven, there have been no more attacks in the US while Bush has been in office; we are fighting them there so we won’t have to fight them here. Understand one thing, the 9/11 attack was a one-time deal. It was not part of some global plot by al Qaeda to take over the United States or the world, it was designed to scare the hell out of us and it did that. The question now becomes where do we go from here?
Do we continue to pour boatloads of money into a black pit not only in America, but to every little tin-horn dictator who promises results? Unfortunately for Mr. Bush and his Neo-Con clowns, the world is more complex than their rhetoric allows. Just as our system is based on the intra-workings of many parties and agendas, so it is in any country. Every leader has to answer to someone and regardless of what they promise they still have to sell it at home. In too many cases this requires cold hard cash to grease the wheels of government, so we expect results but only based on our schema. Other countries of course have their own procedures and they often times to do not emulate ours.
For their part, Pakistani officials angrily accused the United States of refusing to sell Pakistan the advanced helicopters, reconnaissance aircraft, radios and night-vision equipment it needs.
“There have been many aspects of equipment that we’ve been keen on getting,” said Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, the Pakistani military’s chief spokesman. “There have been many delays which have hampered this war against extremists.”
But by mid-2007, the $1 billion-a-year figure became public, largely because of the objections of some military officials and defense experts who said that during an ill-fated peace treaty between the military and militants in the tribal areas in 2005 and 2006, the money kept flowing. Pakistan continued to submit receipts for reimbursement, even though Pakistani troops had stopped fighting. NY Times
Anytime our “allies” want more money they complain about how we are hampering their efforts to prosecute a war that we in fact started. Money often times used to enrich the dictators and their cronies, while the ones designed to benefit from the aid continue to go without. Do we really believe that the troops in Pakistan see Osama bin Laden as an enemy to their lives in the sense that we do? And it’s not just the “war on terror”, it is also used in the war on drugs. We expect other country’s troops to wage war on our behalf against their countrymen and crops that have been growing for centuries, all in an attempt to keep the drugs from our streets and the world’s biggest market.
We have replaced diplomacy and mutual benefit with bribery and intimidation. Is there any wonder our foreign policy is in shambles? The sad part is that the upcoming election only promises more of the same. It is time we reexamined our priorities as well as our allies and develop a foreign policy that matches the reality of the world and not the false history that we continue to try and hold on to. The world has changed, unfortunately we have not.
There are many more wrong answers than right ones, and they are easier to find – Michael Friedlander