Um, why is Washington cutting Pakistan another check after it was revealed that only $500 million out of previous $6.6 billion package actually went toward fighting Taliban and other terrorists? Obama appears determined to continue the Bush administration’s failed policies of the past, even as the AP reports that the aid we are sending Pakistan is being misused for other things unrelated to protecting U.S. forces in the region (like fighting India). It goes unstated that several Pakistani politicians are probably lining their pockets with America’s largesse. Even if there are strings attached, cutting Pakistan a blank check is just bad policy.
Yet that’s only the tip of the Pakistani iceberg. Predator/Reaper drone strikes are up, a short-term tactic that risks losing the ever-important war for locals’ hearts and minds.
Pakistan continues to be the primary obstacle in the region to greater peace. I remember a few years back, covering a lecture by President Pervez Musharraf who was on his “book tour” of the United States. He was feted by the press, made a Daily Show appearance, and was the talk of the town in New York. Yet he had just made a deal with the devil—he had basically cut a deal with Taliban elders in the northwest regions not to intervene if they brought some semblance of stability. Only recently he has admitted he was wrong to make such a deal but where was the pushback from U.S. officials then, when all this was going on and we were blindly backing Musharraf? I ask because we risk making the same mistakes again, with nothing to show for our billions of aid.
Meanwhile the U.S. company that will be showered with money to provide our diplomats there with security, DynCorp, cannot even keep its own employees in Afghanistan from overdosing on drugs. They are supposed to be there to train Afghan forces, not toke up every night. The company, according to the New York Times, “is being used by Washington to develop a parallel network of security and intelligence personnel within Pakistan.” There is a review underway by the Pakistani government. Between the predator strikes, the blank checks, and Dyncorp, the Obama administration’s Pakistan policy stinks to high-heaven.