Top 10 Reasons to Kick Pakistan Off the Dole
What does it take for a country to be kicked off the U.S. foreign aid dole? We might soon be learning the answer to that question, thanks to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and its consistent efforts to antagonize the United States and oppose our interests. Recently, the U.S. Congress voted to reduce Pakistan’s aid because of our “ally’s” decision to convict a Pakistani doctor for “treason” for helping the U.S. find Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. The doctor is named Shakil Afridi, and he was recruitedby the CIA to run a fake Hepatitis-B vaccination program in Abbottabad to acquire a DNA sample from one of bin Laden’s children in the compound where he was hiding.
Interestingly enough, an investigation by a former member of the Pakistani army has concluded that Afridi probably didn’t even know he was helping the CIA find bin Laden specifically, but the Pakistanis still convicted him, and are now busy trashing his reputation. If the congressional vote stands, the $1 billion going to Pakistan this year in U.S. aid will be $33 million less, one for each year that the doctor was sentenced to. The Obama administration originally requested more than $2 billion, but Congress eventually cut this in half. This is small change overall, though, as since 9/11 alone, the United States has given Pakistan a total of more than $20 billion in foreign aid.
As I see it, this is just a baby step. The U.S. needs to make a complete cutoff of all U.S. aid to Pakistan. There are so many different reasons the U.S. should stop its aid to Pakistan that it is hard to list all of them. But, in the spirit of David Letterman, here is my “Top Ten” list of reasons to stop providing foreign aid to Pakistan.
1. At least some of Pakistan’s government officials deliberately and/or knowingly sheltered (see: here and here) Osama Bin Laden, the head of the terrorist Islamist group al-Qaeda and the mass murderer of over 3000 Americans. This reason alone merits the end of U.S. aid.
2. Pakistan’s cooperation in the U.S.-led “War on Terror” and invasion of Afghanistan has been tepid, at best. See: the case of Dr. Afridi; Pakistan’s decision to cut U.S. supply lines for the Afghan war, unless the U.S. apologizes for drone attacks that have targeted terrorists in Pakistan and pays a hefty ransom; Pakistan’s intelligence ties to Islamist terrorists; Pakistan’s army’s consistent “mistaken” attacks on U.S. and other NATO helicopters, which, considering that the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces have no helicopters, can’t really be written off as a mistake; Secretary Clinton’s admission that Ayman al-Zawahiri, who inherited the al-Qaeda leadership after bin Laden’s death, is also hiding “somewhere in Pakistan”; Pakistan’s imprisonment of an American contractor for murder and blasphemy until more than $2 million in blood money was paid, presumably by the U.S.
3. Pakistan has been the foremost supplier of nuclear technology to such rogue states as Iran and North Korea.
4. Pakistan is a corrupt, authoritarian oligarchy. It alternates between quasi-democrat rule and military rule. Many of its more prominent leaders, including its best known democratically elected prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, have been assassinated. Many of them also have enriched themselves while in office. Its current prime minister, Gilani, was recently held for contempt of court for his willful flouting of court instructions to assist in the investigation of old cases of money laundering against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
5. Pakistan does not respect human rights, especially religious rights. For one example, look at their use of blasphemy prosecutions to discriminate against religious minorities and settle personal scores, which I have already written about here. Nothing more really needs to be said, except that things have only gotten worse.
6. Pakistan has become an incubator of terrorism, as its territory has a significant number of Islamist teaching religious schools, i.e. madrassas, and terrorist training camps, which together crank out terrorist after terrorist. The madrassas are often sponsored by money from Saudi Arabia and – surprise, surprise – teach Wahhabism to the new generation. There is a reason that many terrorists and would-be terrorist are found to have gone for “vacation” to Pakistan and/or Afghanistan.
7. Pakistan is – as always – belligerent towards its archenemy, the neighboring, more democratic state of India. The U.S. has an increasing interest in aligning itself with India. Pakistan is dangerously paranoid about its bigger neighbor. Elements in Pakistan have already sponsored or assisted terrorist attacks in India, most spectacularly the Mumbai massacre of 2008. And, of course, Pakistan only developed its own nuclear weapons because of India’s decision to do so. However, unlike Pakistan, India does not export them to rogue regimes. Not surprisingly, the U.S. alliance with Pakistan has impeded our developing relationship with India.
9. Pakistan is likely to become a failed state.
10. Supporting Pakistan makes us look stupid and weak to other states, for the reasons outlined above.
As I stated before, this list is not all inclusive – there are other reasons not to supply U.S. money to Pakistan. For instance, did you know that Pakistan is a growing participant in the smuggling of opium to the U.S and the world? Also, the Cold War, which originally prompted our alliance with Pakistan, is long over, but we continue to act as if Pakistan is a crucial ally.
Considering our increasing deficits and debts, does the U.S. really have the money to waste on false friends like Pakistan? The answer is, obviously, no. Let’s cut them off now, before they do something else we regret.
Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). He was former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law.