Monday, May 21, 2007

Hidden Cost Of The GWOT #419: Diplomatic Cover -- 'They Send Us A Bill, And We Just Pay It'

U.S. Pays Pakistan to Fight Terror, but Patrols Ebb according to David E. Sanger and David Rhode in the New York Times:
WASHINGTON, May 19 — The United States is continuing to make large payments of roughly $1 billion a year to Pakistan for what it calls reimbursements to the country’s military for conducting counterterrorism efforts along the border with Afghanistan, even though Pakistan’s president decided eight months ago to slash patrols through the area where Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters are most active.
Now that's cool, isn't it? They don't even have to go patrolling anymore, but we still give them money! It makes a lot of sense to me!
The monthly payments, called coalition support funds, are not widely advertised.
That's understandable, wouldn't you say? I wouldn't advertise it either.
Buried in public budget numbers, the payments are intended to reimburse Pakistan’s military for the cost of the operations. So far, Pakistan has received more than $5.6 billion under the program over five years, more than half of the total aid the United States has sent to the country since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, not counting covert funds.
Five point six billion? Meaningless! Less than one percent of the GWOT!! Chump change!
Some American military officials in the region have recommended that the money be tied to Pakistan’s performance in pursuing Al Qaeda and keeping the Taliban from gaining a haven from which to attack the government of Afghanistan. American officials have been surprised by the speed at which both organizations have gained strength in the past year.
Why should the money be conditional? Pakistan pretends to be our ally in the bogus Global War On Terror. We're making trillions of dollars. What's the problem?
But Bush administration officials say no such plan is being considered, despite new evidence that the Pakistani military is often looking the other way when Taliban fighters retreat across the border into Pakistan, ignoring calls from American spotters to intercept them.
Exactly. And besides, we can't let anything happen to Pervez Musharraf. He's one indispensable element, that's for sure!
There is also at least one American report that Pakistani security forces have fired in support of Taliban fighters attacking Afghan posts.

The administration, according to some current and former officials, is fearful of cutting off the cash or linking it to performance for fear of further destabilizing Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who is facing the biggest challenges to his rule since he took power in 1999.
Good one! "took power" is Right! This is why Gwynne Dyer calls Musharraf's Pakistan "a one-bullet regime" -- it makes perfect sense to give them billions of dollars, whenever they need it. Who needs a nuclear-armed rogue state on the border of their Imperial Ambitions? Not us!!
The White House would not directly answer the question of why Pakistan is being paid the same very large amount after publicly declaring that it is significantly cutting back on its patrols in the most important border area.
I wouldn't answer that question, either. Would you?

Or else I might just say: "Come on! Who do you think you are, and what do you think you're asking for? Accountability? Get real! It's only a few billion dollars! And besides, who cares?"
“They send us a bill, and we just pay it,” said a senior military official who has dealt extensively with General Musharraf. “Nobody can really explain what we are getting for this money or even where it’s going.”
So that's just about perfect, isn't it? You could call it nuclear blackmail, if you like. I wouldn't be in a position to disagree. But I see it a shade differently.

Let's say a middle-aged man of questionable orientation wants to cavort with the young buckaroos. He needs some hot hetero cover, so he'll hire a high-end call-girl to hang on his arm.

It's easy money for her; perfect, in fact. She doesn't mind that he doesn't want her, 'cause she thinks he's a pig.

And he only cares about his image, so the fact that she's along for the ride is all that matters!

She doesn't actually need to wear a banner saying "My very presence -- on the arm of this despicable swine -- legitimizes the GWOT!"