Time to Cut Off Pakistan

Why is the U.S. government continuing to send billions of taxpayer dollars to Pakistan?

One way to give the economy a shot in the arm would be to stop sending huge sums of money to a nation that quite clearly is no longer our ally, if it ever was.  The latest confirmation of this came Saturday, when the Pakistani parliament threatened to cut off NATO access to a transit facility used to get troops into Afghanistanin in retaliation for the American commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

One might reasonably have assumed that the Pakistani government, which has received well over a billion dollars a year from the United States since 9/11 in order to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban, would be embarrassed by the fact that bin Laden was discovered on its soil, clearly enjoying—for years—the protection of highly placed Pakistani officials.  In response to that embarrassment, it would have been reasonable to expect the Pakistani government to start working hard to demonstrate its trustworthiness to the Americans, to show them that all the money that the U.S. has poured into Pakistan has not been wasted, and that as it continues to flow, it will not be wasted.

Instead, Pakistan’s parliament not only threatened to cut off NATO’s access to the transit facility, but called for its working agreement with the United States to be reviewed.  It was illustrative of where Pakistan stands in the fight against the global jihad, and where it has stood since Sept. 11, 2001.  The U.S. has paid billions to Pakistan since then in order to aid its government’s fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.  It has been revealed, however, that much of that money has gone to those same organizations, and that the ISI, Pakistan’s spy service, has significant ties with al-Qaeda.

And in light of that, it’s clear that the Pakistani parliament’s call for a review of Pakistan’s working agreement with the U.S. is a great idea.  The U.S. should be reviewing it too, but instead President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others have reaffirmed Pakistan’s supposed value as an ally, and minimized the damage done by the revelations of how the Pakistanis sheltered bin Laden for so many years.

Estimates differ as to how long bin Laden lived in his now-famous compound.  The British Telegraph has reported that the Pakistani government had sheltered him for 10 years, and that “American diplomats were told that one of the key reasons they had failed to find bin Laden was that Pakistan’s security services tipped him off whenever U.S. troops approached.”  Indian journalist Chidanand Rajghatta noted that “the finger of suspicion is now pointing squarely at the Pakistani military and intelligence for sheltering and protecting Osama bin Laden.  … The coordinates of the action and sequence of events indicate that the al-Qaida fugitive may have been killed in an ISI safe house.”

Instead of bristling with indignation and threatening its sugar daddy, the Pakistani government needs to come clean.  It strains credulity to the breaking point to imagine that Pakistani officials, including the president, didn’t know that bin Laden was in the country, and in a safe house near Pakistan’s military academy.  The circumstances of bin Laden’s last years and death indicate that Pakistan has been an even more unreliable and two-faced ally than anyone has realized up to now—and that is saying a great deal.  It has now been several years since a report from the London School of Economics documented how Pakistani military intelligence was aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan, and was actually represented in the Taliban’s governing apparatus.

The fantasy-based policy making that has counted Pakistan as a U.S. ally for so many years has been thoroughly discredited.  Yet no one in Washington is making any move to change our failed approach to affairs with this rogue state.  It is the height of stupidity for the U.S. to continue to put itself in the position of being played for a fool and used as a cash cow by a Pakistani government that is more obviously than ever in league with our enemies.

Why should we fund those who are aiding and abetting the forces that wish to destroy us?  It is long past time to cut off Pakistan.