Saturday, June 2, 2007

Can We Get Our Money Back?

I was out looking at the blogs. The Dhivestan Report has a post reporting how a Christian in Pakistan is being punished for being a Christian. I know Pakistan is a big recipient of our taxpayer dollars, so I decided to get an idea how much we are paying them to oppress Christians.

In an article entitled US military aid up 50 percent post-September 11 at the Middle East Times we begin to get a glimpse of how much money Pakistan gets from the US:

May 23, 2007

WASHINGTON -- US military aid to foreign countries has increased by 50 percent since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, according to a new study.

The top beneficiary is Pakistan, a key ally in the Afghan war and the campaign against Al Qaeda. Pakistan rocketed from receiving $9 million in military aid in the three years prior to 9/11 to receiving $4.2 billion in the three years after the terrorist attacks, going from 56th on the list of military aid to No. 3.

Israel and Egypt retained their positions on the list at first and second, respectively.

The Center for Public Integrity's International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the results of a yearlong investigation by 10 reporters around the world on how US military and foreign aid has shifted since the terror attacks.

It found that, despite controversial human rights records, countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, and Djibouti received billions in additional military aid.

Here are some March 15, 2007, comments from Richard A. Boucher, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, made to the press in Islamabad, Pakistan, entitled The U.S.- Pakistan Relationship Remains Strong:

I think I ought to start off by just giving you the news.

I am pleased to announce that during my visit I was able to confirm today, to the government of Pakistan, that we will be providing $750 million over the next five years to support the tribal area development strategy. This is a good plan. It is a comprehensive plan to provide economic development, education, and other opportunities to the people who live in the border regions of Pakistan, the tribal areas in particular.

We are very pleased to be able to support it. The President has said we would. And I was able to confirm that we are going ask our Congress for the funding. And indeed we have asked our Congress to make an adjustment to the budget this year and put another $110 million into the State Department account so that we can use that with money we already have so that we reach this figure of $150 million a year.

In addition, the Defense Department has asked for authority to spend $75 million this year to support the military development and transformation of the Frontier Corps. This is another important project that the Pakistani government has underway that we are going to be supporting over time.

That, of course, is just one recent installment of US payments. One source shows the following figures for what Pakistan has been receiving from the US (notice the jump after 9/11):

USD 698 Million for 2006
USD 537 Million for 2005
USD 387 Million for 2004
USD 305 Million for 2003
USD 893 Million for 2002
USD 3 Million for 2001

For a breakdown on where this money has been going, you can check out the USAID.GOV website, specifically here and here.

Why does Pakistan get so much?

As the US Embassy in Islamabad explains,

The Administration remains committed to the aid levels proposed for Pakistan. In 2003, President Bush announced that the United States would provide Pakistan with $3 billion in economic and military aid over 5 years. This assistance package commenced during Fiscal Year (FY) 2005.

Pakistan remains a vital and important friend and ally of the U.S. Our two nations cooperate in a wide number of important areas and share common interests, including the global war on terror.

Of course, considering how Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence is involved in both heroin trafficking and holy war, I can't help but wonder how good an ally Pakistan really is. In other words, are we getting our money's worth?

Pakistan's $4.2 Billion 'Blank Check' for U.S. Military Aid: After 9/11, funding to country soars with little oversight

WASHINGTON — In the three years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. military aid to Pakistan soared to $4.2 billion, compared to $9.1 million in the three years before the attacks — a 45,000 percent increase — boosting Pakistan to the top tier of countries receiving this type of funding.

More than half of the new money was provided through a post-9/11 Defense Department program — Coalition Support Funds — not closely tracked by Congress.

This is a key finding of an investigative study by the Center for Public Integrity, using data assembled through Freedom of Information Act requests. Pakistan received $2.3 billion of post-9/11 aid from CSF money in fiscal years 2002 through 2004, a total that surpassed $3 billion in 2005. Not only did this earn it the No. 1 rank among nations receiving CSF money, but Pakistan's take was nearly four times as much as all other countries combined received by 2005.

"With the possible exception of Iraq reconstruction funds, I've never seen a larger blank check for any country than for the Pakistan CSF program," Tim Rieser, the majority clerk on the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, told the Center.

CSF money has continued to flow despite growing U.S. concerns over Pakistan's assistance in the global war on terror, and the Congressional Research Service estimates Pakistan's total take of CSF through August 2006 at $4.75 billion.

It's significant that others are questioning the actions and loyalties of this "ally" of ours. Still, our money just keeps flowing to Islamabad:

The administration has requested an additional $1 billion in CSF funding for coalition partners as part of the Defense Department's 2007 emergency budget supplemental request. Congress is currently debating the proposal.

Just where does Pakistan rank in receiving US money?

Pakistan's flood of CSF money made it the third largest recipient of all U.S. military aid and assistance in the three years after 9/11; it trailed only Israel and Egypt. Before 9/11, the South Asian nation received less military aid and assistance from the U.S. than Estonia or Panama, largely because of U.S. sanctions imposed as punishment for Pakistan's covert pursuit of a nuclear weapons program revealed in 1998.

A recent study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimates the total value of all American aid, including military, economic, and development assistance, to Pakistan since 9/11 at more than $10 billion.

Ten billion dollars since late 2001 to a nation that runs heroin, trains and supports terrorists, and has been developing nuclear weapons and sharing that technology with other nations!

In return for American largesse, Pakistan has become a key U.S. ally in its global war on terror. Since 2001, the country has allowed the U.S. to use air bases in anti-terrorism operations, provided access to logistics facilities in Pakistan, shared intelligence, helped identify and detain citizens who may have been involved in terrorism, and tightened the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan by deploying up to 80,000 Pakistani troops.

But the border remains porous, and Vice President Dick Cheney recently met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to complain that Pakistan was not doing enough to halt the flow of insurgents. In January this year, the House of Representatives set out to place conditions on continued U.S. support to Pakistan, calling for greater oversight on Pakistan's actions against insurgents based in Pakistan and progress on holding free elections. The White House opposes the House restrictions.

Even Cheney is not satisfied with what we've been getting in return. Yet, the Bush Administration battles Congressional efforts to clean up the program, rather than battling Pakistani hypocrisy.

As I look at International Campaign to Stop Honour Killings for today, eight of the thirty front-page stories are from Pakistan (although a couple appear to be reporting the same incident).

Mr. President, this deal you have worked with your ally in the War on Terror... is there any way we can get our money back?

1 comment:

Shimmy said...

Buy our toothpaste or you'll be waterboarded!