Monday, October 5, 2009

Pakistan's Bosses Diverted Money Earmarked for Military: No Surprise, But Quite a Disappointment

The good news, as I see it, is that Pervez Musharraf and his buddies didn't simply pocket the money.
"Billions in US aid never reached Pakistan army"
The Associated Press (October 4, 2009)

"The United States has long suspected that much of the billions of dollars it has sent Pakistan to battle militants has been diverted to the domestic economy and other causes, such as fighting India.

"Now the scope and longevity of the misuse is becoming clear: Between 2002 and 2008, while al-Qaida regrouped, only $500 million of the $6.6 billion in American aid actually made it to the Pakistani military, two army generals tell The Associated Press...."

"...'The army itself got very little,' said retired Gen. Mahmud Durrani, who was Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. under Musharraf. 'It went to things like subsidies, which is why everything looked hunky-dory. The military was financing the war on terror out of its own budget.'

"Generals and ministers say the diversion of the money hurt the military in very real ways:..."
It looks like Pervez Musharraf may have used his position as both chief of staff and president to shunt those American dollars from military programs to peaceful purposes.

Which is a nice way of saying that he spent American taxpayers' money on domestic programs to make himself look good. As an American citizen, I'm used to this sort of thing: it's standard operating procedure for that lot in Washington.

Problem is, in this case Musharraf isn't any sort of American official, and the money had been clearly intended for fairly specific military programs.

What a mess.

This is sheer speculation: but I wonder if this has anything to do with orders to shoot American soldiers who chased terrorists into Pakistan. (September 16, 2008) As I recall, the order (assuming that it was made) came from a high-ranking military officer.

At the time, it sounded like something between hyperactive patriotism and your usual anti-Americanism. Now, I wonder if maybe someone in Pakistan's brass had the idea that Yankees were in cahoots with Musharraf in keeping funds from reaching Pakistan's military - and were getting even.

Like I said, sheer speculation.

Banana Republics? I Really Don't Want to Go Back

I'm not one of these people who wax nostalgic over 'the good old days.' I remember the fifties - and they were no idyllic golden age.

And I certainly don't want to go back go thinking about 'banana republics.' We'd have a different name for them, of course, since places like Pakistan aren't particularly known for producing bananas. Maybe we could call them 'olive oligarchies.'

Whatever the countries would be called, they'd be those pathetic places with:
  • Chronically corrupt officials
  • Laws based on the whims of whoever has
    • The most thugs with loaded guns
    • Nearest the presidential palace
  • Abject poverty
    • That's the fault of the Yankees
      • Yanks are handy, that way
    • Aid packages that are either
      • Rotting on the docks or
      • Available at inflated prices on the black market
  • Changes of leadership that tend to be
    • Messy
    • Frequent
    • No improvement, one administration to the next
The only up side to having 'banana republics' is the material they provide for comedians: Like 'that country changes it's government as often as it changes its underwear.' I'm not sure we're allowed to make jokes like that, any more. They're unkind, you know.

Like I said, I really don't want to go back to thinking in those terms.

But this latest news from Pakistan - assuming that the AP's sources aren't making up the whole tale - reeks.

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1 comment:

Brigid said...

Might want to fix this sentence: "And I certainly don't want to go back go thinking about 'banana republics.'"

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.