Monday, November 5, 2007

Follow the Money!

The New York Times has an article detailing how the US's continued aid of Musharraf in light of his recent dissolution of just about every legal barrier to the establishment of a military dictatorship and declaration of a state of emergency, conflicts slightly with the Bush administrations rhetoric about spreading democracy.

Well, in the same story it appears that we never did actually support democracy in Pakistan:

While the total dollar amount of American aid to Pakistan is unclear, a study published in August by the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimated it to be “at least $10 billion in Pakistan since 9/11, excluding covert funds.” Sixty percent of that has gone to “Coalition Support Funds,” essentially direct payments to the Pakistani military, and 15 percent to purchase major weapons systems. Another 15 percent has been for general budget support for the Pakistani government; only 10 percent for development or humanitarian assistance.

We always supported a stronger Musharraf, and wanted above all for him to stay in power as an ally in the GWOT. They know this too:

They would rather have a stable Pakistan — albeit with some restrictive norms — than have more democracy prone to fall in the hands of extremists,” said Tariq Azim Khan, the minister of state for information. “Given the choice, I know what our friends would choose.

Its had some interesting results too. Osama Bin Laden is now registering an approval rating of 46 percent to Musharraf's 38, and leader of the secular opposition party Benazir Bhutto (a woman of all things!) is at 63. I would like to speak to someone who can make sense of a Muslim country where the electorate is split in large chunks between a theocratic fascist, a military dictator, and a female proponent of secular democracy (though I admittedly don't know Bhutto's agenda in great detail). I would be even more interested n speaking with someone who knows why we should keep pumping massive amounts of money to a leader whose commitment to our cause has been flaky, and whose help in it has been, thus far, useless.(Al-Qaeda and the Taliban remain ensconced in the mountains)

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