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US Aid to Pakistan is in Largely Untraceable Cash Transfers

The President finally got around to talking to Musharraf yesterday.

At his press conference in answer to the question,
"Mr. President, you came down so hard on Burma and other nations for their crackdowns on pro-democracy demonstrators. Yet you seem to be giving Musharraf a pass. So the question is why are you going so soft on Musharraf? Is there a double standard?"

PRESIDENT BUSH: I spoke to President Musharraf right before I came over here to visit with President Sarkozy. And my message was that we believe strongly in elections, and that you ought to have elections soon, and you need to take off your uniform. You can't be the President and the head of the military at the same time. So I had a very frank discussion with him.

Look, our objective is the same in Burma as it is in Pakistan, and that is to promote democracy. There is a difference, however. Pakistan has been on the path to democracy."

mnnh...Some path to democracy..Much of the legal profession in jail. No urgings by the President Bush to stop the crackdown, to restore the Constitution and the Supreme Court, or free the thousands of political prisoners. General Mush said he will hold elections in February, so that's okay, about the coup, by Bush's reckoning.

Condi had said they will review the enormous aid the US gives Pakistan since 9/11.

Immediately after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, President Bush lifted aid sanctions imposed on Pakistan and India after both countries tested nuclear weapons in 1998. Additional sanctions set against Pakistan after Musharraf seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999 were also waived.

And what about this aid? Is it like Saudi or Israeli aid, tied to purchases of made-in the-US military equipment? Not exactly,

The U.S. gives Musharraf's government about $200 million annually and his military $100 million monthly in the form of direct cash transfers. Once that money leaves the U.S. Treasury, Musharraf can do with it whatever he wants. He needs only promise in a secret annual meeting that he'll use it to invest in the Pakistani people. And whatever happens as the result of Rice's review, few Pakistan watchers expect the cash transfers to end.
And as Pakistan is considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world, the money from US taxpayers, probably ends up in the pockets of high-ranking military officiers or in the gangs or companies they run.

The armed forces also control more than a hundred private-sector companies and have placed retired officers in the upper reaches of Pakistan's major businesses and industries. Rao Khalid Mehmood, former defense correspondent (said) the military is the gateway to private-sector employment. Many people believe that "the only way to get a job is to know someone in the army".

And what about Mush's crackdown on the Islamic extremists, the terrorists, for whom we've supposedly been giving the Pakistani military money to eliminate, all these years? The results in the wake of the coup, continue to be disheartening. "Pakistani troops and police are surrendering rather than fighting the militants at the behest of a dictator beholden to the U.S".

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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