U.S. Needs To Reevaluate Relationship With Pakistan
The notion that no one knew bin Laden was hiding in his compound for over five years is ludicrous. There were enough suspicious signals to raise attention of people in the surrounding area.
The compound was walled and had no telephone lines connected to it. According to surrounding villagers, if children lost a ball over the walls of the compound, they were paid in reimbursement rather than be allowed in the compound to retrieve the ball. As additional details of the raid were made public, it became more and more clear that someone must have known.
Top Pakistani government officials denied having known anything about bin Laden’s whereabouts and criticized the United States for violating Pakistan’s sovereignty in the raid. Having utterly embarrassed itself as a nation, Pakistan is in no position to criticize the United States for ridding the world of one of its most evil and dangerous men.
Many, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, believe that the top-level officials in the Pakistani government had no idea about bin Laden’s compound. Yet it is inconceivable that at least a handful of lower level officials and military generals did not have any knowledge of it. For many years, we were told that bin Laden would be hiding in a cave somewhere along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The fact that one of our supposed closest allies might have been harboring him for years merits thorough investigation and inquiry.
We should start, as many senators have already proposed, with eliminating or at least drastically reducing our foreign aid to Pakistan.
President Obama has proposed giving Pakistan $1.2 billion in aid next year in order to train their counterinsurgency forces. This is absolutely absurd. While the Pakistanis have given us plenty of lip service in support of our struggle against terrorism, they have constantly failed to prove themselves as valuable allies. The fact that bin Laden was hiding quite comfortably in a well-guarded compound mere miles away from Pakistan’s most prominent military base should be the final straw. We must severely draw down the amount of aid we give to Pakistan in order to show them that the United States will not be taken advantage of.
We have been giving Pakistan billions of dollars in aid since 9/11, and we have seen limited returns on our investment. In all likelihood, Pakistan has spent the majority of our aid in building up its vast nuclear arsenal, not fighting terrorism. Pakistan does not worry about terrorists, but instead fears the omnipresent specter of India, its great enemy. The Pakistanis distrust us and believe that we are conspiring with the Indians against them. Clearly, Pakistan has withheld information from us regarding their harboring of terrorists. The only question is how much information they have kept secret.