Stirrings of life on Capitol Hill: Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, has introduced a bill to stop distribution of $3 billion in aid that Congress appropriated for Pakistan this year until the State Department certifies that Pakistan was not harboring Osama bin Laden.
Unless it were to serve as a rubber stamp, such a bill could be a step toward long overdue accountability on Pakistan. It at least offers a way to call out the pathological inertia that drives the U.S.-Pakistani relationship not forward, but in circles, causing dizzy policy-making. Even after Pakistan appears to have been caught in flagrante delicto with Public Enemy No. 1, House Speaker John Boehner, for example, was still prattling on about Pakistan being "critical to breaking the back of al-Qaida." Like the battered spouse who can't see what's wrong with another shiner, Boehner insisted: "This is not a time to back away from Pakistan. We need more engagement, not less." He also said: "We both benefit from having a strong bilateral relationship."
He's half right. With $20 billion in U.S. aid filling Pakistani coffers since 9/11, I see how Pakistan benefits. But I don't see how the U.S. benefits -- unless "partnering" with Pakistan while it supports four militant jihad networks in and around Afghanistan, or paying Pakistan billions while it more than doubles its nuclear arsenal, are things that count as benefits. If they do, the attacks on 9/11 were a brilliant stroke of luck.
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