We write this opinion piece first as an Americans, and then as an Indian Americans. Truth must be told!
Our country has 14 Trillion dollars in debt not counting the unfunded liabilities on social entitlements. Our debt is increasing by almost $ 1.5 Trillion per year. We owe more than two trillion dollars to the Chinese. 47 Cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed money. For the last three years, we have been in the worst recession since the great depression of the 30’s and our recovery is anemic at best. Jobless rate went up to 9% last month. According to the Congressional Research Service Report to Congress, the war on terror since 9/11 has cost us $ 489.5 billion, and that does not include Foreign aid to Pakistan, nor does it include the cost of CIA and FBI operations or the Iraq war or the long term veteran benefits resulting from injuries. These are just direct costs of guns, missiles, computers , planes and military payroll and do not reflect the indirect cost of 9/11 recession or long term costs. We are not even going to attempt to calculate that out, except to say that this war on terror has cost us over one trillion dollars, not to mention the Bloomberg report that pegs it at $2.5 Trillion.
After 9/11, President Bush told all nations that “either you are with us or against us”. Given the fact that Osama Bin Laden trained his terrorists in Afghanistan under the control of Taliban and Taliban itself was created by ISI, the Inter-services Intelligence arm of the Pakistan government, Pakistan had to be brought in kicking and screaming as an ally to US. These are all undisputed facts without any serious contention by anyone including Pakistani government leaders, present or past.
At the very outset, we would like to commend Mansoor Ijaz, an American Muslim of Pakistani descent, for calling spade to spade on the issue of Pakistan’s complicity in hiding and protecting the terror master mind, Osama Bin Laden. Mr. Ijaz is no ordinary citizen, he was during the 90’s a conciliator and problem solver for the heads of states of not only Pakistan and India but also the US. In a recent interview on Fox network, Mansoor called on the Pakistani Government to come clean on this issue, or lose all American foreign aid. Now that is a gutsy call from a prominent Muslim.
Let’s also get out of the way, the issue of Pakistan’s complicity regarding the $1 million Osama fortified mansion in the heart of Pakistani military town of Abbattobad, just 38 miles from the capital of Islamabad.
Leon Panetta, CIA Director and soon to be Secretary of Defense, who some believe directed the Sunday military mission with little support from President Obama, said the following to a closed door session of the House: “Pakistan was either involved or incompetent”.
Could bin Laden have taken up residence in the large, custom-built, high-security, walled compound in Abbottabad — virtually next door to Pakistan's major military academy — without Pakistan's knowledge and permission? "Almost impossible," said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.). "Impossible," declared Fox News' Greta Van Susteren. "Inconceivable," stated Obama White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan.
"Highly unlikely," said former Pakistani High Commissioner to Britain Dr. Akbar Ahmed. "Not credible," opined former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) says, "Either the Pakistani government is incompetent or in cahoots." On this issue there appears to be a rare consensus among Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, internationalists and constitutionalists, and foreign and domestic pundits and analysts. Pakistan, which has received billions of dollars in military and civilian aid from the United States and which has been billed as our key ally in the "war on terror," is playing a double game. This has been widely recognized for years but the Bin Laden compound in Abbattobad makes the duplicity undeniable. Not only is the property much larger and more extensive and expensive than anything else in the vicinity — with 12-16-ft high walls topped with barbed wire — but locals were aware that many of the people coming and going from the facility were foreigners: Arabs, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Afghanis. According to foreigners who work and travel in Pakistan, it is "not possible" to spend much time in the country — especially if one is a foreigner — without being stopped by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI. The ISI and its ubiquitous informants are ever on the lookout for spies and saboteurs, especially those of its archenemy India. And in a large military cantonment like Abbattobad foreigners would definitely not be able to build and occupy a compound of the size and nature of Bin Laden's without notice of the eyes and ears of the ISI.
In a new PBS "Frontline" documentary entitled, "Fighting for Bin Laden," that aired on May 3, Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi is filmed making a dangerous trek into Pakistan's rugged back country to interview "Khan," a veteran of the mujahideen battles against the Soviet invaders of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Khan now leads a band of younger al-Qaeda recruits who operate both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to Khan and others interviewed in the program, the government and military of Pakistan not only are well aware of the activities of these groups in their country, but also provide them considerable support.
No sane person can believe that ISI and Pakistan Government did not know about the 18 ft walled compound built in 2005 for Osama Bin Laden. As one commentator said that it would be the equivalent of John Dillinger living in a mansion right next to the FBI Hoover building and FBI not know about it.
Pakistanis themselves believe that Osama Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan. Their anger towards their Government is not for providing sanctuary to Osama, but for allowing us to violate their sovereignty.
The US Government has a written policy of not giving support to countries that give aid & comfort to our enemies. They go on the list of nations that are state sponsors of terrorism. Kind of strange how we are not following it when it comes to Pakistan who harbored an international fugitive that was responsible for the Deaths of 1000s of Americans!!!!!
There is no doubt a political divide, on both sides of the isle, exists about foreign aid to Pakistan. Let’s take a look at what some of the national figures have said on this subject.
Congressman Dana Dohrabacher (R-CA): “There are a lot of people who have understood that there has been something fundamentally wrong in our relationship with Pakistan, we keep on giving them billions of dollars in aid trusting them and we get kicked in the teeth time and time again and pretending that it is not happening”. For further information on Congressman Dohrabacher’s views on the subject, go to: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/4682593/rep-dana-rohrabacher-on-efforts-to-stop-aid-to-pakistan
Congressman Allen West (R-FL): "Unless we get a clear explanation of what the government of Pakistan knew about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, all foreign aid from American taxpayers to this nation needs to cease," "Since the Sept. 11th terrorist attack, the United States government has provided an estimated $20 billion of assistance to the government of Pakistan, Questions are arising on whether the government of Pakistan may have aided and abetted this most wanted international terrorist."
Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX): “It seems like Pakistan might be playing both sides, and they have a lot of explaining to do”, noting that bin Laden was found “in a million-dollar compound just yards away from a Pakistani military base.” “Pakistan claims no knowledge of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts,” Poe noted. “I just don’t buy it.” His bill to cut off aid to Pakistan is co-sponsored by Congressman John Culberson (R-TX) and Congressman Allen West. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ploax1l6BTY
Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX): “Foreign aid to Pakistan, though bin Laden was safely protected for 10 years in Pakistan, should make us question the wisdom of robbing American citizens to support any government around the world with foreign aid,”
Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) said in a C-SPAN interview that Pakistan’s government is “schizophrenic” and that “there were elements of Pakistan that I’m sure knew” where bin Laden was hiding out for several years before he was killed earlier this week. “The aid has got to be carefully given, only to the right forces, only for the right reasons and only in return for expected results,” he said.
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ): “Before we send another dime, we need to know whether Pakistan truly stands with us in the fight against terrorism,” he said in a statement. “Until Congress and the American public are assured that the Pakistani government is not shielding terrorists, financial aid to Pakistan should be suspended.”
Senator Carl Levin (D-NJ): "There is a real problem with continuing financial support with Pakistan when they continue to support the Haqqani network," Levin said. "These are people killing us, and it's open. It's not like bin Laden when they deny they knew bin Laden was there for five years. That was pretty hard to accept but that's what they say. They don't say they don't know where the Haqqanis are. They do know where the Haqqanis are - they're in North Waziristan."
Most opinion blogs in the US show an overwhelming support for cutting off foreign aid to Pakistan. One of such blogs, Sodahead.com, has been collecting opinions from ordinary citizens since May 3rd itself and as of the writing of this article, 81% of 495 opinions run strongly in favor of cutting off this aid. Here is what Mr. Curmudgeon wrote in an editorial piece in the Tea Party Tribune on May 3rd, 2011: "Only the more gullible among us believes Pakistan’s military and ISI intelligence service knew nothing of Bin Laden’s hideout in Abottabad, where he lived his last five years. It's well known that Pakistan provides weapons and intelligence to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan so as to kill American forces fighting there."
Now to fully understand why Pakistan’s military establishment and ISI aids the terrorists, we turn back once again to Mansoor Ijaz. After Mansoor ran into a road block when negotiating the behind the scenes deal between India and Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir, he wrote: “The key problem was finding a way to get the ISI on board for a wide-net ceasefire by reigning in its insurgents operating in the Valley. But I am now convinced that the ISI does not have an interest in ending the militancy in Kashmir. War is big business for ISI intermediaries and the money trail that funds their illicit activities leads well beyond the borders of Pakistan.” If anyone knows ISI well, it is Mansoor!
A wise man once said: “follow the money trail” whenever you are trying to investigate or solve a problem. Forget about the radical ideology everyone talks about, nobody is going to solve the terror problem until you deal with the money issue so well written by Mansoor Ijaz.
Whereas prominent congressmen and senators as written above, have called for cutting foreign aid to Pakistan, the Administration, as well as the Washington old guard, both Democrat and Republican, with a behind the scenes immense lobbying effort by Pakistan, is hesitating in taking any serious action to safeguard the interests of American public and tax-payers.
We, the tax-payers, have given almost $20 billion dollars in foreign aid to Pakistan since 9/11 and in return Pakistan hides and protects Osama Bin Laden and other terror masterminds fighting American forces all around the world and terrorizing American civilians. How do you explain to the families of our service men and women killed in Afghanistan that they pay Pakistan to get their sons and daughters killed!! It is insane.
If there ever was a question as to Al Qaeda links to the Mumbai terror attacks in India, just consider that Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, the most wanted terrorist in India as well as US, widely known for plotting the Mumbai attacks, is on the short list of contenders to succeed Osama Bin Laden as head of Al Qaeda. Pakistan has blood on its hands for the attack on Indian parliament in 2001 as well as the Mumbai terror. It is high time that Indian Americans in the US band together to have their voices heard in Congress to stop all aid to Pakistan until it takes concrete action to unequivocally join the fight on terror. As a starter, we should demand that Pakistan turn over #2 Al Qaeda leader Al-Zawahiri, Taliban Head Mulla Omar and Mohammad Kashmiri, over to the US, and stop supporting the Haqqani network operating out of Quetta in Pakistan, if Pakistan was to ever get another dime from us.
We call upon you to go to www.niac.co and send a letter to your congressman and senator to support legislation to hold Pakistan accountable for its actions. It is EASY, just four clicks of the mouse and you are done ( just getting set-up in a couple of days)