But no strings can be attached to it. Oh, no. How dare you even suggest such a thing, you insolent infidel!
“U.S. Officials See Waste in Pakistan Aid,” by David Rohde, Carlotta Gall, Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger for Associated Press (thanks to all who sent this in):
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan “” After the United States has spent more than $5 billion in a largely failed effort to bolster the Pakistani military effort against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, some American officials now acknowledge that there were too few controls over the money. The strategy to improve the Pakistani military, they said, needs to be completely revamped.
In interviews in Islamabad and Washington, Bush administration and military officials said they believed that much of the American money was not making its way to frontline Pakistani units. Money has been diverted to help finance weapons systems designed to counter India, not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, the officials said, adding that the United States has paid tens of millions of dollars in inflated Pakistani reimbursement claims for fuel, ammunition and other costs.
“I personally believe there is exaggeration and inflation,” said a senior American military official who has reviewed the program, referring to Pakistani requests for reimbursement. “Then, I point back to the United States and say we didn’t have to give them money this way.”
Indeed not. But it is we who are ungrateful, doncha know:
Pakistani officials say they are incensed at what they see as American ingratitude for Pakistani counterterrorism efforts that have left about 1,000 Pakistani soldiers and police officers dead. They deny that any overcharging has occurred.
The $5 billion was provided through a program known as Coalition Support Funds, which reimburses Pakistan for conducting military operations to fight terrorism. Under a separate program, Pakistan receives $300 million per year in traditional American military financing that pays for equipment and training.
Civilian opponents of President Pervez Musharraf say he used the reimbursements to prop up his government. One European diplomat in Islamabad said the United States should have been more cautious with its aid.
“I wonder if the Americans have not been taken for a ride,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
They of course have been.