Over at Informed Consent, Juan Cole writes:
The [Kerry-Lugar Pakistan] aid bill is also controversial in Washington, where a US AID official has complained about the plan to funnel it through Pakistani contractors rather than through American ones. The Agency for International Development official maintained that Pakistani organizations cannot be monitored effectively by the US, raising the possibility that the money will be embezzled…
I understand the difficulty of auditing NGOs in dangerous places like the FATA tribal areas. But it seems to me that it must be possible to audit the Pakistani pass-through organizations elsewhere regularly, and that the shell game of Congress giving foreign aid to a country in a way that actually just benefits US corporations and contractors is counter-productive.
The original complaint came in the form of a “sensitive but unclassified” internal memo from US AID Development Economist C. Stuart Callison, Ph.D., criticizing the U.S. State Department’s shifts in the routing of Pakistan aid:
Continue reading “US AID guards its turf in Pakistan”
Special to The Seattle Times
By Ambreen Ali
THE U.S. media have become obsessed with Pakistan of late, fueling a sense of panic that we must do something quickly to save Pakistan from crumbling.
True, violent tragedies seem to occur in Pakistan regularly, overtaking headlines before the prior ones register. But the most important policy the U.S. can implement as Pakistan takes on big challenges is to step out of the way.
Those attacks are a sad reminder that for Pakistan’s involvement in America’s war, its citizens have paid a hefty price. For years, the U.S. has focused the Pakistani government on a border fight with Afghanistan, instead of the needs of its people.
Continue reading ““U.S. must help Pakistan provide for its people””
Last Wednesday, U.S. Senator John McCain gave a tough talk at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington D.C. think tank.
His topic was Afghanistan. His message was that the U.S. is losing the war.
The situation in Afghanistan is nowhere near as dire as it was in Iraq just two years ago … But the same truth that was apparent three years ago in Iraq is apparent today in Afghanistan: when you aren’t winning in this kind of war, you are losing. And, in Afghanistan today, we are not winning. Let us not shy from the truth, but let us not be paralyzed by it either.
Fine. Let’s not be paralyzed. But there is a way in which Sen. McCain managed to avoid discussing the same realities on the ground that everyone else seems to be avoiding.
Let’s just take one issue in particular: there is no such thing as “the” Taliban. It might make for easy reporting, but the notion of a single opposition force serves to obscure more than it reveals.
Continue reading “McCain’s Simple Narrative”