Rorhrabacher’s Attempt to Defund Pakistan Falls 335-84

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) worked himself into quite a bit of anger yesterday defending his amendment to the NDAA which was intended to cut off funding for Pakistan. He gave a remarkable performance, railing against practices by the Pakistani government which he avidly endorses when carried out by the US.

He railed against Pakistan providing haven for Osama bin Laden even though Rohrabacher actually took up arms and fought alongside the mujahideen, which included bin Laden, back in the mid-80’s when they were fighting the Soviets. He blasted Pakistan for supporting terrorists like the Haqqani network at the same time that he is agitating for the delisting of the MeK as a terrorist group. He decried the arrest and detention without charges of Dr. Shakeel Afridi, who carried out the polio vaccine ruse on behalf of the CIA at the bin Laden compound, and yet he has for years been at the forefront of advocating in favor of the prison at Guantanamo, where many remain held indefinitely without charge.

Here is how Rohrabacher described his amendment in a press release:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has introduced H.R. 5734, the “Pakistan Terrorism Accountability Act of 2012.” The legislation would require the Department of Defense to list all Americans killed by terrorist groups operating with impunity inside Pakistan and Afghanistan and supported by elements of the Pakistani government. For each person killed, $50 million would be subtracted from U.S. foreign assistance to Pakistan, a requested $2.2 billion, and given to the victim’s family.

“For too long America has funded the Pakistani government, giving it free money, while elements of the ISI and Pakistan’s military operate radical Islamic groups that are actively murdering Americans,” said Rohrabacher. “Americans will not accept this.” 

“Pakistan has for decades leveraged radical terrorist groups to carry out attacks in India and Afghanistan,” continued Rohrabacher. “Pakistan helped to create the Taliban and Pakistan’s intelligence service hid Osama Bin Laden from the U.S. for years. Today, one of the most dangerous and sophisticated groups killing American troops in Afghanistan is the Haqqani Network, which is closely operated by the Pakistani government.” 

I suppose it’s too much to hope for that someone who operates on the fringes of American politics might realize that the Pakistani government is not a monolith that always acts with all of its participants working together for the same outcome. Rather than supporting those within Pakistan who will advance US interests, Rohrabacher wants to punish all of Pakistan because of those who work against US interests.

Rohrabacher’s attempt at lead pipe diplomacy has failed miserably, going down by a vote of 335 to 84.  Here is how Pakistan Today described the outcome:

Dashing Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s drastic designs, the US Congress on Thursday turned down the bill proposing curbs on American aid to Pakistan.

/snip/

The House of representative rejected the bill as 335 votes were cast against the bill while 84 in favour. Pakistan ambassador to US, Sherry Rehman played an active role against the bill.

At least he did a better job pronouncing Balochistan

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5 replies
  1. ondelette says:

    Well, in addition to pronouncing Balochistan better, he is right that “elements of the ISI and Pakistan’s military operate radical Islamic groups”, and that, “Pakistan has for decades leveraged radical terrorist groups to carry out attacks in India and Afghanistan,” and that, “Pakistan helped to create the Taliban.”

    The question is what to do about it, not whether you can cleave the Pakistani government into good Pakistanis and bad Pakistanis, the way previous administrations have talked about moderate and extreme elements of previous foreign governments. (What an echo of Reagan!)

    Pakistan has had a state policy of exporting violent groups for decades. A decade ago, mixed with the Saudi state policy of exporting radical Islam by dually trying to standardize Islam to their rigid Wahhabism and banishing their problem children, it became something the rest of the world saw as lethal. The question isn’t whether we can work only with those Pakistanis who aren’t in on it, the question is how to stop it.

    Rohrabacher’s solution isn’t the right one, in fact it’s kind of ridiculous, but what is?

  2. Jim White says:

    @ondelette: For starters, if we didn’t have any troops in the area, it wouldn’t matter who is funding the attackers because targeting us would be a lot harder. Not sure how we get there from where we are now, but that’s the only way I see things getting better.

  3. Dawn Lyons says:

    Gotta agree w ondelette and Jim W. This would all be a whole lot simpler for us and more comfortable for Pakistanis, if we would just get t’hell out of there.

    I have always believed, and my life has demonstrated, that ‘if there is a will, there is a way.’. So, if this is not happening, could be b/c there is no will? Can anyone explain? Who is gaining by this shit?

  4. ondelette says:

    @Jim White: I guess so, but what the Pakistanis do has global reach as well. Sitting in the U.S. with our heads in the sand isn’t a viable policy either. Milliken’s Multifiber Textile Act wasn’t very good for the Pakistanis and that was entirely pushed as a U.S. jobs protection bill. Giving the Chinese the Pakistani markets in finished clothing after the Pakistan flood was entirely the U.S. corporate 1%ers here in the U.S. and that wasn’t very good for Pakistan either. When people don’t have jobs in Pakistan and the Taliban and al Qaeda are paying top dollar, whose jobs do you think they’re going to take, whether we’re there or not?

    But yeah, it’s all the military’s fault, and has nothing to do with Pakistan’s corrupt elite or America’s race-for-the-bottom capitalists.

    Newsflash people: Pakistan has been launching cross-border Islamic groups since the 1940s. Anyone who thinks they were put up to it for the first time by the CIA 35 years later is just a fucking idiot. Meanwhile, the country is in shambles from too many military dictatorships, too few basic services, and too many personality cults. Public education is guaranteed to 2nd grade. The elite grind the peasant sharecroppers so bad that when the floodwaters receded, many IDPs didn’t want to return to the land because they were afraid of what would happen to them. The TTP get footholds not because of drones but because they promise more justice than the Pakistani government with its corrupt and broken court system and a police force that is known for bribery and graft. And all because the country sustains itself on one thought: Hatred of India. Not a formula for a viable nation-state.

    And that’s the real reason Rohrabacher’s solution won’t work. Because the country needs simultaneously to be contained and coddled. Cajoled and treated like a wounded animal. Its poor lack human rights. Its middle class lacks the foreign investment to take off and pull the country up. Its parliament loses itself in endless debate on topics of honor while the parliamentarians personal lives are so lacking in honor as to make a joke of the whole thing.

    Meanwhile, it sends suicide bombers to Kabul under threats that it will kill their families, and builds nuclear weapons. It is not a benign threat, it was Pakistan which instituted the opium farming and heroin trade in Afghanistan. Iran is paying dearly for that. Do you think they like it? What will the region do? Who knows. But this isn’t some kind of CARS conflict, and it won’t be over because the U.S. leaves. Because it isn’t Vietnam. The decolonization era was over several decades ago. So was the cold war.

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