Fair. Balanced. American.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Pakistani army

They're only good at handling the terrorism they plan themselves.

In a brazen attack on the headquarters of the Pakistani military, gunmen dressed in military fatigues stormed the heart of the nation’s army operations on Saturday, killing six people and taking 10 to 15 hostages, some of them soldiers, an army spokesman said.

Four militants were holding the hostages in a building responsible for the security of the headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, the spokesman, Gen. Athar Abbas said.

The attack was the third by Taliban militants in Pakistan last week, and is a singular embarrassment for the Pakistani Army, exposing its vulnerability to the powerful Taliban insurgency that is closely associated with Al Qaeda. It came as the military was planning a major offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan, and seemed to be a bold gesture by the militants showing that they could attack the army before the army attacked them.

American military officials, some of whom were glued to Pakistani television as the events unfolded, said they were astonished that the militants could penetrate the high-security installation to the extent that they did. Even if the military brings the situation under control, said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity, the siege represents “a major security lapse.”

Doesn't that kind of competence make you want to reward them? Perhaps to the tune of six billion dollars that Congress is about to appropriate to them? No? Maybe this report from the BBC will.

Former president Pervez Musharraf says the US military aid given to Pakistan during his tenure was used to strengthen defences against India.

The money was used to arm the troops who moved with their equipment from the western border to the east based on the perceived threats, he said.

The US gave $10bn dollars to Pakistan to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

"There is nothing like this equipment has come from the US and must only be used against Taliban, or that equipment has come from China and must be used against this or that," he added.

Mr Musharraf confirmed that the weapons were indeed used against India.

"We did right. What we did, we did right. We have to ensure Pakistan's security. From whichever side the threat comes, we will use the entire force there."

Mr Musharraf said he did not care if this diversion of aid angered the US. [...]

This is the first time Pakistan has admitted to diverting the US aid to strengthen its defences against India.

In the past, Pakistan's army has dismissed claims that aid from the US had been misappropriated.

Or maybe this report:

Only a fraction of the $6.6 billion in U.S. aid sent to Pakistan between 2002 and 2008, meant for the war on terror, has actually reached Pakistan's military, and it has India worried about how the money may have been spent.

According to a report by Associated Press, two army generals are saying that only $500 million of U.S. aid has actually made it to where it was intended, to help the Pakistan military fight the war on terror.

There were American government suspicions about where the money might have been spent. It was suspected that Musharraf, who was chief of staff and president of Pakistan at the time may have diverted the money to the domestic economy, and many other causes including fighting India, and to boost his sagging image by providing economic subsidies, says the AP report.

Ah, we were so wrong. Under George W. Bush our money did go to health care... in Pakistan!

These are Goldman Sachs' estimates for the top nations in terms of GDP in 2050 (in billions of dollars)

China: 44,453
(EU: 35,288)
USA: 35,165
India, 27,803
Japan: 6673
Brazil: 6074

That's right, India's GDP is projected to be over four times that of Japan in forty years (and equal to it much sooner, in just twenty). Given our inevitable conflicts with China, America's geopolitical options in the region will be limited. Way to piss off your most important economic ally in Asia, 40 years early!

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