Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Where the money goes?

As most Americans watch the broadly reported on dealing with the "fiscal cliff" and debt ceiling issues a less widely reported event occurred. The Department of Defense quietly notified Congress this month that it had "reimbursed" Pakistan nearly $700 million in an effort to "normalize" support for the Pakistani military. This payment is in addition to approximately $2 billion given to Pakistan annually for security assistance.

You may recall that there was a diplomatic breakthrough in July which reportedly caused the Pakistan government to reopen suppy lines into Afganistan after they closed these routes in November 2011 in response to a US air attack which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The US was then forced to use much longer and more expensive supply routes to support Afgan operations. In fact, since July, the Pakistani supply routes have been restricted by the Pakistanis to only about 25% of their pre November 2011 through put rates thus creating significant ongoing expense to the US despite the "diplomatic breakthrough". Rerouting supplies has cost the US an estimated $70-100 million per month because our "ally", Pakistan, has closed the routes through their country. Even when we do use the route through Pakistan we pay a toll of $250 per truck to the Pakistan government. Sustaining Afgan operations requires about 100 trucks per day.....$25,000 per day,,,,$9 million per year.

Perhaps President Obama and Speaker Boehner should look to the Afgan/Pakistan border to find about $3 billion in help to deal with the "fiscal cliff".