A number of media reports state that the U.S. gave Pakistan $1.5 billion dollars in aid last year. Other media reports quoting Congressional estimates suggest the U.S. gave $18 billion to $19 billion to Pakistan since 9/11.
But those figures actually underestimate what U.S. taxpayers spent on Pakistan.
The U.S. gave $20.7 billion in military and economic development aid to Pakistan from fiscal 2002 through fiscal 2011, according to a new report that FOX Business has obtained that was issued by specialists in South Asian Affairs for the Congressional Research Service [CRS] to Congress on May 6.
The report also shows that the U.S. gave Pakistan $1.3 billion in 2003 and 2004 to help cancel an earlier $1.5 billion debt Pakistan owed U.S. taxpayers. The U.S. gave $4.46 billion to Pakistan in fiscal 2010. The Administration purportedly wants to lift Pakistan’s 2012 total aid to $3.4 billion from the $2.96 billion CRS says has been requested for 2012.
An increasingly hot debate is growing in Congress over whether the taxpayer spigot should stay open for this nuclear state after Usama bin Laden, the serial mass murder who orchestrated the attacks on 9/11 and a number of other mass casualty attacks, was shot dead in a fiery raid at his compound that sat just about a football field’s distance from the front gate of Pakistan’s top military academy and its military-intelligence complex in Abbottabad.
The new findings about U.S. aid to Pakistan come as Congress is embroiled in a fight over the U.S.’s record deficit spending, as the White House weighs raising taxes in order to finance the interest costs on the $14 trillion-plus federal deficit.
U.S. tax dollars will continue to be doled out through programs for Pakistan’s general economic support, agriculture, infrastructure, for food, for building houses, hospitals and roads, for disaster aid, as well as for counternarcotics and nuclear non proliferation, among other things, CRS notes.
The U.S. gave Pakistan $14.2 billion in total military related aid, $8.9 billion of which came out of the Pentagon’s budget (in a footnote CRS says this is technically not foreign assistance, its "is Pentagon funding to reimburse Pakistan for its support of U.S. military operations; it is technically not foreign assistance.") Out of that $14.2 billion, other expenditures were for things like counterinsurgency and financial support for its military.
The balance, $6.5 billion, was spent on development assistance, disaster and refugee aid, and food and health, among other things.
Foreign aid spending on nations such as Pakistan is increasingly coming into question in Washington, due to the fact that since January 2007, the U.S. has added more than $5 trillion in new spending to the federal deficit.
That sum is equal to the economies of Russia and Germany combined. The Administration and Congress have justified the record spending to rescue the U.S. out of the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, and to battle a jobless rate that still stubbornly hovers around 9%.
Earlier this year, Standard & Poor’s for the first time rendered a negative outlook on the U.S. debt, due to lack of a fiscal plan to fix it.
The International Monetary Fund has already issued a negative forecast on the U.S.’s debt picture. Bill Gross of Pimco, which runs the world’s largest bond fund, is now shorting U.S. Treasurys, and Jim Rogers, the veteran investor and commodity bull, told Reuters he may start shorting Treasurys as well. Rogers co-founded the Quantum Fund with billionaire investor George Soros four decades ago.
U.S. officials were stunned to find that bin Laden had been living for up to six years at his fortified compound in Abbottabad, which sits about sixty miles from Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. The town is heavily populated by Pakistani military and security officials.
That discovery shed new light on the tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer aid given to Pakistan since 9/11. An increasing number of U.S. officials now say what many have known all along, that Pakistan’s government is guilty of playing both sides.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said at a press briefing recently about Pakistan: "You can't trust them and you can't abandon them."
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has introduced a bill to cut off aid to Pakistan, noting in a statement that the successful raid to “kill Osama Bin Laden made it clear that Pakistan’s leadership concealed, protected and enabled the al-Qaeda leader for many years.”
Rohrabacher adds in his statement: “We can no longer afford this foolishness. The time has come for us to stop subsidizing those who actively oppose us. Pakistan has shown itself not to be America’s ally.”
Rohrabacher’s bill spells out “several accounts of Pakistan’s duplicitous behavior toward the United States,” his statement reads.
And Rep. Rohrabacher quotes the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, who has said the Pakistani intelligence service has had a long relationship with the Haqqani terror group that is right now “killing Americans” in Afghanistan.
Rep. Rohrabacher also cites an incident 1998, where Pakistan’s military and intelligence services were alleged to have “facilitated the transfer of an unexploded American Tomahawk missile recovered by the Taliban, to Communist China. The Chinese were then able to reverse engineer the missile and dissect its components allowing them to learn its vulnerabilities and defeat its capabilities.”
In light of that, Rep. Rohrabacher is demanding Pakistan immediately return the tail of a “specially configured” stealth U.S. Special Forces helicopter that crashed during last week’s raid in Abbottabad. Rohrabacher fears that Pakistan will give the helicopter tail to the Chinese military, which he says is already “buying, building, and stealing the necessary military technology to challenge the United States.”
Robert Lamb, a former Pentagon strategist now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Hill newspaper in a telephone interview that the U.S. might consider putting restrictions on aid to Pakistan similar to the strings the U.S. put on aid to Colombia in its war against drug traffickers and narco terrorists.
Lamb said: “By and large, those requirements helped improve the behavior of many in the Colombian military and marginalized human-rights abuses. The effect was to help create a more professional military.”
Elizabeth MacDonald joined FOX Business Network (FBN) as stocks editor in September 2007.
Follow Elizabeth MacDonald on Twitter @LizMacDonaldFOX.