I no longer feel that we can honestly call Pakistan an ally. Recently Two truck drivers were burned alive in an attack on fuel tankers heading to Afghanistan. Additionaly NATO forces launched attacks into Pakistan in attempts to eliminate terrorist threats. Taking these two events into consideration, let’s examine Pakistan’s response. Pakistani Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani lodged a formal protest over the border incursions. Frankly, I don’t understand why the United States has failed to inform President Zardari of Pakistan that, if he wants our support — which he needs — then he should start cooperating. Former President Musharraf showed a much greater support for the war on terrorism, especially against the Taliban, than Zardari has. Not to mention Zardari has been working more to strengthen ties with China than with the United States.
Not only do convoys traveling from Pakistan to Afghanistan have to worry about terrorist threats from abroad, but now Pakistan has also become a fertile breeding ground for new terrorists. Osama bin Laden has railed against the United States and Pakistani governments because they have not provided the necessary flood relief. He is attempting to turn the people of Pakistan against their government and us — and all that Pakistan can say is that they have to “take a stand” against NATO and U.S. trespasses. Ironically, almost half of the flood relief aid, $350 million, has come from the United States. Maybe bin Laden would like to inform the Pakistani people how much he has helped them.
However, Osama bin Laden did make a good point, which is very rare. He said that if governments were to spend “one percent of what is spent on armies” on humanitarian aid and relief efforts, then the poor of the world would have their lives altered drastically. I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. I believe that instead of trying to deal with the mulish leader of Pakistan, we should be dealing directly with the Pakistanis affected by the flood. I’m envisioning air drops of necessary supplies and materials from helicopters that are painted red, white and blue and have U.S.A. written on every one.
The United States needs to launch a media campaign showing how much assistance we are providing the innocent victims of this terrible flood. This would entail redirecting some funds (that would probably be spent on building more bombs that we’ll never use) to humanitarian relief efforts.
However, I feel that this would be a minimal cost in the long run, because having an entire country of upset people side with you, rather than against you, is something that all countries should desire. We need to keep them on our side and not let Osama bin Laden turn them against us. And though the money spent on this might not necessarily fight terrorists in the usual sense (with guns and bombs), preventing bin Laden from succeeding in his quest to win the hearts of Pakistani flood victims would still be a military victory for the United States.
This humanitarian aid effort should be executed without the assistance, or even permission, of the Pakistani government. This needs to be the United States showing the Pakistani people that we are there, that the United States is a presence in Pakistan and that we will assist them in any way we can, even if their own government does not want to cooperate with us.
While we are helping the flood victims, we should also strengthen our military presence in Pakistan in order to prevent unnecessary attacks on U.S. troops within Pakistan’s borders. We have the right to protect our troops, whether Zardari’s government is opposed to it or not. Or there’s always that other alternative for hunting down terrorists who plan assaults against the United States in foreign countries – the CIA.
The points I’m making are these: If Osama bin Laden thinks he can convince people in foreign countries that the United States is staunchly opposed, or even reluctant, to helping them, then we should show him that he is sorely mistaken. If President Zardari and his government believe that they can tell us or NATO that we cannot combat terrorism within Pakistan, then they are delusional.