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cal04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 09:15 PM
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Plan Would Use Antiterror Aid on Pakistani Jets
Source: NYTimes

The Bush administration plans to shift nearly $230 million in aid to Pakistan from counterterrorism programs to upgrading that countrys aging F-16 attack planes, which Pakistan prizes more for their contribution to its military rivalry with India than for fighting insurgents along its Afghan border.

Some members of Congress have greeted the proposal with dismay and anger, and may block the move. Lawmakers and their aides say that F-16s do not help the counterterrorism campaign and defy the administrations urgings that Pakistan increase pressure on Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in its tribal areas.

The timing of the action also caught lawmakers off guard, prompting some of them to suspect that the deal was meant to curry favor with the new Pakistani prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, who will meet with President Bush in Washington next week, and to ease tensions over the 11 members of the Pakistani paramilitary forces killed in an American airstrike along the Afghan border last month.

The financing for the F-16s would represent more than two-thirds of the $300 million that Pakistan will receive this year in American military financing for equipment and training. Last year, Congress required those funds to be used specifically for law enforcement or counterterrorism purposes. Pakistans military has rarely used its current fleet of F-16s, which were built in the 1980s, for close-air support of counterterrorism missions, largely because the risks of civilian casualties would inflame anti-government sentiments in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. State Department officials say the upgrades would greatly enhance the F-16s ability to strike insurgents more accurately, while reducing the risk to civilians. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Congress is weighing the plan, said the timing was driven by deadlines of the American contractor, Lockheed Martin.

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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 09:18 PM
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1. A Nice way to Piss away $$$$$$
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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 09:52 PM
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2. Does Pervez Musharraf now have a seat on the board of Lockheed Martin?
Maybe the revolving door has gone international.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 10:59 PM
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3. So, is the next lucrative violent engagement planned for Pakistan and India?
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 10:15 PM
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4. Bush uses anti-terror funds to strengthen Pakistan air force (Guardian)
Ewen MacAskill in Washington
The Guardian,
Friday July 25 2008

The Bush administration faced Congressional criticism yesterday for diverting funds from Pakistan's faltering fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida to pay instead for upgrades of its US-built F-16 combat planes.

With increased fighting in Afghanistan, much originating with forces based in Pakistan's north-west, members of Congress questioned how the switch to the planes, intended mainly as a counter to the Indian air force, would contribute to quelling the insurgency.

The White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, yesterday insisted: "The F-16s are used in counter-terrorism operations. We made them available to the Pakistanis, and they need to be maintained."

There is no record of the F-16s being much used in the tribal areas, mainly because Pakistan fears civilian deaths would increase hostility to its forces ...
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