Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The U.S. Treating Pakistan Like A Parent Would A Heroin-Addicted Teenage Son

This story in the WP is truly brilliant. Apparently the U.S. supplied the Pakistan army with these high-powered, $9000-a-pair night vision goggles to track border crossings from Pakistan to Afghanistan and vice versa. The problem? They take them away for two weeks at a time every three months to make sure they're all still there and haven't been sold off. I'll give you three guesses as to what Taliban types do in those two weeks.
Pakistan was allowed to purchase about 300 from a U.S. contractor, and the rest -- about 1,300 pairs of goggles valued at $6.4 million -- were provided without charge by the Defense and State departments, Kronstadt said. A small number were also provided to Pakistan by U.S. intelligence agencies, said U.S. officials and independent experts.

The Pentagon's monitoring is conducted under a special program -- EUM, or Enhanced End-Use Monitoring -- that allows U.S. officials in Pakistan to check all the serial numbers every three months.

To Pakistani soldiers, giving up the goggles meant that, for up to eight weeks each year, they had to fight blind against an adversary who quickly caught on to the troops' vulnerability and exploited it, said two Pakistani government officials familiar with the issue. The policy was also considered insulting.

To be fair, can you really blame them? First of all, pretty much all of the U.S. believes - quite rightly, I may add - that major portions of our military and intelligence services are not committed to the fight against the Taliban and their buddies. Secondly, we have been known to sell military equipment for personal gain in the past, so it's not as if this is coming out of nowhere. Still hilarious though.

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