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February 23, 2009

Gaza Strip

Cognitive Dissonance

Can You Explain $900M To Rebuild Hamas' Home Turf While Pakistan Ops Are Short Funding?

By Steve Schippert | February 23, 2009

What on Earth is the administration doing announcing plans to give $900 Million in aid to rebuild Hamas' Gaza Strip while our own Defense Department's Security Development Plan for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan "faces a shortfall of approximately $167.5 million, about 73 percent of its funding goal for fiscal year 2009," according to a GAO report?

Did we not just witness the American president heading up a "Fiscal Responsibility Summit"? With fiscal responsibility in such high demand, one must forget entirely the nearly $1 trillion in irresponsibly distributed 'stimulus' already signed into commitment and the half-trillion dollar supplemental spending bill being presented this week. In a less than three week span, the two spending packages together would instantly represent a more than 10% increase in the national debt accrued over this nation's entire history. Yet when it comes to Defense and National Security, seemingly the only budgets eyed for any significant spending cuts, critical operations and initiatives expect to be short changed and starved of funds.

The Department of Defense's Security Development Plan for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, like the administration's $900 million Gaza aid plan, is directed at the heart of a terrorist haven. But the DoD initiative is directed at curtailing and/or cutting off terrorists from narcotics funding and undermining their stranglehold on and, to the degree that it exists, popular support of the local populations there. An alternative.

The Administration's Gaza reconstruction gift contains none of these counterterrorism dynamics. Not a one. There is but one ultimate distributor in Gaza: Hamas. The Obama administration can claim that "the aid would not go to Hamas but that it would be funneled through nongovernmental organizations," but the fact of the matter remains that the Hamas terrorist organization that dominates Gaza stands to gain from every penny. It most certainly will not be hindered. That equation is nowhere in the calculus.

Dumping $900 million dollars into foolish Gaza reconstruction affords the distributors of all goods and services in Gaza both tangible assets (through the redirection of their funds elsewhere, such as arms, rockets and munitions) as well as the re-consolidation of political power and image rehabilitation. Many Gazans actually blamed Hamas - not Israel - for the wrath incurred in January. This action undermines that intangible shift and affords Hamas recovery from a humiliating wrath of domestic criticism.

This is not a cry from this writer to end all foreign aid. Far from it. But it is a vociferous cry to reconsider the foolishness of assisting Hamas to any degree - let alone to the tune of nearly a billion dollars - in reconstructing Gaza after Hamas' incessant rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns finally drew the wrath of the Israeli Defense Forces. Would we rebuild Japan with Tojo still in place, or Germany under a surviving Hitler? And would we send them nearly $1 billion while our own economy is incessantly being described as "the worst crisis since the Great Depression"?

And most importantly, would we do this while our own operations are short funding, where our own troops are at ever-increasing risk?

The answer is clearly, no we would not. At least not then. But today, under an Obama administration, the answer is apparently "Yes we can."

Our own generals requested 30,000 troops in order to roll out a new strategy and fight terrorists in Afghanistan and they got but 17,000 committed. Our efforts to combat al-Qaeda's narcotics money tree and undermine their popular support in Pakistan are expected to be short-funded $167.5 million with no redress in sight, yet the commitment is already made to spend $900 million of your tax dollars rebuilding Hamas' home turf.

Make sense of that.

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