Published September 17, 2012
Republican Rep. Ted Poe wants to de-friend Pakistan.
The Texas congressman has proposed a bill that would take away Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally, saying the country’s “treachery” has led to the deaths of too many American men and women.
“It’s time to break with Pakistan,” Poe said Friday when introducing the bill. “Pakistan is the Benedict Arnold nation in the list of countries that we call allies. It’s time to remove a designation that brings privileges it does not deserve.”
Short of revoking Pakistan’s ally status, Poe thinks the United State should at least stop giving the county quick access to sophisticated U.S. weaponry.
He is not the first Republican lawmaker in recent days to propose legislative punishment for Pakistan.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul last week unsuccessfully tried to pass an amendment to cut off aid to Pakistan, saying the U.S. doesn’t have the money, especially for a country that has imprisoned one of its own citizens, Dr. Shakil Afridi, despite his help capturing Usama bin Laden.
Poe’s legislation stands a better chance of at least getting passed by his chamber, considering Republicans control the House.
In 2004, President Bush granted Pakistan the so-called "MNNA" status to assist the county in helping the U.S. fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The status is significant because it provides such benefits as access to a program in which the federal government will guarantee loans issued by private banks to finance arms exports – in addition to the expedited arms sales.
Poe, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, argues that Pakistan over the ensuing years “has in fact been no ally of the U.S.”
He also cited several other recent incidents to bolster his case for passing the bill -- including that Pakistan cut off the supply route to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, then refused to re-open it until America apologized for a mistaken NATO airstrike and agreed to pay three times the original cost.
Poe also refers to U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker’s assertion that the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which is American soil, was twice attacked by “Pakistan-based insurgents.”