Government bureaucrats are not known for their wit, but I
expect one or two from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) got a
chuckle recently from a routine notice of a possible sale of aircraft spare
parts to Pakistan.
The $62 million deal outlined in the 12 May news release
is in the market for spare parts for types such as the F-16, C-130, T-37, and
T-33. It makes no mention of when Pakistan
made the request.
All good and well, but following the USA's 2 May romp in
Pakistani air space to take out Osama Bin Laden, the DSCA release could have
done without some of the boilerplate statements that are standard to such
Awkward boilerplate statement
"This proposed sale
will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a
friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for
political stability and economic progress in Central Asia."
What about US
government concerns that Pakistan
is playing a double game, supporting the Taliban on the one hand, while cozying
up to the US on
the other? And if the Pakistani Air Force had been more on the ball on 2 May,
would this really have helped the USA?
Even more awkward boilerplate
supply of spare parts will allow Pakistan to keep its aircraft fleet at the highest
state of readiness."
An admirable sentiment on the part of the US
government, but exactly how ready does the US
want the PAF to really be? And against whom? Presumably not ready enough to
foul up US special forces raids in Pakistan
sovereign territory. Or not sufficiently ready to take a swat at US Predators and Reapers, which by all accounts have free reign over Pakistan's
Nothing like a dash of unintended irony to brighten the day.
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