Holbrooke numbers don’t add up: Is he lying?

October 24, 2010

To date the largest donors to the Pakistani relief fund has been Turkey, China, and Saudi Arabia. US relief funds are being double counted.

Ambassador Richard Holbrooke has been at the helm of US diplomacy in South Asia. Many claim that he has Kashmir as a hidden portfolio. When Pakistan was hit by the colossal floods, he repeatedly came out and announced millions of Dollars of aid to Pakistan. What is more Holbrooke mocked Pakistan by crassly saying in Punjabi burrki style “where are your Chinese and Arab friends”.

US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard C. Holbrooke, has admitted that the Obama administration is seeking to use the continuous aid package for flood-stricken Pakistan to burnish its dismal image in the country.

“If we do the right thing, it will be good not only for the people whose lives we save, but for the U.S. image in Pakistan,” The New York Times quoted Holbrooke, as saying.

“The people of Pakistan will see that when the crisis hits, it’s not the Chinese. It’s not the Iranians. It’s not other countries. It’s not the E.U. It’s the U.S. that always leads,” he added.

Well the Turks, the Arabs, and the Europeans all came and assisted as best as they could. Saudi Arabia once again became the largest donor for the flood relief effort. Per Saudi tradition , and Islamic injunctions millions flowed from the kingdom as anonymous and unmarked funding too.

He initially claimed that the “US has already pledged 76 million dollars as initial humanitarian assistance for the flood-affected country. Apart from the money, the US has so far sent hundreds of marines, 33 helicopters and 18 boats to support its rescue and relief efforts.” That initial number rose to $300 million.

August 15th: NEW YORK—The U.S. has increased its aid commitment to flood-ravaged Pakistan to $150 million from $90 million, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, as Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, called on China to do more.

“I think the Chinese should step up to the plate,” Mr. Holbrooke told a small group of reporters after an event at the Asia Society in New York designed to draw attention to the devastating floods. “They always say that Pakistan is their closest ally, and vice versa.”

On August 19, at a forum Hobrooke claimed that the United States is “focused solely on the emergency rescue and relief mission” in Pakistan. The United States, he added, also is “very visibly leading the international effort” to assist Pakistan

It’s living up to the credo that Holbrooke said he, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Shah share in driving the U.S. “whole of government” response.

“We want to be the first, with the most assistance,” Holbrooke said. “And we have.”

He then said that the U.S. government has committed $90 million in relief aid to date, and Clinton is expected to pledge more during a special session of the U.N. General Assembly later on Aug. 19.

September 16th: The U.S. contribution to Pakistan flood relief efforts currently stands at $268 million, plus substantial in-kind support, such as helicopter operations. “The U.S. intends to increase its contributions as time goes on,” Holbrooke added. (http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pr-10091603.html)

It now turns out that the US pronouncements were false. Holbrooke was lying about US relief funding in Pakistan. It was revealed this week in Washington that the US did not provide additional funding for the floods. In fact a portion of the  Kerry-Lugar aid package has simply been reclassified as flood relief aid.

This displays a high level of actuarial fraud, because in affect Mr. Holbrooke is double dipping and double counting the aid given to Pakistan. It is dishonest and just plain wrong.

In affect the US has not given $300 million of  flood relief aid. It however has loaned some choppers and sent essential supplies, and assisted in rescuing thousands of stranded villagers. This is welcomed and appreciated. However Mr. Holbrooke must come clean with the numbers and not lie about them.

The final clincher came when Secretary of State Clinton asked Pakistan to tax their rich for the floods. She was carrying out a politcal agenda from the forum of a Flood Relief podium at the Friends of Pakistan meeting. To cap it all Mr. Richard Holbrooke has announced that Pakistan has to tighten belts and fend for itself in the flood relief effort.

All this is well and good. Does Pakistan need lectures on this from someone who has been lying as much as Zardari does?


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