Lawmakers debate U.S.-Pakistan ties after bin Laden's death
May 5th, 2011
07:50 PM ET
9 years ago

Lawmakers debate U.S.-Pakistan ties after bin Laden's death

Washington (CNN) - The fact that Osama bin Laden was found in Pakistan continued to be a hot topic on Capital Hill on Thursday among lawmakers from both chambers and both sides of the aisle.

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that was planned before the death of bin Laden, Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., asked what seems to be on everyone's mind.

"Who did they think was living behind those 15-foot walls? Was there any level of curiosity?" asked Kerry. "How could bin Laden have gone undetected living next door to Pakistan's equivalent of West Point?"

Reexamining the relationship between the United States and Pakistan has been a common theme among lawmakers this week. Some suggest cutting off funding to the country since learning of bin Laden's location, but most offer a more strategic perspective.

"The fight against al Qaeda and other extremist groups that threaten the United States and our allies is far from over," Kerry said.

"Going forward we have to act thoughtfully and no matter what we have to remember the big picture and the larger strategic interest and the full nature of our relationship with Pakistan. We should not rush into a situation that hurts our own interests," he said.

Across the aisle, Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker agreed, saying that a new approach toward Pakistan is needed.

"We need to alter our bilateral relationship but not from the standpoint of just ending aid or that kind of thing and by the way I've felt that for some time and if you want to paraphrase what Senator Kerry said, Pakistan acts very irrational," said Corker. "They don't act rationally in terms of their strategic interests and so for some time I've felt that we should alter and look at this aid in a very different way and so I look at this as an opportunity."

On the House side, Speaker John Boehner reaffirmed his view on the need to keep ties with Pakistan.

"Al Qaeda and its extremist allies have made Pakistan a target and the people of Pakistan have suffered deeply as a result. Taking on al Qaeda and radical extremism is absolutely vital to the interest of both of our countries so it's not a time to back away from Pakistan, it's time for more engagement with them not less," Boehner said.

Since 2002 the United States has given approximately $20.7 billion to Pakistan with over $14 billion of that amount going toward security in Pakistan.


Filed under: Congress • John Kerry • Pakistan
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Patrick from Minnesota

    I respectfuly, no, I overwhelmingly disagree with them! Pakistan hid Osama Bin Laden for 5 years!! If they want our aid, they need to prove to us that they support our cause!!

    May 5, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  2. @Omegaraiel (twitter)

    Rush judgements that hurt our national security is what America is all about! Screw you, Kerry!

    May 5, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, also known as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, authorizes $1.5 billion in annual aid to Pakistan through 2013.
    The money is one problem, but more important apparently is managing what it is that we are getting for that aid. It looks like we are just giving them $100 million a month so they can do what, protect terrorists and provide them a launching point for attacks on our troops in Afghanistan?!?! If that's the case, I'm glad John Kerry didn't get to use his management expertise over the US federal government.

    May 5, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. Larry Campbell

    I'm sorry, I must be mistaken. Just about everything I hear on tv news, radio news and internet news tells me that the U.S. is literally bankrupt. If this is true, then why in the hell are we sending money to other countries? Not only are we sending money to these countries, but we are first borrowing it from China and then we give it away!!!!! This is totally insane. Unless we are able to reintroduce some sanity to our fiscal policies then the U.S. is bound to follow in the footsteps of every other empire that has ever existed.

    May 5, 2011 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  5. Squigman

    Maybe if we gave them more money, they'd be more apt to tell the truth. Can't you just see this kind of idiot logic being bantered around by our elected morons.? I can.

    May 5, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  6. MAC

    Pakistan is playing both sides no doubt. They need to know that we are serious about a stable and strong Afganistan and will not just cut and run to stop playing our enemies side too.

    May 5, 2011 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  7. Jack in Florida

    Pakistan has been sucking the US dry over their "cooperation in the war on terror" for years. There is no way that they didn't know OBL was right under their noses!!! Stop sending them the 1.5 billion each year and turn that money over to the victims of natural disasters in this country! Screw Pakistan!!!

    May 5, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  8. GaryB

    I've heard from people familiar with the area that compounds like Bin Laden's, while not terribly common, are not all that rare either. Pakistan can be a somewhat unstable country, so people with money tend to protect themselves with tall walls, barbed wire, security cameras... Also, considering Pakistan's sometimes rocky economy, a few hundred Euros coupld probably convince any curious local law enforcement officials that they really didn't need to know who lived there.

    May 5, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  9. chandra

    Speaker Boehner is comfortable spending billion of $$$ on a country that works against our interests and policies, but willing to fight 10's of millions of $$$ of planned parenthood. Why are we not getting our priorities straight. Can we stop giving money to all these failed states? Let them fail. Nothing good is going to come out of them. May be the new government that emerges will share our philosophies and values.

    May 5, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  10. w l jones

    In the game of chess every action there a reaction there by we needed all the intelligent we could get by keekpng the man isolatic he couldnot make a move without we knowing it . Way to go.

    May 5, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |