Deconstructing the bill
Wajahat S. Khan thinks that everyone should read the complete Kerry-Lugar Bill and come up with his or her own conclusions. In the meantime, he takes a satirical look at the one hundred and eleventh Congress of the United States of America (a.k.a. everyone’s best friend with privileges).
Begun and held at the city of Washington on Tuesday, the sixth day of January, two thousand and nine (were you expecting us to throw in a reference to 9/11? Don’t. We’re over that stuff. We’re taking it to the next level now).
An Act to authorise appropriations for fiscal years 2010 through 2014, to promote an enhanced strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people, and for other purposes (which may include everything from diplomatic coercion to precision drone bombing to yes, you guessed it, lots and lots of Fulbright Scholarships to Harvard and Yale).
Be it enacted by the Senate (100 old guys) and House of Representatives (200 and something not-so-old guys who are not as smart as the 100 old guys) of the United States of America in Congress assembled.
Definitions (because the rest of you will obviously not understand it unless we lay it out, as that’s what our battle hardened/special-interests/affairs-with-college-going-interns background has taught us about you).
(1) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES: Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the term ‘appropriate congressional committees’ means the Committees on Appropriations and Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committees on Appropriations and Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives (these are the chosen few among us hundreds of old guys who will be doling out the cash – your mission is to be nice to us and buy us gifts under US$100 or send us cards on Christmas, but what we really want is for you to fund our campaigns via lobbyists before that Obama dude comes up with some new ethical rules – this new Nobel thing is only going to encourage him).
(2) COUNTERINSURGENCY: The term ‘counterinsurgency’ means efforts to defeat organised movements that seek to overthrow the duly constituted governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan through violent means (frankly, we would prefer to call this entire damn place Chaos-istan, but our fancy K-Street PR guys say that’s not gonna go down too well with you lot).
(3) COUNTERTERRORISM: The term ‘counterterrorism’ means efforts to combat Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorist organisations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189), or other individuals and entities engaged in terrorist activity or support for such activity (just give us Osama, okay! We know that he’s probably hanging out in Dearborn, Michigan, selling Falafel with diet tahini sauce to overweight wrestling fans, but just give him to us – figure out the details with Zawahiri, who you can find at the Columbia School of Journalism in uptown New York City, teaching online media and the art of uploading to all those save-the-world grad students).
(4) FATA: The term FATA means the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (51st state is so overdone as a catch phrase, don’t you think…but don’t tell the local Pathans what we think…we’ve heard they have some funny habits and we’d rather they stay in Wana than immigrate to Chelsea or San Francisco).
(5) FRONTIER CRIMES REGULATION: The term ‘Frontier Crimes Regulation’ means the Frontier Crimes Regulation, codified under British law in 1901, and applicable to FATA (yeah, that’s gonna be the first thing we change when that 51st state status goes through for FATA).
(6) IMPACT EVALUATION RESEARCH: The term ‘impact evaluation research’ means the application of research methods and statistical analysis to measure the extent to which change in a population-based outcome can be attributed to program intervention instead of other environmental factors (this one is really fun and interactive: basically, we will run sample surveys and polls to gauge the mood in the place. Fun questions like ‘Yankees or Red Sox?’ and ‘Blonde or redhead?’ will be asked to gauge the real change in the mood of the local population as we culturally de-link them from that traditional tribal stuff and shift their attention from riffraff issues such as polio eradication and local government…By the way, the money for these polls and surveys will come out of that big bundle of cash we’re giving you…efficient, eh?).
(7) MAJOR DEFENCE EQUIPMENT: The term ‘major defence equipment’ has the meaning given the term in section 47(6) of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2794(6)) (that means all those guns and planes we are not using and you will probably want to use, but will not be able to use unless you ask us for permission before using them).
(8) NWFP: The term ‘NWFP’ means the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, which has Peshawar as its provincial capital (okay, we know this is touchy, and you guys are super sensitive about the sandals and the kebabs from this joint, but we will probably have to take it over too. We’ve heard great things about the local hospitality – that’s why we thought we would invest in that Pearl Continental building bang in the middle of the city; the view is great, we’re just two checkpoints away from the NATO supply route on the Torkham Highway, and all our Private Military Contractors will be shacked up together).
(9) OPERATIONS RESEARCH: The term ‘operations research’ means the application of social science research methods, statistical analysis, and other appropriate scientific methods to judge, compare, and improve policies and program outcomes, from the earliest stages of defining and designing programs through their development and implementation, with the objective of the rapid dissemination of conclusions and concrete impact on programming. (Frankly, these are more polls we will conduct and you will pay for, but the questions are going to lead to even more conclusive, insightful answers. For example: How many times a day do you pray for Predators and Reapers to stop smashing your sordid, stone age FATA village to bits? Answer: one, two, three, four, or five?
Hint: It’s a trick question! The real answer is ‘Never,’ but we want to differentiate the really sad victims from the marginally indifferent ones. Fours and fives will be shipped off to the new Gitmo. Threes will be trained to take on the role of the local, USAID-dependent clergy. Twos will be empowered to become local government leaders and warlords managed by foreign intelligence agencies. And the ones will just disappear, thanks to our boys from the firm formerly known as Blackwater.)
(10) SECURITY FORCES OF PAKISTAN: The term ‘security forces of Pakistan’ means the military and intelligence services of the Government of Pakistan, including the armed forces, Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, Intelligence Bureau, police forces, levies, Frontier Corps, and Frontier Constabulary. (Hmmm…we’re still thinking about what to do about these guys. We will revert after we dig up all those files from the Ayub, Zia and Musharraf eras. Those guys were so easy to deal with; a little trip to Camp David, a little dinner and dance at the White House, and that’s it – we landed SEATO, CENTO, the anti-Soviet jihad and the 9/11 u-turn in less time than it takes for a trip from Islamabad’s Diplomatic Enclave to the Marriot Hotel Lobby! But these new guys…grrrr!)