Thanks, Pakistan. You guys are swell.

So our good friends in Pakistan continue to cost us a ton of money.

The latest is an additional $2.1 billion.

“Pakistan’s refusal to let NATO access its ports and roads into Afghanistan has cost the U.S. Defense Department more than $2.1 billion in extra transportation costs to move supplies and equipment in and out of the country.” (Article link.)

For those who forgot, Pakistan closed the ground route last November after a U.S. airstrike mistakenly killed 24 of its soldiers

Just as bad — maybe worse — this recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle said that now more Pakistanis see U.S. as its enemy, despite our enormous amount of aid.

“In the last couple of years, Washington has earmarked a bigger chunk of its aid to Pakistan for civilian projects, hoping to engender goodwill with the country’s intensely anti-American populace. The latest polling suggests that the strategy hasn’t worked.

“About 75 percent of Pakistanis surveyed regard the United States as an enemy, according to a poll released this week by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. That’s actually up more than 10 percent since three years ago, when 64 percent said they viewed America as an enemy.” (Article)

Two final points.

First, we’ll be giving nearly $3 billion in U.S. aid to Pakistan for fiscal year 2012.  Second, we’ve given more than $20 billion in military and non-military aid since 2001.  (Link.)

Good thing we don’t have any bridges to repair or any ongoing deficits to cut or — umm, this is a stretch — any debt to pay down.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.

P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novel Little Man, and the Dixon County War a huge success! It’s gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here), landing smack dab between a Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey book. Learn more about it here.

An article that will help you feel a bit better about the Pakistan situation

I’m not sure how much of this story is spin, or not spin, but a recent article about Pakistani troops holding the line along the Pakistani/Afghan border sure helped make me a bit less critical of Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism. (Story here.)

The story discussed the brutal conditions the troops face, which by the way are the same conditions our own troops face, and reminded me of the fact that Pakistan has lost more than 3,000 soldiers in their fight against al-Qaida, which is a considerable number by today’s standards.

It also featured some great quotes from a few Pakistani soldiers.

One of them, who was clean-shaven, said this of al-Qaida:  “They are the enemy. They are not working for Pakistan. They are telling us that we have to do everything their way.”

Speaking for myself, it was nice to hear such moderate comments, and to be reminded that al-Qaida supporters are still in the minority, even in Pakistan.

But, we can’t dispute the fact that Pakistani intelligence likely knew where bin Laden stayed, nor any of the other factors — like, the fact their intelligence services often work against the Afghan government — which have caused the Obama administration (and the Bush administration before him) to be concerned about the effort (and intentions) of the Pakistani government.

Still though, if you get a minute, read the article. It will help provide some balance to the typical news hysteria you’re probably watching 24/7 on cable TV.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. As a reminder, since I continue to get this question constantly, you do not need a Kindle to buy my book, “Little Man, and the Dixon County War .” You can read it from your computer, laptop, ipad, phone, or other device with this free download. And you can buy my book here, for .99 cents. Read reviews of it here.