Turnabout is Fair Play: Proud to Be an Extortionist!
Lahore -- US Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), the chair and ranking minority member respectively of the Senate Armed Services Committee, say the US must not pay $5000 per truck as demanded by Pakistan, for supplies being shipped through this country to American troops in Afghanistan. McCain went further, calling the Pakistani demand “extortion.”
He also stated, on the TV show “The Cable,” that “We can’t look at aid in that light. It’s now becoming a matter of principle”.
I love it!
Extortion, dear Sen. McCain, is defined as the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value through the abuse of one’s office or authority.
Is it the first time US would be paying for transit of NATO supplies? They have long been paying an average of about $250 a truck for transit, as a senior US official has stated in a report by David S. Cloud in the Los Angeles Times published May 19th.
So the question dear Sen. McCain, is not about principle but rather about principal. The question could have been one of principle had the US not been paying anything at all, and then one fine day, Pakistan had woken up to the idea of…what did you say...ah yes…extortion. The question here though, is simply about the amount.
Let us step back a moment and consider the example of a shopkeeper selling goods--goods that someone needs desperately to buy. The shopkeeper sets a price. But the consumer, a sly, manipulating piece of work, tries everything within his power -- public protest, a smear campaign in the neighborhood, anonymous phone threats to burn down the shop -- to make the shopkeeper lower the price. The shopkeeper , a normally docile man--is obstinate this once though. He refuses to succumb to the consumer’s pressure tactics.
Who is the extortionist here: the shopkeeper or the shopper?
Maybe McCain, in his youthful exuberance, forgot that the NATO supply route to Afghanistan via Pakistan has damaged the country’s road infrastructure to the tune of 100 billion rupees over the last 10 years, as reported in the Pakistani newspaper The Nation.