“I think that most Americans remember where they were on Sept. 11, 2001.
I was doing eye surgery in Bowling Green, Ky., and I came out of the eye surgery into the patient’s room and on the television set…were the planes crashing into the buildings. My first thought was horror. My second thought was concern for my father, who was in Washington, who is a Congressman, and who lives near the Pentagon.
… When Seal Team 6 infiltrated Osama bin Laden’s compound and killed bin Laden, I think Americans were very proud of Seal Team 6, proud of our military and what they did, to finally get this mass murderer.
In the weeks leading up to that attack on the compound by Seal Team 6, there was a doctor in Pakistan who helped us. His name is Dr. Shakil Afridi, he is about the same age as me. I have a lot of sympathy for him and for his bravery.
Doctors are not soldiers — we’re taught to heal and taught to help. But he thought this was important enough, and that bin Laden was a bad enough person, that he would help America get bin Laden. He set up a vaccination clinic and did DNA testing to try to prove that bin Laden was in the compound.
He risked his life to get this mass murderer. As a consequence, though, Pakistan has not treated him very well. The Pakistan government now has put him in prison for 33 years. I find this incredibly insulting from an ostensible ally.
I find it troubling that this man, who is a hero and should be praised and congratulated and rewarded, has instead been put in prison for 33 years. He has been really in prison for the last year without trial, probably being tortured.
He’s lost a significant amount of weight and now he’s told that he will go to prison for the rest of his life. For helping America to catch the mass murderer bin Laden.
What I find particularly troubling is we continue to give money to Pakistan. Over $1 billion of taxpayer money is sent to Pakistan each year. It troubles me that we’re sending $1 billion to a country that imprisons this gentleman, the physician who was brave enough to help us get bin Laden. It makes no sense.
Now recently in a committee (its members) proposed reducing our $1 billion in foreign aid by $33 million. That’s 3 percent. I think (Pakistan will) laugh at us and keep doing what they’re doing. They only understand negotiation from strength.
So what I’m proposing and what I will insist upon in the next few days is a vote on ending aid to Pakistan unless they free Dr. Afridi. I think that is the very least they can do. I’m also asking the U.S. government to grant him emergency citizenship and help his family get over here from Pakistan and to provide them safe passage. I think it’s the least we can do. But we shouldn’t reward bad behavior.
That’s what we’ve done with foreign aid for so many years. It’s one thing to talk about aiding or assist your allies, but another to aid people who persistently persecute their own people, people who continue with human rights abuses.
You know, there is a woman named Asia Bibi. She’s been accused of saying something about the Prophet Muhammad. She didn’t do it. It is gossip. She set to be executed in Pakistan. I think Americans should be outraged that $1 billion of your taxpayer dollars is being sent to Pakistan, to a country that is imprisoning the guy who helped us get bin Laden, who is imprisoning a Christian for saying some sort of religious blasphemy, which is basically gossip, the accusation.
I think we should be insulted. Not to mention the fact that I just don’t think it works. Look at the examples throughout the last 30, 40 years of the different dictators that we’ve given money to. We gave (Hosni) Mubarak over $60 billion, the military dictator of Egypt. He stole a lot of it. He was one of the richest men in the world, had some of the largest palaces in the world, and his kids were enriched also at your expense.
Look at Mobutu (Sese Seko) in Congo, given billions of dollars and entertained by American leaders. He at one time had seven of the largest palaces in the world, mansions in the U.S., mansions in Paris - all paid for with your money. What did his people have? His people didn’t have running water or electricity.
Even if you believe in the humanitarian nature of giving money to these countries, it’s not going to (their people.) You’re making rich autocrats richer in Third World countries and it is not going to the people of the country. It is stolen and skimmed off the top.
Look at [Robert] Mugabe in Zimbabwe, who tortures his opposition, has confiscated land, has basically run his country into the ground, and we’ve given him billions of dollars.
You can’t buy better behavior. Don’t reward autocrats. Don’t reward folks who torture their people. And for goodness sakes, let’s don’t send $1 billion to Pakistan (which) is imprisoning a hero, who helped us get bin Laden.
My amendment (to the Farm Bill) will call for an immediate halt to all aid to Pakistan, now. I’m asking President Obama not to send one penny to Pakistan until Dr. Afridi is free. I’m asking for no more money to go there in the future until Dr. Afridi is free.
I think this is the least we can do. I plan on demanding a vote in the U.S. Senate, and I hope the American people will pay attention to how their representatives vote. They are voting to send money we don’t even have. We’re a trillion dollars in debt. We borrow the money from China to send it to Pakistan. It makes no sense.
Our infrastructure is crumbling. We’ve had two bridges collapse in Kentucky this year. We’re struggling … to pay for our own infrastructure, and we’re sending $1 billion to a country that imprisons Christians for their beliefs.
It has to come to an end. It’s going to come to an end, one way or another. What I ask is that the U.S. Senate step up and support ending this money being sent to Pakistan, or at the very least not sending anymore until Dr. Afridi is freed.