So Elusive, Those Af-Pak Benchmarks, So So Elusive
The Congressional recess grinds along — somehow it doesn’t make Mike Lillis any less busy — and yet Hill people are starting to get frustrated at the absence of the Obama administration’s promised conditions on aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan. To take a quote at random from CQ’s roundup:
“Sen. Reid believes sound criteria are necessary to measure the effectiveness of both our strategy in Afghanistan and the resources we spend in that effort,” said a statement from the office of Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev. “He expects that the administration and the Congress will consult extensively on how to best hold the Afghans accountable for taking responsibility for Afghanistan’s future.”
Well and good, but the keepaway nature of the benchmarks to date makes this a tiresome exercise. Will someone just announce some benchmarks? Like in a piece of legislation or from a department podium?
Here’s Robert Wood, spokesman for the State Department, on the subject yesterday:
I think you would expect when the U.S. taxpayer is providing money, assistance to a country, that we want to make sure that we’re not only getting our money’s worth, but that certain things that we care about, we want to see that they be dealt with. And so we have said we will provide and would like to provide $1.5 billion over a five-year period to Pakistan, but clearly we want there – we are going to establish benchmarks. We want to see certain standards and goals met. And that’s something you would expect that we would be willing to do. And – but I don’t have anything else beyond that.
Yeah, you would expect that.