Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is calling out his colleagues for funneling billions of dollars to Egypt’s armed forces, even as the military massacres any who oppose the ruling regime.
"This is something that those who voted in Congress are going to have to live with," Paul told The Cable on Thursday. "The question is: How does their conscience feel now as they see photographs of tanks rolling over Egyptian civilians?"
In July, by a vote of 86-13, the Senate rejected a measure introduced by Paul that would have blocked federal funds from being sent to Egypt.
Amendment 1739, an amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, would eliminate military foreign assistance to Egypt based upon current law, which prohibits the United States from providing foreign assistance to nations that experience a military coup d'état. That money would be redirected to the "Bridges in Critical Corridors" fund in S.1243.
"We tell other countries to follow the rule of law, yet our own administration fails to do so. Sending money to Egypt under their current military coup is illegal," Paul said. "Instead of illegally sending that money overseas, we are better off spending that money at home."
Last September, a similar effort by the libertarian-leaning senator to cut off aid to Egypt, Libya, and Pakistan couldn’t even garner a dozen votes in favor.
Opposition to Paul’s 2012 amendment came from not only Democrats, but some members of his own party, as well. A reliable beater of the war drums, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) railed against the potential harm to Pakistan should Paul’s amendment be approved and warned of the rise of “extremists” that could follow if the money supply is cut off. "Pakistan is a country with nuclear weapons that is hanging by a thread. I think it would be a very bad idea," Graham said. "They've opened up the supply routes; they have been helpful in some areas.”
"We live in dangerous times, and I am very worried about the possibility of a nuclear-armed Pakistan falling into extremist hands,” he added.
McConnell joined Graham in warning of the danger of turning our backs on Pakistan, Libya, and Egypt:
This is a moment for Americans to show our closest allies in the Middle East that we unequivocally stand with them. No mixed signals. Neither Israel, nor any of our allies, should ever have any reason to doubt that resolve.
In a speech calling for a vote on his amendment, Senator Paul painted a different picture of the situation in Pakistan and their role as an ally: "I'm not saying don't have relations with Pakistan. Many in Pakistan have been sympathetic to our country. Many in Pakistan have helped our country. But many in Pakistan with a wink and a nod look at us, take our money and laugh at us. They cash our check and they laugh at us."
Surprisingly, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), a reliable promoter of Pax Americana, has called for an end to aid to Egypt, based on his opinion that the ouster of former President Morsi was a “coup.” The Obama administration has thus far refused to use that magic word to describe the tumult in Egypt. There doesn’t seem to be hope of any change in that attitude. The Associated Press reported:
The Obama administration told lawmakers that it won't declare Egypt's government overthrow a coup, U.S. officials and lawmakers said, allowing the United States to continue providing $1.5 billion in annual military and economic aid to the Arab world's most populous country.
William Burns, the State Department's No. 2 official, held closed-doors briefings with House and Senate members just a day after Washington delayed delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt. It was the first U.S. action since the military ousted Mohammed Morsi as president, imprisoned him and other Muslim Brotherhood members and suspended the constitution earlier this month.
What every lawmaker — even Senator Paul — has failed to mention is that there is no provision in the Constitution empowering the federal government to send money to foreign regimes.
In fairness, while visiting Israel in January, Senator Paul did call for a “gradual” elimination of all foreign aid. He based his opposition to the largesse on economic concerns rather than on the lack of constitutional authority for the outlays.
From his posh digs on Martha’s Vineyard, President Obama issued a statement on the situation in Egypt. The president said:
While Mohamed Morsi was elected President in a democratic election, his government was not inclusive and did not respect the views of all Egyptians. We know that many Egyptians, millions of Egyptians, perhaps even a majority of Egyptians were calling for a change in course. And while we do not believe that force is the way to resolve political differences, after the military’s intervention several weeks ago, there remained a chance for reconciliation and an opportunity to pursue a democratic path.
Too bad that the same standard does not apply in the United States with regard to our own “democratically elected” president. As his approval ratings plummets and millions move to protect themselves from the looming economic ravages of ObamaCare, perhaps its time for a “change in course” in this country, as well.
Later in his statement, President Obama equates the murder and mayhem in Egypt with America’s own struggles “to perfect our union.”
Reiterating his commitment to maintaining the United States' cozy relationship with Egypt, regardless of the body count, President Obama said in his statement:
From Asia to the Americas, we know that democratic transitions are measured not in months or even years, but sometimes in generations. So in the spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect, I want to be clear that America wants to be a partner in the Egyptian people’s pursuit of a better future, and we are guided by our national interest in this longstanding relationship. But our partnership must also advance the principles that we believe in and that so many Egyptians have sacrificed for these last several years -- no matter what party or faction they belong to.
What principles does the United States advance when it refuses to call a coup a coup and chooses to continue being the bank where radicals go to withdraw the money they need to fund their bloody rampages.
No matter how unconscionable the crackdown on opposition, the American establishment is willing to hold its nose and prop up the purgers.
The word from the “mother ship” is that the United States has to keep the Egyptian coffers full so that the expansion of the American empire is not threatened. Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass took to Twitter to inform followers that President Obama is right when he claims that U.S. regional interests are too great to allow us to cut aid to Egypt.
For his part, Senator Paul thinks there are other ways to protect the U.S. position. As he told The Cable: "This mindset that if you don't give people money and weapons, then you're not engaged is bizarre." He added, "I want to engage with the world, I just don't want to be engaged in battle."
"For those who think more weapons is engaging us with the Egyptian people, ask an Egyptian," he continued. "When you're protesting in the streets and you're run over by an American tank, you're not going to be appreciative of American engagement."
The true cost, however, is not just financial. When billions are siphoned from American citizens through unconstitutional and oppressive tax schemes and then funneled into the coffers of crooked foreign regimes, the Constitution and the liberty it protects are bartered away in the bargain.
Photo: AP Images