'Pak leaders do not have political steel in their backbone'

'Pak leaders do not have political steel in their backbone'

"They politically do not have it inside themselves to tell the Pakistan people why we are doing it and that they are aware of it. They do not have that kind of political steel in their backbone. I have been in politics long enough to understand that. I do not condone it," Senator Levin said at a Congressional hearing.

Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Levin said this is one of the issue that has troubled him in recent times.

"I think that in terms of recent events, that the Pakistan army is showing a much greater willingness to take on the enemy for their own sake... not because we are asking them or we are paying them, but because from their national security perspective, it is in their interest," he observed.

"I do not know how much that has been transmitted to the Pakistan people. I know it is transmitted through interviews in the London papers, but that is not the same as the President and the Head of the Army in Pakistan transmitting that to the Pakistani people themselves," Levin argued.

Levin said he is trying to find out the degree to which the statements that they have made recently reflect that they are made publicly in Pakistan.

Another thing which has troubled him, Levin said is the constantly criticism of the US for its drone attacks inside Pakistan.

"I guess yesterday, the day before, we got a number of very high-level targets. There is civilian casualties, which obviously are to be minimized and regretted. But when we knock out high-level targets, terrorist targets, Taliban targets that are out to destroy the government of Pakistan, the least we can expect, I believe, from the Pakistan government is silence," Levin said.

"What I can't understand and do not accept is the attacks on us, the criticism on us, because what that does is undermine the effort. Every time they attack us as being foreigners attacking their sovereign soil, they are creating another generation that are after us instead of after the terrorists," Levin argued.

Levin said he has expressed his views to the President of Pakistan (Asif Ali Zardari) and the Chief of Staff of the Army (Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani).

Noting that this affects his own view as to whether we should be providing support to Pakistan, the Senator said he is willing to support the Pakistan government and to try to get them some economic wherewithal to address all the issues they got, so that they are the ones that are supporting their people's needs.

"I'm for that, providing I believe that they have got the same goal we do, which at least their recent actions suggest they do, which is that it's in their security interest to go after the fanatics and the terrorists. I got that. And if that's real and is sustained, that is somewhat reassuring," he noted.

"But what I do not have yet is assurance that their statements publicly, the rhetoric about the need for them to go after the terrorists, serves their national interest. I am not sure that's done internally yet, in terms of their rhetoric. And I sure as heck deeply object to their criticism of us for using attacks by UAVs, which they obviously acquiesce in, condone and accept, or else we wouldn't be doing them," Levin added.

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