After Osama bin Laden's death, Congress rethinks aid to Pakistan
The killing of Osama bin Laden could have a profound effect on three big issues in American policy: aid to Pakistan, the usefulness of harsh interrogation techniques, and the Afghanistan war.
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“So for those who say that waterboarding doesn’t work, who say it should be stopped and never used again, we got vital information which directly led us to bin Laden,” he added.Skip to next paragraph
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Asked to comment on whether Congress should reopen the issue of interrogation techniques, House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia told reporters on Tuesday that “information gained, if valuable in saving American lives, in increasing the security of the United States, is ... a policy that we should have in place.”
The Afghanistan war
But the larger question is how bin Laden’s death will impact ongoing support for the US war effort in Afghanistan, now set to begin to wind down in July. For many Democrats, especially those opposing the wars in Iraq and the buildup in Afghanistan, bin Laden’s death signals an end to the mission first proclaimed by the Bush administration.
“I hope the killing of bin Laden signals the chapter of our military being extended in that part of the world will end, and we will conclude that actionable intelligence and clandestine operations will allow us to deal with our enemies effectively,” says Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) of Ohio, a member of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee.
Senate Republicans Tuesday aimed to counter that conclusion. Bin Laden’s end “doesn’t change the challenge of radical Islam,” says Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee. “We’re going to be in a struggle with radical Islam well into this century.”
Experts offered some support for Senator McCain's view. “A lot of people seemed to suggest there will be a temptation to declare victory and come home,” says Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Emotionally, that’s what a lot of people want. But I think there’s a possibility that works in another direction: It gives a boost of confidence in a long slog in a difficult part of the world. The boost to our confidence may count for something."