CAIRO, EGYPT – The recent deadly violence in Egypt raised the question of why the Obama administration has not cut off the billions of dollars in aid it sends to Egypt’s military.
That question was answered when the White House announced a temporary hold on the aid while the State Department decides whether to cut it off altogether.
But doing so may only be a show of farce, because any cut in aid to Egypt will hurt Americans more than it will hurt Egyptians.
That’s because the U.S. doesn’t cut a check to Egypt. It deposits the funds in an account at the Federal Reserve Bank.
The money then goes to American defense contractors: $400 million to General Dynamics for tank kits, and $2.5 billion to Lockheed for F-16s.
The temporary loss of a few hundred million dollars won’t hurt the big boys, but it could hurt their small-town suppliers.
Former congressman Jim Kolbe used to control the purse strings. He says the government will still have to pay the contractors even if we cut aid to Egypt. “So it’s going to end up costing the taxpayers a lot of money and getting nothing in return.”
Meantime, the interim-Egyptian government is trying to take back control. They rounded up two key figures of the Muslim Brotherhood: Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader and Safwat Hegazy, a preacher and hardline supporter.
They got Badie in a pre-dawn raid on his Cairo apartment. They can hold him for 15 days while investigating whether he incited violence and killings.
Gee, wonder how that will turn out.