Listen to Pressler (2)

He’s got the point

“I know that we want to be friends with Pakistan because of the terrorism thing, but you don’t fight terrorism with F-16’s,” he said in a telephone interview. “F-16’s are capable of nuclear delivery. That’s about the only reason Pakistan wants them. The only people they are in a fight with are in India. India now will have to get the same thing somehow. So it raises tensions and stakes without meeting any of our objectives.” [NYT]

Careful journalism in demonstration: He sits on the board of an Indian technology company, so he can hardly be considered impartial. That he prevented the sale of F-16s to Pakistan during a time when India was not even fully on the same side as the United States seems less important to those in the business of inserting careful qualifiers.

Former senator Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), who sponsored the 1985 law that ultimately forced the cancellation of the original F-16 sale, called Friday’s decision “an atrocity” that goes against “everything the Bush administration has stood for.”

“This is just a disastrous thing,” said Pressler, who now sits on the board of an Indian technology company. “It raises Pakistan, a country that doesn’t stand for anything we stand for, to the level of India,” the world’s largest democracy. “It has nothing to do with fighting terrorism.” Instead, he said, “it gives Pakistan a delivery vehicle for its nuclear weapons.” [WP]