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Defeating the Taliban and al-Qaida is only one part of the struggle to build peace in Pakistan. Humanitarian aid for over two million people who have been displaced by the fighting is equally critical to building stability in the troubled country.
Pakistan’s prime minister says the militants will be defeated, but public support will be lost if the refugees suffer. What’s at stake is not just a battle for territory, but an effort to win Pakistanis over to the side of the United States and away from the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Aiding the refugees is clearly in the national interest of the United States.
The United States has long been aware of the importance of meeting humanitarian crises, such as the many encountered during World War II.
In 1945, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower warned of the consequences of food shortages in Belgium and Holland, noting “the result will be increasing unrest, civil disturbances and disorders.”
The United States and its allies provided food for the hungry even during the push to finish off the German army.
Near the end of World War II, millions of people were starving in the Nazi-occupied part of the Netherlands. U.S. and British planes airlifted food, and days later Canadian truck convoys helped bring more supplies to those in need.
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