Perfect. Simply the perfect capper to a perfectly dreadful week of news. While we get squat for the capital-B billion dollars a year we give Musharraf to crack down on Al Qaeda…

The United States is continuing to make large payments of roughly $1 billion a year to Pakistan for what it calls reimbursements to the country’s military for conducting counterterrorism efforts along the border with Afghanistan, even though Pakistan’s president decided eight months ago to slash patrols through the area where Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters are most active…

“They send us a bill, and we just pay it,” said a senior military official who has dealt extensively with President Musharraf. “Nobody can really explain what we are getting for this money or even where it’s going.”…

Gen. James L. Jones, the former NATO supreme commander, said that when American or NATO forces saw Taliban fighters crossing the border and radioed nearby Pakistani posts, there sometimes was no answer. “Calls to apprehend or detain or restrict these ongoing movements, as agreed, were sometimes not answered,” General Jones said. “Sometimes radios were turned off.”…

James Dobbins, an analyst at the RAND Corporation and a former senior American envoy to Afghanistan, said soldiers had relayed similar complaints to him. “I’ve heard reports of Pakistani units providing fire support from positions inside Pakistan for Taliban units operating against Afghan Army units inside Afghanistan,” he said.

…Osama gets a regular allowance from his mafia operation in Anbar:

U.S. officials said that Al Qaeda’s command base in Pakistan is increasingly being funded by cash coming out of Iraq, where the terrorist network’s operatives are raising substantial sums from donations to the anti-American insurgency as well as kidnappings of wealthy Iraqis and other criminal activity…

“Iraq is a big moneymaker for them,” said a senior U.S. counterterrorism official…

“The insurgents have great businesses they run: stealing cars, kidnapping people, protection money,” the counterterrorism official said. The former CIA official said the activity is so extensive that the “ransom-for-profit business in Iraq reminds me of Colombia and Mexico in the 1980s and ’90s.”

Actually, I’m oversimplifying when I say we get jack from Pakistan. What we get is Pakistani forces firing on Afghan soldiers, Pakistani intelligence training and equipping Taliban fighters, and the building of a Pakistani border fence which, according to the Afghans, encroaches on Afghan territory. What we don’t get is help finding Bin Laden, despite a CIA “surge” last year to hunt the bastard down. How could we? The tribal areas belong to AQ now:

As part of a so-called surge in personnel, the CIA deployed as many as 50 clandestine operatives to Pakistan and Afghanistan — a dramatic increase over the number of CIA case officers permanently stationed in those countries. All of the new arrivals were given the primary objective of finding what counterterrorism officials call “HVT1” and “HVT2.” Those “high value target” designations refer to Bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman Zawahiri…

Nevertheless, U.S. intelligence and military officials said, the surge has yet to produce a single lead on Bin Laden’s or Zawahiri’s location that could be substantiated…

“Everything was undermined by the so-called peace agreement in north Waziristan,” said a senior U.S. intelligence official responsible for overseeing counterterrorism operations. “Of all the things that work against us in the global war on terror, that’s the most damaging development. The one thing Al Qaeda needs to plan an attack is a relatively safe place to operate.”

In fact, notes the Times, it’s the pullback from Waziristan that’s made the Iraq/Pakistan money conduit sustainable in the first place.

Here’s a little Sunday fun for you: go back and read the White House transcript of the press conference from last September in which Musharraf tried to spin the Waziristan treaty as a major victory against the Taliban, with Bush standing there silently right next to him. The relevant passage starts about halfway down (“This treaty is not to deal with the Taliban.”…)