Top US officer cautions against cut to Egypt aid

The US military’s top officer on Friday cautioned against moves to cut off aid to Egypt due to the unrest against the government of President Hosni Mubarak.

“I would just caution against doing anything until we really understand what’s going on,” Admiral Mike Mullen said in an interview on ABC News.

Mullen was asked about a possible freeze to the vast US military and economic aid to Egypt, a move that Republican Senator John McCain has said is under consideration.

“That’s not mine to decide,” said Mullen. “But at the same time, I’d like to understand a little bit more about what’s going on before we took any specifics.” For years Egypt has been the second largest recipient of US foreign aid after Israel — with 1.3 billion dollars annually in military assistance.

US officials believe that years of training and instruction for Egytpian officers at American defense colleges has helped shape attitudes in the military, making them reluctant to use force against their compatriots.