A reader writes:

I was glad to read your post comparing aid to Egypt and aid to Israel - especially your last sentence "AIPAC is not a phantasm". But you let yourself be misled by the reply you received alleging that Egypt is not really a military ally - or militarily useful - for the US.

Four quick points:

1) Egypt controls the Suez Canal, which makes it considerably easier to control traffic of ships between the Red Sea and Mediterranean and was crucial for the buildup in both US-led Iraq wars; 2) Egypt is a key counter-terrorism ally and played a major role in the Clinton-Bush rendition program; 3) Egyptian air bases play an important logistical role in the ongoing occupation of Iraq; 4) Egypt has played a crucial diplomatic role supporting US efforts in various recent regional crises. If anything, Washington is getting a great bargain for its $1.3bn a year, and those who are paying the real price are the Egyptian people who are seeing the Mubarak dictatorship maintained by America.

Finally, the military aid program to Egypt is also a subsidy for the US defense industry and a mechanism to grease the palms of the corrupt Egyptian military establishment, whose senior officers get kickbacks on the weapons deals.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.