Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Is there a bigger ass in print than Nick Kristof? Claims Kistrof:
But the fact is that Mr. Bush has done much more for Africa than Bill Clinton ever did, increasing the money actually spent for aid there by two-thirds so far, and setting in motion an eventual tripling of aid for Africa. Mr. Bush's crowning achievement was ending one war in Sudan, between north and south. And while Mr. Bush has done shamefully little to stop Sudan's other conflict - the genocide in Darfur - that's more than Mr. Clinton's response to genocide in Rwanda (which was to issue a magnificent apology afterward).
The liberal approach to helping the poor is sometimes to sponsor a U.N. conference and give ringing speeches calling for changed laws and more international assistance.

In contrast, a standard conservative approach is to sponsor a missionary hospital or school. One magnificent example is the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, where missionary doctors repair obstetric injuries that have left Ethiopian women incontinent.

...Nobody gets more bang for the buck than missionary schools and clinics, and Christian aid groups like World Vision and Samaritan's Purse save lives at bargain-basement prices.

Unsurprisingly for someone who tries to favorably contrast this Administration's inaction in the face of the ongoing genocide in Darfur with the Clinton Administration in Rwanda (did I hear you volunteer to peacekeep in either case, Nick? Then why not STFU up about that too?), Kristof neatly fixes up the Bush Administration's lie that is has already already tripled aid to Africa, turning it now into something he's "set in motion." Yes, and I set in motion an end to world hunger when I sent $50 to Doctors Without Borders yesterday. In fact, according to the figures that Kristof appears to be using, the Adminstration has increased aid to Africa by 56%, not "two thirds", and that figure only comes by including emergency food and security assistance; exclude this, and the figure drops to 33% .

Jeffrey Sachs, formerly of the World Bank, and hence someone, unlike Kristof, who knows what he's talking about, puts the Administration's achievements in perspective:
Total annual U.S. aid for all of Africa is about $3 billion, equivalent to about two days of Pentagon spending. About $1 billion pays for emergency food aid, of which half is for transport. About $1.5 billion is for "technical cooperation," essentially salaries of U.S. consultants. Only about $500 million a year β€” less than $1 per African β€” finances clinics, schools, food production, roads, power, Internet connectivity, safe drinking water, sanitation, family planning and lifesaving health interventions to fight malaria, AIDS and other diseases.

Besides his slightly creepy Third World gynomania, no Kristof column would be complete without an implied indictment of alleged liberal hostility to religion. What is the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital? A neo-con showcase for how World Vision and Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse are doing God's work free from hamfisted liberal atheistic government do-gooders? In fact, the project began in the 60s, became a hospital in the 70s, is Australian in origin, has a no discernible missionary purpose, and has has it principal US sponsor the Fistula Project--formerly the American Friends Foundation for Childbirth Injuries, a Quaker project.

Meanwhile, Samaritan's Purse is quite reticent about its support, if any, for the hospital.

As for Kristof's apologetics on behalf of "Bush's signature foreign aid program", the Millennium Challenge Account, well:
[T]he MCA has so far failed to gain any traction and now faces sharp budget cuts by Congress precisely because it has been so slow in disbursing aid.
While Congress has appropriated 2.5 billion dollars for the MCA over the past two years, the new agency has so far approved just four projects, in Honduras (215 million dollars), Nicaragua (175 million dollars), Cape Verde (110 million dollars) and Madagascar (108 million dollars), as well as 400,000 dollars for administrative expenses.

”The MCA exists in name only,” according to [Center for American Progress' Susan] Rice, who stressed that the agency, whose director, Paul Applegarth, announced his resignation earlier this month, illustrated the gap between the administration's rhetoric and what it was actually doing.

Oh, and Bob Geldof and Bono? Tell me the sudden drop in aid to Africa under Clinton in 1995 didn't have anything to do with the Republican takeover of Congress. No? Then you can STFU, too.

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