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Correction, Please!

Give Until It Hurts

ITEM: Clare Short, the U.K's International Development Secretary, berated the U.S. international aid effort before a select committee of the House of Commons, as reported by the London Times for November 20th. She raised doubts as to whether America was committed "to the kind of aid work needed to rebuild Afghanistan" after the fall of the Taliban. "The United States did not appear to share in the growing international consensus that action to alleviate poverty worldwide was needed to prevent a repeat of the September 11 atrocities, said Ms. Short."

She also contended: "The only great power in the world almost turns its back on the rest of the world." The Times continued: "Institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund had come round to the view that poverty alleviation in states like Afghanistan was needed to stop them becoming breeding grounds for terrorism, said Ms. Short."

CORRECTION: Short made a long list of misstatements. In fact, the U.S. has been the largest humanitarian contributor to Afghanistan, even while the Taliban was grievously abusing the Afghan population. Poverty there assuredly didn't cause the terrorist attacks in the U.S., and even international agencies have recognized that aid is often counterproductive. The World Bank itself has acknowledged: "Reform is more likely to be preceded by a decline in aid than an increase in aid."

Aiding enemies is not, after all, a rational foreign policy. Yet, as noted in the October 5th Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Afghanistan is the second-largest recipient, after North Korea, of U.S. wheat." Similarly, the Clinton administration increased aid to Afghanistan (then sheltering Osama bin Laden) above the $100 million level less than a month after a terrorist attack on the USS Cole -- linked to bin Laden -- killed 17 Americans.

The Bush administration upped the ante to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. This past spring, pointed out columnist Michelle Malkin, Secretary of State Cohn Powell "announced an additional $43 million in relief.... Naive officials claim that none of this aid will go to the Taliban because it is being filtered through international agencies of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations. But since the Taliban have started throwing foreign aid workers in jail..., it's obvious that this high-minded attempt to bypass the terrorist coddlers in Afghanistan is a self-defeating farce."

The former chief economist for the U.S. Agency for International Development, Ernest Preeg, admitted some of the difficulties of foreign aid after the downfall of the Marcos regime in the Philippines: "As large amounts of aid flowed to the Aquino government from the United States and other donors, the urgency for reform dissipated. Economic aid became a cushion for postponing difficult decisions. A central policy focus of the Aquino government became that of obtaining more and more aid rather than prompt implementation of the reform program."

Such handouts hurt friends and foes. Some recipients have come to recognize this. For example, just a few years ago the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies in Israel called foreign aid "the single greatest obstacle to economic freedom in Israel." The same institute termed this charity "economically disastrous." This assistance, said the think tank, "prevents reform, causes inflation, fosters waste, ruins our competitiveness and efficiency, and increases the future tax burden on our children...."

Slick Campaign Spills Facts

ITEM: The Audubon Society's Save the Arctic website admonishes: "Terrorists struck and destroyed some very special places in America -- the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We should not let them destroy other special places in America like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Do not let the terrorists win again by drilling in the Arctic Refuge."

CORRECTION: So-called ecologists exploiting terrorism would make the U.S. even more dependent on the volatile Middle East by placing our own resources off-limits. Yet Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has said that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) has sufficient oil "to replace oil imports from the Persian Gulf region for 10 years, or from Iraq for 50 years," using the average estimates of reserves. If ANWR's oil fields were fully developed, America could cut its OPEC imports "by more than a third, based on today's numbers," reports Investor's Business Daily.

The Bush administration has proposed opening some of ANWR's coastal area, which is as large as Delaware. This would open, as noted in a Heritage Foundation analysis, "about 1.5 million acres to exploration (roughly 6 percent of ANWR). Of those 1.5 million acres, only 2,000 -- an area the size of Washington's Dulles International Airport -- would be devoted to drilling."

It is instructive to note who is paying for the anti-development propaganda linking oil drilling with terrorism. Among other donors, the Ford Motor Company has announced a $5 million grant to the National Audubon Society, as pointed out by the Capital Research Center's Foundation Watch.

Equally enlightening is the fact that Audubon "has been producing oil and gas in its own Rainey Wildlife Refuge for decades," says Paul Driessen of the Virginia-based Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, "with no ill effects on the rare and endangered species that reside there -- such as the Alaska snow geese that winter in Rainey and spend their summers in ANWR."
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Article Details
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Author:Hoar, William P.
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 31, 2001
Words:867
Previous Article:The Right Answers.
Next Article:Sri Lanka's War on Terrorism. (The Last Word).


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