Tuesday, March 18, 2003
There is surely no more obvious symptom of the corruption of western politics than the disproportion between the money available for sustaining life and the money available for terminating it," says George Monbiot in The Guardian. "As the US prepares to spend some $12bn a month on bombing the Iraqis, it has so far offered only $65m to provide them with food, water, sanitation, shelter and treatment for the injuries they are likely to receive." More: Unfortunately for the majority of Americans who did not elect George W Bush, the consequences of this short-sightedness will be with us for generations.
This year, George Bush "forgot" to produce an aid budget for Afghanistan, until he was forced to provide another $300m by Congress.
The Afghan government, which has an annual budget of just $460m - or around half of what the US still spends every month on chasing the remnants of al-Qaida through the mountains - is effectively bankrupt. At the beginning of this month the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, flew to Washington to beg George Bush for more money. He was given $50m, $35m of which the US insists is spent on the construction of a five-star hotel in Kabul. Karzai, in other words, has discovered what the people of Iraq will soon find out: generosity dries up when you are yesterday's news.
Tomorrow's terrorists are cultured in the Petri dish of yesterday's news. That's how the current batch was made, and that's how the next, bigger batch will be made too.
US foreign policy exhibits no sense of cultural strategy short of cheap sloganeering and leaflet airdrops. This administration shows zero understanding of national uniqueness, a blindness toward complex human needs, and, most importantly, a faith-based lack of comprehension of the concepts of cause and effect.
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