Rolling Stone : Bush's Fake Aid
By Joshua Kurlantzick
Illustration: by Edward Sorel
The president's $5 billion program does more for foreign banks than the needyIn March 2002, with one war raging in Afghanistan and another looming in Iraq, President Bush announced that he intended to undercut terrorism by attacking poverty overseas. "I'm here today to announce a major new commitment by the United States to bring hope and opportunity to the world's poorest," Bush declared. Under his watch, the president said, America would increase its annual foreign aid to $5 billion....
In a pattern that has become a hallmark of the administration, however, Bush's aid initiative -- the Millennium Challenge Corporation -- has become an object lesson in dramatic ideas followed by disastrous action....
Today, four years after the president announced his initiative, the MCC has signed compacts with six countries -- offering only $1.2 billion in assistance. In February, Bush released a budget for 2007 that falls another $2 billion short of his pledge, bringing the total aid to less than half of what he promised. And the new budget once again pushes back the goal, stating that the administration "expects" to provide $5 billion annually in 2008.
"Not only has President Bush broken his word on funding, he has not put in the effort required to turn this excellent idea into a lifesaving reality," says Jamie Drummond, executive director of DATA, the international aid organization co-founded by Bono.
Even leading conservatives who initially supported the program are now blasting the MCC. "The great promise of the Millennium Challenge was met with tremendous hope and anticipation," said Rep. Henry Hyde, who voted to authorize the initiative as chairman of the House International Relations Committee. But now, he said, "we see a program struggling to get off the ground . . . lacking the boldness necessary to break the cycle of poverty" -- a failure that "belies the original vision."
Rolling Stone : Bush's Fake Aid:
by Edward Sorel