Bush’s Journey Into the Heart of Irony

Bush’s trip to Africa was of interest not only for the places he visited but for those he didn’t.

Egypt’s totalitarian regime would not of course be appropriate to emphasize on a trip that highlighted democratic initiatives–Egypt receives over 2 billion dollar a year in military and non-military aid. Somalia, of course speaks for itself. A failed country, it was the recipient of all manner of aid from us because we thought for a while that it’s location was strategically important. An expensive assessment since it appears to be of little military significance. Kenya was the recipient of many billions in aid and was the base and cornerstone of the U.S. AID establishment in East Africa. Lot of good that has done as we’ve tolerated and used it’s corrupt government for the past 40 years. Uganda has lost it luster with the participation of it’s military in the plundering of the Congo. You do remember the Congo, or was it Zaire?! Etc. Etc.

Meanwhile Tanzania, a country receiving little aid from the U.S. since independence because of it’s socialist bias, has become the poster boy for the U.S. aid program. Given the track record Tanzania might want to consider the consequences.

This AIDS program is a lifetime commitment. Once we start supplying medications it’s unethical to stop. The U.S. program distributes branded relatively high priced medications exclusively. No other program, the UN and other nations, is so profligate. These drugs cost several times more than generics, meaning that the money available for drugs will be sufficient to treat several times fewer patients.

While on a visit to Tanzania recently, we visited a hospital that explained that half their HIV patients were receiving the “free” medications and other care provided by our program. We were quite impressed with the progress. They also indicated that while the U.S. program frowns on prevention education regarding condoms. The hospital, a mission facility, provides the education and condoms anyway.

Meanwhile at home Bush vetoes health care for children; opposes any real national health scheme that assures access to medical care; cuts Medicaid and Medicare funding; refuses to negotiate with drug companies to decrease the cost to our consumers. Here, health expenses are the leading contributer to bankruptcy and our health expenditures are 100-150% higher than anywhere else in the world.

The hypocrisy, the hypocrisy.

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