UPDATE: My most recent Live 8 hypocrisy post here.
Accessing the following articles requires registration (boo, hiss) but not subscription. I know for a fact that the Spectator's nosy form can be left incomplete and still goes through. However, I find the Telegraph and Spectator routinely have such interesting coverage, I think you'll find it worthwhile.
Do I ever tire of being so freaking on top of what's happening? Well, no, since I'm a pathetic fraud. But the inefficiencies and hypocrisies of international aid programs have been a concern of mine, since the inception of this blog- sans sexy links- last January to comment on the Indian Ocean tsunami. I do claim to be at least a persistent bore, banging my pot with a wooden spoon and yelling that more money and U.N. room service won't fix underdeveloped nations without systemic reform against corruption and empowering regular folks to benefit from their labors.
1) The authentically fabulous Mark Steyn describes the current fate of tsunami aid which is still held up awaiting bribes and infrastructure. He also details how the first responders and essential (non-bribe dependent) supply transport was provided by the same militaries that most of the world is too cheap or faux-civilized to maintain themselves. He cites a clueless Canuck who berated America for sending an aircraft carrier to the devastated region (how imperialist and warlike!) while ignoring that it replaced destroyed staging capacities on land and was additionally a high-tech, floating hospital. Like other countries, we sent tons of goods and funds. Unlike them, we also immedately provided a fully-staffed, billion-dollar asset to make sure the stuff got to where it was needed and that critically wounded people could be airlifted to top-quality medical care. This service is irreplaceable in the rest of the world. So why did our helping hand get accused of pinching pennies? Because greedy officials can't steal a whole carrier.
2) I've posted about the abuses of the ruling African strongmen and their love for Mercedes. Reading this Spectator article by Aidan Hartley, I learned the biggest tyrants are actually nicknamed WaBenzi in Swahili because of their trademark fleets of autos. You will discover their favorite models in color and number as well as how the money keeps finding its way past needy mouths and into rulers' garages. Hear the debauched argument that fat compensation makes a country's leaders less vulnerable to corruption. And BTW, grow up, Geldof.
3) Toward Robert Mugabe of decimated Zimbabwe, I've recently expressed a lack of confidence here and here. But now I must reconsider. He's got his thugs, correction, "building brigades", hastily reassembling some of the stores and shanties they just demolished after turning thousands from their homes and arresting thousands more for wondering whether things might be better under other leadership, I mean, for being menaces to society. Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister, admitted that "harm" had been caused to legitimate housing in the clean-up to "flush out black marketeers and criminals". I don't know if I'm more nauseous from the transparent antics, or from the oxymoronic notion of a Mugabe justice minister.