According to the Washington Post the Bush administration is using the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as an “invisible conduit” to fund popular community projects to suade voters from electing representatives of the radical Islamic group Hamas.
The approximately $2 million program is being led by a division of the USAID. But no U.S. government logos appear with the projects or events being undertaken as part of the campaign, which bears no evidence of U.S. involvement and does not fall within the definitions of traditional development work.
I guess this falls under USAID’s “Supporting U.S. Geostrategic Interests” section for allocating funds. Hey, it’s not “nation-building” right?
One of the more interesting quotes from the article was:
“We are not favoring any particular party,” said James A. Bever, the USAID mission director for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. “But we do not support parties that are on the terrorism list. We are here to support the democratic process.”
Fatah (The ones we are helping) and Hamas are the two leading parties with the latest opinion polls giving a slight edge to Fatah. U.S. officials are “coordinating the program through Rafiq Husseini, chief of staff to Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of Fatah.” How is this “not favoring any particular party?”
And it wouldn’t be a real U.S. government story without a little hypocrisy. We have no problem dumping dollars into elections around the world and yet the U.S. forbids campaign contributions from foreign nationals. This feels like the time my Grandmother offered a raspy, spittle-filled diatribe on the dangers of smoking as she lit up another cigarette. Do as I say, not as I do?
Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and independent nations, with governments that answer to their citizens, and reflect their own cultures. And because democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the advance of freedom will lead to peace.
Yes, that’s sarcasm dripping from my lips…