Americans are a kind and generous people who want very much to help those who suffer deprivation and oppression. On the other hand, no one wants to see his contributions toward world hunger and poverty going to line the pockets of corrupt officials. There has to be accountability for the money that Americans donate, there have to be strings attached, and there has to be American oversight. There also has to be the threat of dire consequences for those who would steal the money that Americans wish to channel to those in greatest need.
This disheartening article describes a theft of staggering proportions in Nigeria and makes it clear that without the safeguards just mentioned, we may as well be flushing our charity down the commode. The report comes at an inauspicious moment, just as Bob Geldof's Live 8 concerts to raise aid for African people languishing in abject poverty under corrupt regimes draw close (July 2nd):
Indeed. After having stolen £220 billion they want their £20 billion debt to be forgiven?
The United States must henceforth insist that the donors of our foreign aid be permitted to oversee its distribution to the people who need it or the aid will simply not be forthcoming. It must no longer be left up to a bunch of corrupt government officials to decide how our charity will be disbursed. Until we have such assurances the Bush/Blair initiative to rescue Africa from poverty should be put on hold.