I happened to come across this commentary at CNN’s site Wednesday by Kay Warren, whose husband Rick wrote “The Purpose-Driven Life” and who herself has traveled and written extensively on the AIDS pandemic (as noted in her bio).
Her column about what Christians can do to combat AIDS was commendable in a few ways, and some of the comments posted below showed that her words touched a great many people, and she deserves thanks for that (though author Wayne Besen his own take on all of this).
The one question that kept coming back to me over and over, though, as I read this was, “What is going on with the funding for The Millennium Challenge Account that is supposed to address AIDS in Africa?”
Though this link is dated from January 2005, I think it contains some information that is still relevant today, and I’ve highlighted the following two paragraphs. (I’ll search for updates and add to this post if I find them).
In the State of the Union Address 2003, Bush promised $15 billion over 5 years toward the global fight against AIDS. $10 billion in new money was to be concentrated in Africa and the Caribbean. The initiative was hailed as an act of tremendous generosity and a significant contribution. However, shortly thereafter Admin Bush fell short of its own proposed effort. Following the speech, the White House submitted its 2004 budget which asked for $450 million of new money that was ostensibly coming from cutting $500 million from international child health programs. The President has consistently refused to request the full $3 billion per year and will likely follow this pattern entering January 2005.As I’ve said before, history one day will record Dubya’s 2003 State of the Union address as one of the grossest documents of wall-to-wall lies ever seen, and this apparently is but a part of that. And of all of the bait-and-switch tactics practiced by this administration, this may be the very worst, running a close second to Bushco’s denial of the existence of global warming.
In addition, rather than utilizing existing efforts and joining a truly global initiative to address the problem, Administration Bush opted to channel funds through USAID and created a new position to combat AIDS. The position’s responsibility is to oversee resources and activities in the global fight against HIV/AIDS pandemic. Um, I thought that’s what the Global Fund for AIDS was doing. But Admin Bush’s egotism mandated that only $200 million go to the Fund, which has repeatedly pleaded with the U.S. to increase its share of funding in order to meet real needs and avert bankruptcy. Instead of meeting the challenge and opportunity of taking real global leadership in addressing the AIDS pandemic, the U.S. has backed away from commitments to international organizations, domestic promises, and Sub-Saharan Africa.