OUR CASH, THEIR BOMBS - AT 9:16 P.M. ET: Superb investigative reporter Joel Mowbray, in the Washington Times, exposes something that should have been stopped long ago - the misappropriation of American foreign-aid money shipped to the Mideast. Of course, we must not be judgmental about the financial choices made by other cultures, mustn't we? Yes we must. Consider:
According to a critical report issued last week by the Government Accountability Office, the auditing arm of Congress, the State Department has fallen short overseeing aid to Palestinians through both the U.S. Agency for International Development and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which administers Palestinian refugee camps.
This means in practical terms that many of the Palestinians who are consuming a steady diet of Islamist indoctrination and glorification of violence receive this brainwashing courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. It doesn't require high-level deductions to predict how badly this wounds - if not kills - any hope for Palestinian society to embrace peaceful coexistence with a Jewish state of Israel.
Mowbray notes that Congress has attempted to improve things:
Lawmakers have dictated repeatedly and explicitly that no U.S. taxpayer funds can go to any organization that has even "advocated" terrorism - meaning no money should go to groups whose leaders have declared on Al-Jazeera or elsewhere that suicide bombers are "martyrs."
The State Department's bar that contractors and aid recipients must clear is much lower. Even under the most thorough vetting the department conducts, essentially only people who have actively participated in terrorism would be declared ineligible. It appears the department hasn't even bothered to think of a way to determine which people trying to receive U.S. taxpayer dollars have advocated terrorism.
In other words, unless you're caught with the suicide belt around your waist, or the bomb in the trunk of your pink Mercedes, you're good to go.
President Kennedy famously declared the State Department a "bowl of Jell-O." Apparently it's descended even further, into a pile of goo. There were many reports of State officials trying to torpedo George W. Bush's foreign policy. There is a mentality at Foggy Bottom that should be changed, but I suspect it is now so institutionalized that it never will be.
There are many terrific members of the Foreign Service who do an outstanding job representing this country, often at the risk of their lives. But the policymaking levels have frustrated many presidents and members of Congress. They continue to get away with it.
May 29, 2009