Category Archives: Media clippings

US AID guards its turf in Pakistan

Over at Informed Consent, Juan Cole writes:

usaid_logo_sealThe [Kerry-Lugar Pakistan] aid bill is also controversial in Washington, where a US AID official has complained about the plan to funnel it through Pakistani contractors rather than through American ones. The Agency for International Development official maintained that Pakistani organizations cannot be monitored effectively by the US, raising the possibility that the money will be embezzled…

I understand the difficulty of auditing NGOs in dangerous places like the FATA tribal areas. But it seems to me that it must be possible to audit the Pakistani pass-through organizations elsewhere regularly, and that the shell game of Congress giving foreign aid to a country in a way that actually just benefits US corporations and contractors is counter-productive.

The original complaint came in the form of a “sensitive but unclassified” internal memo from US AID Development Economist C. Stuart Callison, Ph.D., criticizing the U.S. State Department’s shifts in the routing of Pakistan aid:

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Lack of Coverage on Transgendered Pakistanis Shows Bias in U.S. Media

The Huffington Post
Posted: August 19, 2009 03:44 PM
By Sanjeev Bery

It probably wasn’t the first time that someone had organized an Independence Day cricket match in Pakistan. But it almost certainly was the first time that such a match occurred between a team of professional cricket players and a team of transgendered Pakistanis.

As the Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported, the transgendered team won.

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The Death of Robert McNamara

McNamaraIt is tough to know what do to with the passing of a man who was an architect of the Vietnam War — and who later expressed remorse for it.  Three million Vietnamese died, and 60,000 Americans were killed in combat.

Jonathan Schell’s piece in The Nation on former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara is worth reading in its entirety.  A snippet:

“As the decades of the twentieth century rolled by, the heaps of corpses towered, ever higher, up to the skies, and now they pile up again in the new century, but how many of those in high office who have made these things happen have ever said, “I made a mistake,” or “I was terribly wrong,” or shed a tear over their actions? I come up with: one, Robert McNamara. I deduce that such acts of repentance are very hard to perform.”

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The Sovietologist Speaks

DD_image_communismA good book review is a platform for a skilled sweep of history and society.

Andrew O’Hehir’s Salon.com review of The Rise and Fall of Communism by Archie Brown rises to this standard.  The focus of O’Hehir’s write-up is the recent work of a retired Oxford Sovietologist and former informal adviser to Margaret Thatcher.

Despite having been affiliated with one of the biggest anti-communists of them all, Brown has some unorthodox views.  The review is worth a read, and the book probably is too.

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And now for some IDF spin…

Who knew that the IDF was there to help the Palestinians?

IDF Furthers Its Efforts to Improve Palestinian Daily Life

From the Israeli Defense Forces’ website

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Haaretz: Second IDF soldier refuses to serve over violence towards Palestinians

By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent
8/26/2009 (Israel)
Haaretz

A second IDF soldier has refused to continue following orders unless his complaints of violence toward Palestinians are investigated, Haaretz has learned.

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“Pakistanis Debate Their Future On Facebook”

Sanjeev Bery, The Huffington Post, 05/18/09

As the Pakistani military rains fire down upon villagers and Taliban alike, Pakistanis and members of the diaspora are engaged in numerous online debates about the future of their country. In some cases, they are offering perspectives that the rest of us should listen to.

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