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When Afghan children are forced to eat mud, it's clear we have squandered billions of dollars of aid

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-27-07 02:55 PM
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When Afghan children are forced to eat mud, it's clear we have squandered billions of dollars of aid
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2088604,00.h...

Unsuitable, unsustainable

When Afghan children are forced to eat mud, it is clear we have squandered billions of dollars of aid

Matt Waldman
Saturday May 26, 2007
The Guardian

The international community is in danger of repeating in Afghanistan the mistakes made in Iraq. Millions of Afghans have seen little material improvement in their lives since 2001, and most still live in desperate poverty. From the start, the damage inflicted by a quarter-century of war was underestimated; this is not about repairing the state but building it from scratch.

Rural communities have seen some improvements, but essential services are scarce or inadequate. In provinces where Oxfam works such as Daikundi, there is no mains water or electricity, and virtually no paved roads. Average life expectancy in Daikundi is 42 and one in five children dies before the age of five. Afghan children chew on mud they scratch from the walls of their homes to stave off hunger.

Most reconstruction work has focused on urban centres and national institutions and structures. It has been supply-driven, not needs-driven. Development urgently needs to go local, but there is confusion among state institutions about their roles, and district councils provided for by the constitution have yet to be elected. For ordinary Afghans, the local or tribal council of elders - the shura or jirga - constitutes the central authority. Yet these bodies have been largely neglected in the state-building process.

Four things need to be done: building the capacity of local government to deliver essential services at ground level; achieving a coherent system of sub-national governance; directing resources to communities to help them help themselves; and supporting economic regeneration, especially in rural trades and non-opium agriculture.

America is bankrolling Afghanistan. It is responsible for more than half of all aid to the country (aid that accounts for about a third of GDP), and it plans to provide $10.6bn in the next two years. But as in Iraq, a vast proportion of aid is wasted. Political pressure in donor countries for rapid results has led to projects that are unsuitable and unsustainable. Most aid money goes to programmes in the opium-intensive, insecure provinces in the south. To neglect secure provinces is to invite the insurgency to spread.

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demnan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-27-07 03:02 PM
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1. We still don't God Damned fucking get it from the Viet Nam war
If we had given people rice, provided them with choices and respected their humanity we could have helped so many people in South Viet Nam who were on our side. Same thing in Afghanistan, same thing in Iraq.

Why don't people fucking get it?

Not that I think we should have been there in the first place, but God Damnit if you're going to be an imperialist power do the goddamn thing right.

I don't want to do anything there so it componds my anger.
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-27-07 03:05 PM
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2. It wasn't squandered, it was stolen. Like in Iraq. Karzai's goverment is
not in control of anything. The 'war' in Afganistan is an absolute farce. And it gets much less funding than the 'war' in Iraq.

I'm not pointing out anything that will strike anyone as being 'news'. We have multi-national forces in Afganistan and the place is as big a mess as it was right after we first went in their to run the Taliban crazies out. And guess what? The Taliban is making a comeback with support of the people because we screwed up our chance at helping them. We backed thug warlords and paid them off by the shitload. We indiscriminately kill innocent civilians (like someplace else I could name) and then act like its their fault. We treat them arrogantly and disdainfully and then we don't understand why they don't greet us with hugs and kisses.

What the hell does anyone expect? We successfully occupied Germany and Japan only because the US treated the people with respect and helped them get back on their feet. That's how we gained their support (no occupation can succeed without the support of the people). In Afganistan and Iraq we went in swaggering and blustering and bombing, supporting the war lords, and let bin Laden walk out of Tora Bora unscathed (which was a BIIIIGGGG mistake).

What does anyone expect? The Russians tried to warn the US friggin' clown government that this would happen. The biggest irony is that when the Russians were fighting the Afganis, we were helping them resist. Well, we don't even have that problem and we still can't subdue the population. What does that tell you?
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