Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Development mercenaries

The Bush administration is trying to pass another bill, this time to embed development into military action. This from an article by sen. Lugar and Condie in yesterday's Washington post.

"The Senate has likewise recognized the need for a stand-alone rebuilding capacity and last year unanimously passed legislation to create a Reconstruction and Stabilization corps within the State Department. Legislation before the Senate would take further steps to establish the operational elements necessary for this work. The bill has three parts:

First, it calls for a 250-person active-duty corps of Foreign Service professionals from State and USAID, trained with the military and ready to deploy to conflict zones.

Second, it would establish a roster of 2,000 other federal volunteers with language and technical skills to stand by as a ready reserve.

Third, it would create the Civilian Reserve Corps the president called for, a group of 500 Americans from around the country with expertise in such areas as engineering, medicine and policing, to be tapped for specific deployments. The corps could be deployed globally wherever America's interests lie, to help nations emerging from civil war, for instance, or to mitigate circumstances in failed states that endanger our security."

This was quickly picked by Ernest Khoury from Al-Akhbar. He wrote an article today called "Bravo USAID" in which he says: "In her attempt to convince congress, Rice almost makes a Marxist argument, blaming wars and conflict on the absence of state institutions and on economics." Khoury then points to the article's praise of USAID's achievements, and links it to the flurry of adverts for USAID we are currently seeing in the Lebanese media, even in the media that claims to represents the opposition to the US project in the Middle East.

If I remember well, Al-Akhbar ran one of those ads a few days ago.

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