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August 04, 2002
MILITARY STYLE OPERATIONS are fine when you are protecting animals and tropical hardwoods... no matter what hardship it might produce for locals just trying to eke out a living. But don't get distracted by trying to help, you know, actual people. At least, that seems to be the subtext of this New York Times Magazine story on "Eco-Mercenaries."
UPDATE: Suman Palit has some thoughts on this. He notes that these NGOs are in many countries more powerful (but no more accountable) than the governments.
A piece in the July/August Atlantic Monthly (not available online unless you pay) called "The Internationals" points up the neo-colonial angle as well, and notes that the new version is in once sense worse: colonial officials a hundred years ago often spent years or decades in the countries they administered. Aid workers now spend a few months. I guess it's kind of like the "ticket punching" system for officers that was employed with such great success by the U.S. military in Vietnam. . . .
Re: The Atlantic Monthly article "The Internationals" it was written by Mark Lee.
Posted by: William Sulik at August 5, 2002 07:52 AM