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December 20, 2002
COLLIN MAY RESPONDS TO PATTY MURRAY:
Until last October I worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. My job was fundraising. I wrote funding requests and financial reports for one donor: the European Union. My division was one of six that secured funding for ICRC activities. Each year our divisions tallied the total amount of donations coming from the various nations and organizations. We then produced a bar graph that listed the largest donors beginning with the most generous. And each year, first place in donations went to one nation: the United States. Indeed, in terms of the bar graph, American contributions towered above all others. Before working for the ICRC, I also worked for the United Nations. The case there was similar to the Red Cross. The US alone stood out ahead of all other donors.
Of course, Murray is correct to note that Osama bin Laden has used his vast family fortune (one he did absolutely nothing to earn) to win converts to his cause. By comparison, the money provided by the American government comes from taxpayers of various degrees of wealth, from American billionaires to the guy selling hot dogs on the street.
And Murray is also correct to point out that America did drop bombs on Afghanistan. But perhaps in her smug wisdom she might go further and ask another question. What were the results of bin Laden’s stewardship in comparison to those American bombs? Again I can refer to my work at the Red Cross. During my time with the ICRC I wrote funding requests and reports on Afghanistan both prior to September 11 and after. Prior to September 11, Afghanistan had experienced periods of sustained drought especially in Ghor province and Herat. This situation was complicated by an interminable civil war. After September 11 and the eventual attack on Afghanistan, I had the opportunity to talk with people who worked directly in Afghanistan. All told me about the incredible change in Afghanistan. Almost overnight, the country went from a land living in fear of the Taliban and al Qaeda operatives to one where children were playing in the streets, often kicking around soccer balls given them by American, British or French soldiers. And what about the activities of the Red Cross? Well, as my source in the field told me, the Red Cross now had access to areas previously prohibited by the Taliban. The humanitarian activities of the Red Cross were ultimately aided by those American bombs. . . .
Incidentally, my source in the field quipped, half jokingly half seriously, “I wish the US would invade a few more countries, it would make our job a hell of a lot easier.” He wasn’t an American by the way.
He may get his wish.
UPDATE: Here's Murray's response to her critics, which is just about as lame as Lott's. I don't think Michele is convinced.