Bush plea for aid goes unanswered?
The Observer is reporting that a “Bush administration” plea for money to assist the Iraqi people has gone mostly unanswered. I’m not surprised--this is the first time I’ve even heard of it. If most of the reporting on the fund is like the Observer’s, it isn’t surprising that nobody else has heard of it either.
The Observer reports it as a “Bush administration” plea; later in the article they mention USAid, but not whether USAID is handling the plea or just the resources. There is nothing in the article that would help people who want to donate find the place to do so. The article doesn’t mention the name of the program or when the appeal was made.
The closest thing to a clue is the quote, presumably from the appeal, “a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq”. A Google search on this quote leads to the USAID web site for something called the Iraq Partnership, but if this is the USAID fund the Observer is talking about, they don’t otherwise mention it in their article. They do link to USAID’s Assistance for Iraq web page, but this page, while it has a recent link to IraqPartnership.org, hardly qualifies as a “plea from the Bush administration”; certainly, it isn’t a high-profile one. The relevant announcement is in their “latest Iraq news” box:
In a speech today to the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, Andrew Natsios, Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announced the launch of www.IraqPartnership.org. This web site will help American citizens learn more about official U.S. assistance for Iraq and make contributions to high-impact development projects.
This announcement came on September 9, 2005, only two weeks ago. A Google News search for USAID Donate Iraq produced 26 news articles, from places like Duluth News, Bradenton Herald, Biloxi Sun Herald, and ???? Hong Kong... nothing in a newspaper that would bring the issue to the country. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the major Washington, DC papers, none of them appear to have covered this “plea from the Bush Administration”.
A search on the New York Times web site for USAID Iraq donate only returned “Did you intend to search for unsaid iraq donate?”
If this announcement was the plea that the Observer is talking about, then it came during a period when Americans have projects much closer at hand to donate to: assistance following Hurricane Katrina. The Observer reports it as a contrast between the two amounts, but it isn’t surprising that a request made at the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce on September 9 would take a back seat to requests made a week earlier, in the wake of a massive hurricane that destroyed much of a major city right next door.
However, if the Iraq Partnership is the donation program the Observer was talking about, then by my calculation, the Observer was right about how much it has received so far: it currently (as of September 23) has $589. As soon as it receives my check, it will have 10% more.
The choice of options is daunting; if you want to give, but don’t know which project you want to give to, look for the Iraq Country Fund under Economic Development. “The Iraq Country Fund will be allocated to USAID projects according to need and funding. It is a terrific option for those donors who want their support to be broad based.”