Monday, September 19, 2005

Second Weekly Pentagon-athon

The Pentagon-athon was satire. But this drive is real, although some would call it satire as well. USAID: Iraq Partnership was launched earlier this month by the Bush Administration to raise charitable contributions for the government's attempt to rebuild Iraq. The Chicago Tribune reports:

...amid pleas for aid after Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration has launched an unusual effort to raise charitable contributions for another cause: the government's attempt to rebuild Iraq.

Although more than $30 billion in taxpayer funds have been appropriated for Iraqi reconstruction, the administration earlier this month launched an Internet-based fundraising effort that it says is aimed at giving Americans "a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq."

Contributors have no way of knowing who's getting the money or precisely where it's headed, because the government says it must keep the details secret for security reasons.
The campaign is raising eyebrows in the international development and not-for-profit communities, where there are questions about its timing - given needs at home - and whether it will set the government in competition with international not-for-profits.

On a more basic level, experts wonder whether Americans will make charitable donations to a government foreign aid program, and whether the contentious environment surrounding Iraq will make a tough pitch even tougher.

Full article...

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