Dubya is giving his last press conference as President ever this very second and it’s sad, so sad as the press corps ask various versions of, “So, all that shit you fucked up, you’re just leaving it all for the next guy, hmmmm?”
And the soon-to-be former President is answering the only way he knows how: Through malapropisms, ‘aww shucks’ confusion he had anything to do with anything (which we used to think was a ploy, but at this point, seems spot on) and by making some frat-boy small talk with the press corps. If you have some pent up rage and feel like spending the morning screaming at the TV, you should check it out. He’s comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln! He’s excited to clear brush! He’s not discussing the question of whether he will pardon his whole staff from all the potentially horrible crimes they’ll be charged with!
It’s all a fun last-minute ploy to burnish his place in history, but even the one thing everything Bush is praised for– his AIDS initiatives in Africa — are now coming under scrutiny and are turning out to be, like everything else that 43 did, a massive misuse of money born out of poor planning and the decision to allow ideology to trump common sense.
“More than 1.5 million Africans died in 2007 (the U.S. death toll is under 15,000), fewer than one-third had access to treatment, and new infections continued to outstrip those receiving life-prolonging drugs.
In most African countries, life expectancy has dropped dramatically, and only a few, like Botswana, have started to turn the corner again.
There continue to be detractors who say the U.S. administration should have channeled the money through the U.N.; that it has placed too much emphasis on faith-based groups and abstinence; that it has trampled on women’s health by shunning anything associated with abortions; that it has concentrated on AIDS treatment at the expense of prevention; and that it has diverted attention away from bigger killers like pneumonia and diarrhea.
Helen Epstein, an AIDS expert who has consulted for the U.N. and the World Bank, says both the U.N. and PEPFAR have failed disastrously on prevention by preaching abstinence until marriage and failing to recognize that in some African cultures it is the norm to have several simultaneous long-term relationships.
She says the money would be better spent on strengthening African health care systems rather than focusing on a single disease.
Johanna Hanefeld at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says her research in Zambia indicated that the U.N. Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria was more effective in using HIV programs as a lever to improve health care and staff training, rather than scattering cash among many non-governmental groups, faith-based or other.”