By Steve Milloy
U.S. Agency for International Development administrator Rajiv Shah and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson win this week’s award for cynicism.
In his column today (“When cuts lead to coffins“), Gerson wrote:
So far in the budget debate, the Obama administration has drawn few bright lines, preferring to blur distinctions with concessions. But last week, a neon line was drawn by an unlikely administration official. Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, possesses the mildest of manners. Testifying before the House state and foreign operations subcommittee, however, Shah had this to say:
“We estimate, and I believe these are very conservative estimates, that H.R. 1 would lead to 70,000 kids dying. Of that 70,000, 30,000 would come from malaria control programs that would have to be scaled back, specifically…”
Apparently oblivious to the tens of millions who have been killed, and billions who have been stricken by malaria — including about one million children who die annually — courtesy of the 1972 U.S. EPA ban on DDT, Shah and Gerson are now surfing the malaria tragedy (with phony statistics) for the purpose of launching a political attack on budget-cutting Republicans.
The Malaria Capers author Robert Desowitz paraphrased a USAID official as once saying about the Third World,
“Better off dead than alive and riotously reproducing.”
We now know there’s a caveat to that sentiment,
“… unless they serve our political purposes.”
FYI, Shah was Al Gore’s health care policy advisor in the 2000 Presidential campaign and also worked for the malaria-clueless Gates Foundation. Gerson is an alumnus of the generally-clueless administration of President George W. Bush.
Shah and Gerson can, of course, afford to be oblivious and callous since their combined five children live in the malaria-free Washington, DC area. Maybe they need to get out into the real world of malaria suffering like Dr. Rutledge Taylor did for his film “3 Billion and Counting.”