President Bush claims that his new aid package for Africa will cut malaria deaths in half. The objectively racist, America-hating cynics at the WaPo were quick to cast aspersions on his pledge, as though the fact that Bush continually lies and breaks promises somehow makes him untrustworthy:
[S]ome analysts and advocates said the president's lofty language was not fully supported by his numbers, which they said were reached in part by repackaging previous pledges.The WaPo also notes that there are three components to the Bush plan:
The program would provide indoor spraying, long-lasting insecticide-treated nets and new combination drugs for treatment, Bush said....Indoor spraying, eh? A while ago, I blogged on Eritrea's 90-percent reduction in malaria cases, which it achieved primarily through the use of treated mosquito netting. There was another component to that story, which I didn't mention at the time. Chris Walker, Health Specialist at the World Bank, explains:
"If you go back five years, Eritrea used indoor spraying very extensively. But that's been cut back a lot with this project," he says.For "those they were using," you can read "DDT."
"We've also introduced other kinds of insecticides which are more environmentally friendly than those they were using...."
So what does Bush mean by "indoor spraying"? One hint comes from the Website of Africa Fighting Malaria, which is a pro-DDT pressure group run by Richard Tren and Roger Bate. Tren is involved in a whole galaxy of bizarre loony-libertarian causes, from privatization of South Africa's water supply, to embracing global warming as a positive development, to banning the use of generic AIDS drugs. Bate is one of the kingpins of the ultra-right anti-environment movement; he loves DDT so much that he stridently agitates for spraying it in regions where the mosquitos have already developed resistance.
With all that in mind, let's look at what AFM has to say about Bush's anti-malaria plan:
Thankfully President Bush offered some hope to those seeking reform in the way malaria control is conducted. First, in specifically mentioning support for indoor spraying with insecticides President Bush has boosted hopes in African countries that this highly effective intervention will be scaled up.I guess the most you can say us that if this "humanitarian" plan is indeed a giveaway to Monsanto, there's a chance that Bush will actually fund it...which is something he's never quite managed with his other aid packages.
Tim Lambert at Deltoid has lots more on Tren, Bate, and AFM.
I'd like to add that Bono, who proclaimed that "there's no denying the commitment" of Bush to Africa, is an utter schmuck.