"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Saturday, May 01, 2004 Jeffrey Sachs says the UN Millennium Development Goals are acheivable. Many say he is wrong, that we can't do it
For all those who say we can't ... two figures I came across today:
$2.9 billion/month - amount of additional U.S. aid needed to achieve UN Millennium Development Goals (source: UN Development Programme)
$4.7 billion/month - current cost of military operations in Iraq (source: Pentagon officials, quoted in an article by MSNBC's Christopher Farrell)
For $1.6 billion less a month than we are spending in Iraq, we could be paying our fair (and pledged) share to improve the lives of the world's neediest 2 billion people.
The questions are so obvious that they become rhetorical:
What is the better way to fight terrorism -- creating animosity toward us in the Arab world or being the patron saint of the world's poorest?
What is the better way to spread democracy -- turning Iraq into a police state or acheiving universal primary education and equality for women?
What is the better way to live out the Gospel of Christ -- killing or healing?
It's easy to look at these figures and say "well, it's not that simple." Actually, it is. Would there be barriers in making sure that $2.9 billion a month got to the places it needed to go? Absolutely. Can we work to overcome them? Absolutely? Can you make an argument that the people in Iraq are better off because of the war? Sure (though I am not sure I buy it, but you can make a good argument for that.).
But there is no argument that makes any sense to me that says spending more money on something that is less effective at achieving our stated objectives is anything but pure stupidity.
I watched Nightline last night -- fortunately PAX TV aired it after the corporation that owns Channel 30 censored it. It was incredibly powerful to sit there for 35 minutes watching nothing but names and faces of those who had been killed. It gave you a taste of the enormity of it.
But those names and faces are only a fraction of the sin, of the death and pain of this war.
There are the names and faces of the Iraqi people who have been killed, maimed or had their homes destroyed.
There are also the names and faces of the millions of people worldwide we could have been saving from things like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, starvation, and many other things that we CHOOSE not to save because we CHOOSE to spend our money on waging war in Iraq.
We are all busy people. We have lots going on in our lives and it is important stuff. But, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said "evil prospers when good people do nothing." We meet Christ when we feed the hungry and tend to the sick. We become Christ when we feed the hungry and tend to the sick. There is nothing more important in our lives, nothing that will bring us more meaning, more joy, more purpose than bearing Christ to those in need.
It's not always popular to speak out against the war. It's tough when people we love like Paul Scharre are (possibly?) over there. But it's just too important not to.
It's not about politics. It's about saving lives. It's about following Christ.
| Mike at 5/01/2004 04:15:00 PM
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"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."