Re: Aid for Afghanistan

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Tue Jan 01 2002 - 15:10:38 MST

> Fundamental mistake number 2 is to ignore the cultural background of other
> people. Peanut butter in food packets for example, with written
> instructions in several western languages. (1) Afghans don't know peanut
> butter, nor is it a usefull food for starving people. (2) 48% of the men
> and 78% of the women are illiterate. (3) There're a dozen or so different
> languages in that country.

Not all problems have solutions (find all the roots of a fifth order equation).

The airdrops were a gesture, like cradling a deer's head in your lap after
you hit it with your car. Not meaningless, but not directly very effective.

Spend months tooling up to produce packages in the correct languages
and people do without that food for that time. Producing the "correct" food
would take a year or more. It's a no-win given the specific circumstances.

The US could get into the "relief food" business in a big way, though, and
even one libertarian-leaning think tank has suggested something of the sort.

US foreign policy can't get un-fucked-up in one administration's term. I hope it
can improve through the next decade or two.

New drop bags should be designed with voice output, mass downloaded before drop.
This of course could mean that people with guns will hear the peanut-butter
whispering and take the food away from the hungry...

I know! Let's import a numerical majority of civilized Europeans as permanent
residents! Then the fighting will magically stop because they're so civilized!

 MMB<==butler a t comp - lib . o r g   Wm. Burroughs said it best: "After a shooting 
    spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it."
  I am not here to have an argument. I am here as part of a civilization. And you?

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