Military foreign aid can work

One of the reasons often used to justify the Iraq invasion is that we needed to attack in order to improve the lives of the poor oppressed Iraqi people. This is military foreign aid.

I have no problem with welfare or foreign aid. I think it is admirable and appropriate for people to want to help other people who are in trouble. However I don’t think it is moral or beneficial to force people to contribute to government welfare or foreign aid.

I also accept the idea that it is possible to help people through war. While it’s not yet clear whether the Iraq invasion has been good or bad for the Iraqi people, there are other examples where giving military support has lead to a better outcome for the recipients of the support. One example is American support for South Korea following the invasion (and likely victory) of the nutty Nth Koreans.

My point is that we should consider the option of voluntarily-financed military foreign aid.

A perfect test case has just become apparent. Sudan has recently agreed to allow non-African peacekeepers into the Darfur region and the UN has called on nations (including Australia) to contribute troops. This is a clear example of military foreign aid. At the moment, it seems that the Australian government is not going to contribute to this venture.

If there was a national appeal to the Australian public to voluntarily contribute funds towars a “help protect Darfur” fund I think it would raise enough money to send a small but significant Australian force over to Sudan. This would be a win-win outcome.

Those who care deeply about the tragedy in Darfur would have a clear avenue to help. People who think that troops are the best answer can directly support the troops while others can support the Red Cross or any other charity of their choice. There would be no additional burden on the Australian taxpayer, our troops would receive valuable experience, and there would be the possibility that we could substantially help some of the most disadvantaged people on earth.

Following the 2004 asian tsunami that hit Thailand, Sri-Lanka, Indonesia & India Australians donated $74 million to World Vision, $28 million to Oxfam, $121 million to the Red Cross, $16 million to UNICEF Australia, $75 million to doctors without borders (who actually had to ask people to stop donating) and millions more to other charities.

In 2005 it is estimated that Australians donated $11 billion to charity, excluding the asian tsunami giving. A more robust QUT study of tax deductable donations gave a lower estimate of $1.5 billion. The study also showed that the amount donated to charity has been trending up (after adjusting for inflation), more people are donating, they are donating larger amounts, and donations as a percentage of income is increasing. The rich donate more — about 2% of their taxable income, compared with a national average of 0.35%.

To put this into perspective, the Parliamentary Library reports that Australia’s military contribution to Kosovo cost us $6 million, our contribution to Afghanistan cost $53 million (after one year) and our contribution to East Timor cost $231 million. The original Budgetary cost of Australia’s actions in Iraqi was $645 million, though current estimates are between $1.5 and $3 billion.

Some people claim that private charity doesn’t work well because there is a positive externality from giving. If you help a poor person then I feel good (because the person is helped) but I don’t have to do anything. While this situation is theoretically possible and widely assumed to be true, I doubt that it is a signfiicant effect.

I believe private charity is more effective (less bureaucracy, more individualised effort), more moral (as it comes from a person decision) and sufficient enough to cover most major hardships. I think Australians would donate enough to fund an Australian contribution to Darfur and I think the Australian government should give this option to the people.

45 thoughts on “Military foreign aid can work

  1. You’re suggesting that private citizens hire mercenaries to wage foreign wars. I’m not opposed to this idea, but it would require massive reworking of long standing international treaties.

    The area where this should have applied is in our invasion of Indonesia. Rather than simply give oil rights to East Timor, they should be paying us royalties as we provided their freedom.

  2. One of the reasons often used to justify the Iraq invasion is that we needed to attack in order to improve the lives of the poor oppressed Iraqi people.

    It may be no more than semantic as it depends on what is meant by “improve the lives”, but to me the compelling reason for the Iraq invasion was to free the people from an oppressive dictator. I always believed the Iraqis would get on and improve their own lives once that occurred, although there are elements determined to prevent that from occurring.

    The notion of privately funded military aid appeals to me. I’d be happy to help fund aid that involved a bullet between the eyes for Mugabe, for example.

    A logical outcome is private funders being able to select private militaries to undertake the aid rather than a government monopoly with its inherent constraints. I’d certainly support a “well-armed militia”, at the very least.

  3. John;
    As far as troops are concerned I believe that we are overstretched already and should be looking at easing the load on them, not increasing it. I believe that unless we reduce the commitment and allow proper rest between active periods, we may be risking posttraumatic stress, and the sort of problems we saw and still see among Vietnam veterans.

    Afghanistan and Iraq are not the only places where the ADF is committed. The Solomon’s and East Timor spring to mind and there are probably others.

    Darfur appears to be another war zone, and given the potential for Al – Qaeda and ‘foreign fighter’ involvement, any commitment would have to be large enough to give those troops security. The problem of UN feel good rules of engagement in these circumstances doesn’t bear thinking about.

    That said, I fully support the idea of a campaign to raise funds to help the victims of this conflict. I believe that these people should get all of the non-military help we can give.

    There are plenty of other countries in better positions to meet peace keeping roles, and which would be less controversial in an Islamic country.

  4. I think my overall impression of MSF went from high to higher after reading that.

    Also, coming from a different perspective to the standard economics one, the idea of people donating to charities (and other alturistic behavior) due in large part to positive externalities is basically a belief now largely discarded in psychology — so at least in my perspective, it isnt widely believed to be true.

    If you want to push this argument as a major factor (obviously you don’t), then you need to explain why 1 year olds display atruistic behavior, why old people do more voluntarily work than young people (despite the less potential benefit), why you might help pick someone up that fell over without actually consciously thinking about it etc.

    There’s a huge chasm in thought now between psychology and economics on many of these issues, with psychology largely giving up on the conscious behavior is largely based on rational probabilitic processing people do, and, at a guess, I would think the general public sides with psychology — I don’t think, for instance, that the general public thinks that altruistic occurs in large part due to positive externalities.

  5. Not quite the same as regular mercenaries, though there is a place for that idea too.

    Australian government troops shouldn’t be for open hire. For example, Aust govt troops wouldn’t be for hire to Hezbollah. Only for approved missions that don’t put Australia’s security at risk (and hopefully help to build experience).

    Jim — there would have to be many troops in Darfur, but they don’t have to be all Australian. I imagine that our contribution (government funded or otherwise) would only ever make up a very small percentage of the force. Perhaps 100-500 troops?

  6. Yes john, I am in favour of troops being there,however I think a commitment by us would have to be in the order of at least a batallion, probably with supporting elements.

    The reason for this is that they would have to be able to fight alone if necessary owing to the unreliability of the UN factor, and the Islamic factor. I referred before to UN rules of engagement because of the incidents in places like Kosovo where UN troops stood aside and allowed the Serbs to take the people they were protecting, and were themselves taken for human sheilds, because the rules of engagement did not let them respond.

    I have been sickened and appauled as any one else at the Dafur situation, and am fully in favour of doing something, but in this situation I am not convinced that we should send troops. We are pretty good at humanitatian aid, lets do that.

    I think Australia has pretty good peace keeping credits so far, we have been at the forefrount of nearly every effort for quite a few years, and while I would like to see our guys slaughtering those Janaweed bastards, I think its about time some one else did it, and gave our people a break.

    Hey, I’m supposed to be the warmongering one here.

  7. I’m sure we’re good at humanitarian aid. But when people are being raped and murdered they don’t need a water purification tablet or dried biscuits. I don’t think violence is a good solution to most problems… but sometimes it’s the only option left if you want to help.

  8. John; I know what you mean, and I agree. I cherish the thought of a force accustomed to exercising their courage against unarmed civillians meeting a professional outfit.

    I just don’t think that we can feild a force large enough to be secure in their own right if things go pear shaped. I regret this as I feel we have to turn down an opportunity to really do some good.

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  10. Personally I think there’d need to be a lot of investigation done to show that Darfur wouldn’t become another Iraq before I’d support any kind of Australian involvement. If we look at similarities to existing/past conflicts:

    1. African politics is volatile, and it’s not hard to unite a countrie’s population against what are perceived to be outsiders (see: Zimbabwe, but compounded by the fact that they’re outsiders with guns and not the leading contributor to the economy). Compare, too, to the Middle East where the politics of the region mean we have a choice between leaving Iraq to be ruled by one sect in a totalitarian manner (unfortunately I can’t see them co-operating any other way), or split it up meaning:
    i) Turkey cracks the shits because Kurdish separatists now have a base of operations.
    ii) Iran has a militant shia ally.
    iii) The Saudis could be potentially destabilised as well if the Sunni state were ambitious enough.
    That’s a tangent, but point being you acheive little when you intervene in regions filled with irrational governments.

    2. It sets a dangerous precedent for intervening in other African nations, and for the potential creation of US bases dotted around the continent. This would, no doubt, do little more than unite the continent against the West in much the same way as the Middle East has been. Even if it’s private investors donating the money, the blowback still hits Australia in general.

    On face value sending troops to Darfur seems like a good idea, but so did overthrowing Saddam because he was a dangerous tyrant.

  11. Thanks for the comments Justin. Importantly in this instance, the Sudanese government has invited in UN troops and there is no goal of regime change. If the people being protected wanted the troops to leave, then it is unlikely that people would continue to donate their hard-earned money to keep them there.

    I don’t think the idea of invading Iraq ever looked like a good idea if you objectively assessed the likely benefits & costs.

  12. On face value sending troops to Darfur seems like a good idea, but so did overthrowing Saddam because he was a dangerous tyrant.

    Overthrowing Saddam was a good idea. The problem is that the subsequent management of Iraq was not based on any idea but made up as it went along.

    The Janjaweed wouldn’t necessarily require a lot of troops to control, but the process does require considerable technology and mobility ie capacity to monitor movements (satellite, drones, etc) and helicopter troop insertions. A couple of hundred troops driving around in jeeps wouldn’t do it.

  13. In other words — the idea of a perfectly run government program is a good idea. Unfortunately, and totally unpredictably, the government made a few mistakes this time. Woops!

    And of course the invasion of Iraq wasn’t voluntarily funded, so it needs to pass a much higher burden of proof of net benefits.

  14. John: I was under the impression that the government was funding the Janjaweed, and wikipedia’s telling me something similar:
    “The Sudanese government, while publicly denying that it supports the Janjaweed, has provided money and assistance to the militia…”
    “After fighting worsened in July and August, on August 31, 2006, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 1706 which called for a new 17,300-troop UN peacekeeping force… Sudan strongly objected to the resolution and said that it would see the UN forces in the region as foreign invaders.”

    Can you clarify?

  15. I don’t think the idea of invading Iraq ever looked like a good idea if you objectively assessed the likely benefits and costs.

    It was a difficult and contentious decision, of the type that we still decide in a collective fashion. So the democratically elected representatives of free countries voted in their open publicly scrutinised parliaments, under their constitutions protecting the rights of the citizens, to make this difficult and contentious decision in the interests of their constituents. And for a number of free countries like the USA and Australia the democratic decision was made to go in.

    We can talk about voluntarily funded wars and other means to make the process more democratic, but that wasn’t (and still isn’t) the order of the day (yet). So some free nations went to war and it was morally right. We’ll know if it was a good or bad decision in 50 years or so, but at the time, with the information we had, according to the needs and wishes of civilised free people, the best decision possible was made.

  16. Has military foreign aid worked in the Solomn Islands, PNG and East Timor?

    John – I think it can be reasonable argued that the operations in Iraq could have succeeded without being perfect. If the Iraqi army had been retained and if more US troops were deployed during the immediate post invasion period I suspect that they may well have been close to having a credible working government there by now. In hindsight this seems to be a tactical failure more than a failure of strategic concept. Assuming of course that the real strategic aim was always geopolitical and not the stated one of protecting us from WMD. If Rumsfeld had retained his geopolitical strategic goal but used the tactical plans recommended by his military commanders project Iraq may well have worked out reasonably well.

  17. Hmm, but even given these circumstances, the Sudanese government isn’t going to be happy about the troops being there, nor is it going to be overenthusiastic about maintaining their legacy even assuming they are successful in crushing the Janjaweed. Far better to get them to withdraw suppport from the group and send those elements of their army which aren’t fanatically devoted to destroying the native Africans over to help the AU, with foreign aid coming in the form of equipment and training for the AU (so to be clear they’d be two separate forces fighting on the same side, because handing the Sudanese government weapons probably isn’t the best of ideas).

    This way we have both the Janjaweed weakened and the western forces bolstered (though it might be optimistic to expect too many troops from the Sudanese army), Sudan doesn’t feel like its sovereinty is being violated and there’s the potential for a very quick end to the conflict if the militia decide to cut their losses and stop the attacks. Either way the necessity is there to convince Sudan that stopping the attacks is in their interests and given the xenophobia that exists in Africa they might just see this proposal as better than a “foreign invasion”.

  18. Michael — I agree that America, Austrlia and others are democratic countries. I don’t think that has any baring on whether their decisions were good or not.

    You don’t determine the truth by vote and there is nothing inherently moral about two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

    I also agree that the suggestion of my post is not currently available or even likely. Indeed, most of what I write is not current policy & is unlikely to be implemented soon. People not interested in my ideas are free to ignore them.

  19. Justin — if the UN actions in Darfur are voluntary, then you are free not to fund them. Depending on the exact details of their activities, I might donate some money. If you prefer, perhaps you could donate to the AU peacekeeping force, or to the red cross. Ah, the joys of choice.

    Terje — the use of “perfect” was rhetoric, but I think the point was clear. Substitute “perfectly run government program” for “properly run government program” and the point is the same.

    And I don’t know how well military aid has done in various places around the world. I also don’t know how non-military aid has done in various places around the world. I imagine they have both done worse than expected. As long as they are voluntary (and don’t violate the laws of free countries) then that is not a political problem.

    With regards to the moral issue of how best to help poor people — I suggest you donate money to the Human Capital Project.

  20. We, the West, should not have invaded Iraq, but we should have sent in a Bond-James-Bond to take care of Saddam, and left them to it. Whatever Government took power would then have ‘street-cred’, and not be thought of as a puppet of the West.

  21. Nicholas – I thought the west was against the idea of sending people on suicide missions against ones enemies purely on principle. 😉

    John – I’m not trying to refute your basic point but rather I’m just exploring the nuance of the issue. To further clarify my comment about tactical failure it should be noted that I don’t think we can now invade a second time and do the job properly second time round. The pandoras box has been opened and the opportunities that can be seen in hindsight are not necessarily repeatable and were not entirely visible to the key people in advance. I’m just hesitant to see the failure in Iraq as a categorical endorsement of my pre-war position. Even though I think my pre-war opposition to the invasion was essentially correct.

  22. Suppose a privately funded expedition into Darfur turned into nuclear war or something else catastrophic that killed a million people, and it was shown that these investors had thrown their money in without properly researching the consequences of an incursion (i.e. if it could be shown that proper prior research would have demonstrated a decent chance of something like this happening), would you hold them criminally negligent? What if they weren’t negligent, just ignorant of foreign policy, as many businessmen are? I mean you’ve seen countless examples of well meaning governments interfering in the lives of their citizens where things have gone terribly awry.

    Secondly, what if investors decide they want to fund suicide bombers in Gaza, because it’s their view that this is the best way of acheiving change, would you support their decision?

    I just think that the notion of being able to throw mercenaries at a foreign conflict allows individuals to make decisions about the life and death of others that should not rest in their hands just because they possess the wealth to do so. The only solution would be to have the government regulate private mercenaries as well, which becomes exceedingly difficult if you have an Australian paying a group of people from a neighbouring country to get involved.

  23. Too right. Shaken not stirred. And he should have seduced heaps of sexy and exotic women while he was there. That might be difficult with all those chadors. He might have to be less picky.

    He should also have been privately funded. Unfortunately there are all these silly international conventions on what good international citizenry is. If you play along according to them your state is not allowed to sponsor or sanction assasination. And if you sponsor it privately you’re a criminal.

  24. Justin — it is possible to come up with absurd hypotheticals that drinking tea might lead to a terrorist blowing up the opera house. That doesn’t mean we should ban tea. We shouldn’t make policy on the basis of absurd hypotheticals. There is no serious security risk to Australia from contributing to an invited UN mission.

    As for allowing people to fund palestinian suicide bombers, I’ve already addressed that issue. Twice. The Australian government should allow the “renting-out” of it’s defence force only if it does not harm our interests & doesn’t violate the laws of another free country.

  25. In all the movies, the Bonds always had an escape route, and it always worked! Therefore, this would not be a suicide mission. If we feel that we need to interfere, this would be the way to do it.
    Or we could send in a suicide robot drone. A volunteer, naturally.
    Ideally, we would turn Australia into a well-defended fortress, and leave the rest of the world alone. This is impracticable now, but should be something we can work towards. Strict armed neutrality.

  26. The potential for sending armed soldiers into a country leading to more death than if they were not sent at all is not an absurd hypothetical. If anything it should be apparent that over the last 100 years or so it is that this is probable rather than a distant hypothetical when dealing with civil wars.

    Secondly you’ve stated that private mercenaries would also have a role, which was what I was referring to, though in retrospect that’s probably outside the scope of this discussion.

    I’ll concede your point on UN endorsed missions, but otherwise it still sounds like a rather arbitrary criteria for private individuals to be allowed to interfere.

  27. Justin — your absurd hypothetical was a nuclear war with massive negative fallot for everybody. I’m not guaranteeing that this aid project would work. I can’t guarantee anything about the future. But we still have to make decisions for the future.

    My point is that if these sorts of humanitarian missions are determined by the level of private support, instead of the whims of politicians and bureaucrats, then we are more likely to spend out money in ways that are more productive (and I think we would probably end up with less intervention). And even when mistakes are made, at least you aren’t forcing everybody to contribute to those mistakes.

  28. Perhaps we could amend the constitution and insist that all wars abroad be funded using war bonds that are structured such that they only get repaid if we are victorious. That would transfer the risk to market makers who could tell us a price for the risk of failure. 😎

  29. it still sounds like a rather arbitrary criteria for private individuals to be allowed to interfere

    It is certainly arbitrary in the absence of values. A free market in mercenary activity, without the benefit of a legitimacy test, could indeed lead to the scenarios Justin has described.

    I have previously argued that removal of Saddam was legitimate on the grounds that it led to a substantial increase in the liberty of individual Iraqis. I acknowledge that limiting the authority to do this to governments is flawed, but as Mick Sutcliffe points out that’s the system we have at present.

    The question is, how would we do it if the system was different?

    The notion that Australians have no interest in the liberty of Iraqis, Sudanese or anyone else because they live in another country elevates national sovereignty to a level it does not deserve. Most national boundaries are not even based on common sense and are certainly no basis for determining who warrants our assistance.

    I’d be quite happy to see mercenary military action, funded on a voluntary basis, so long as it met my criteria for promoting individual liberty. I’m still working on ways to convince everyone else to share my criteria.

  30. “Strict armed neutrality”

    North Korea, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and the seas of SE Asia would still be “contestable” with militants, state terrorist enablers and pirates.

    Not forgetting Indonesia as a theatre of operations if we had a policy of targeted assassination.

    Israel has a practical neutrality, but it still opted for pre emptive strikes in 1967 and 1981.

  31. Strict Armed Neutrality.
    This is what the Australian Government should have as its’ policy. However, individuals should be absolutely free to assist other peoples if they wanted.
    Promoting Individual liberty can best be done by allowing everyone to buy weapons for self-defense, if they so want. For instance, in Iraq now, by selling guns cheaply to the average citizens, we’d be able to add to the anti-insurgent elements. By withdrawing and letting them settle their own differences, we then make sure the weapons are not used on us. Life would be difficult in the short term, but it would stabilise, and our nations would not be involved in an unending policing action.

  32. Terje,

    But then you might have a war bond futures market, the potential for insider trading could be disasterous for us all, but at least some would make a killing :))

  33. John;
    Don’t let the bastards grind you down, it wasn’t a bad idea and I actually support the concept. I just don’t think we can do it.

    I am as I said sceptical of the ability of the UN, and there were reports of deep psychological scarring among forces from Kosovo as result of inability to carry out their mission owing to the conditions placed on them.

    I believe we should have some sort of alliance with like-minded countries to deal with these situations with terms of engagement, command and control residing with those countries, not the UN. It gets back to my good guys argument.

    “Before this could be done, a whole new set of principles would have to be set in place, to set the circumstances under which such action could occur, the manner of carrying it out, and ensuring the independence of the subject country after the process.

    Mere furtherance of the ‘police’ country’s political, economic, or territorial interests would not be a reason to violate the independence of another.

    These principles would never find their way through the convoluted processes of the U.N. and would have to be done as a treaty of sorts by what we shall call for want of a better term, “The Worlds Good Guys”.”

  34. Hello all, I am new here, just found the website today.

    Leaving the economic debate about sending Military foreign aid to another country, flat out i would disagree with sending Australian troops to fight in a UN initiative towards Africa, simply for their ROE.

    I will not support sending Australia troops to a foreign country to remove a thorn without them having the ability to defend themselves when threatened, which should be decided by the troops on the ground and not by a UN policy, if the Australian troops are assigned to protect a group of civilians, and those civilians become threatened by militia. Then the troops should have full ability to defend themselves and the civlians as they see fit.

    If we participated in a venture with the current UN guidelines, another Rwanda or Sudan wouldnt be out of the question, where foreign “peace keepers” had to stand by and let the locals be slaughtered by the people that we are ment to be there to get rid of.

  35. Perry, welcome to the site!
    First a warning- Terje wil always try to have the last word. John Humphreys is a funny old bear with a political axis to grind (He’s part of the new-fangled Liberal Democratic Party). Nick Gray tries to sweeten his sour messages with original jokes, laughter not guaranteed.
    Proceed at your own peril.

  36. Jim Fryar,
    Re: The World’s Good Guys
    What we need is someone to start an Allied Democracies group, where membership would not be automatic- applying nations would need to let in inspectors to assure that the people were free to vote for whom they chose, and counting of votes was free and fair and noncorrupt.
    Nations like the US, with their dubious ‘Chads’ might not get in, but they’d only want to dominate it anyway!
    Allied Democracies would automatically extend most favoured trading nation to each other, and hold military exercises together. All that trading would promote growth, inducing other nations to become true democracies.
    The UN would then become a talk-shop for tyrannies, and fall out of favour, or could refashion itself. Win-Win all round!

  37. Perry;
    Great to have you on board, especially as you agree with me on the UN.

    I can’t fault that idea, I like it, although I would probably opt for constitutional guarantees on a minimum standard of liberty rather than the electoral stuff. The important thing is not so much how the politicians get there, as what they can do to you when they are there.

    I accept though that fairness in elections tends to go hand in glove with higher standards of freedom, but is not a guarantee. I think that if elections are free and fair, those politicians in government are more loath to pass draconian legislation as they have to consider the possibility that the other side may get in and use it on them.

    I am a little concearned about the amount of agreement I am getting here. Am I turning into a nicer person or are you guys getting more radical?

  38. Jim,

    In Australia and the current global western system, i wouldnt be worried about fairness in elections. (im sure somebody will try to bring up George W. Bush’s election campaign)
    I would be more worried about the general intelligence/education level of the population.

    When you have a group of intelligent, enlightened people voting, generally you get a intelligent, enlightened government. However, when you have a group of uneducated religious zealots voting, you tend to get the same kind of government.

    I cant really speak for the other countries of the west, although France would certainly be a disaster if there were included in the system that Nicholas was talking about, But i would bet my money that Australia, If we were in a position to do so, would refrain from supporting action that would sway agains election fairness.

    Not sure if ive really conveyd my point very clearly, im only first year college.

  39. Religious zealotry is one of the reasons we in western countries tend to have a principle of separation of church and state. Of course members of religious groups can vote and therefore can affect results by ensuring that their vote can go to candidates that they approve of. However that effect is reduced because some of them will have priorities other than their religion.

    France will probably be different to deal with now that the left is out of office, so I am inclined to wait and see on that. The fact that they often disagree with us is not necessarily a bad thing as the need to deal with a contrarian argument can lead to a better result in the long run.

    Freedom leads to enlightenment, as free people are more able to pursue information, which is in a free society, readily available.

  40. Government funded military aid doesn’t work:

    Hamas: Thanks for arming us, America!

    “Hamas has successfully transformed itself from a fringe terrorist group into a powerful military machine thanks largely to the generous financial aid the United States has given to the Palestinians, according to one of the group’s co-founders.

    “Two years ago, one bullet in Gaza cost around $4 – now it would cost 35 cents. The American aid money has been translated into weapons. Thank you, America!” said former Palestinian Authority foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar in an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel.

    Despite imposing a crushing economic embargo on direct aid to the Palestinian Authority since Hamas’ electoral victory last year, America and Europe have continued pour funds into humanitarian operations in Judea, Samaria and Gaza at an unprecedented rate. Zahar is not the first Palestinian official to admit the bulk of that money is used for guns, not bread.

    On top of that, Hamas took possession of a massive cache of US-supplied arms when it defeated its rivals in Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah-aligned security forces two weeks ago in Gaza. The Bush Administration decided to militarily bolster Abbas in order to curb Hamas’ growing strength, but the Iranian-trained terrorist militia easily overran their CIA-trained Fatah foes in a stunning three-day assault.”

  41. One example doesn’t prove the rule, Mark. US military aid has also been responsible for Israel surviving as a capitalist democracy while surrounded by semi-socialist dictatorships.

  42. “One example doesn’t prove the rule, Mark. US military aid has also been responsible for Israel surviving as a capitalist democracy while surrounded by semi-socialist dictatorships.”

    Yes, but that isn’t the entire picture so to speak. Their intelligence services collected technical data for the Mirage III later remodelled as the Kfir.

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