Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Mary's ideas

Again, Mary has provided some thought-provoking ideas that I think are worth addressing as a new blog posting. And again, I disagree on certain points. Regarding Pakistan, Mary's suggestion for what Bush should be doing to affect changes:
First, Pressure the president to let the woman travel. Tell him He is the one giving Pakistan a bad image, not her.
A recent San Francisco Chronicle article says:
"I am very happy. I feel that justice will be mine," she told The Chronicle later as she relaxed at a women's refuge in Islamabad. "I feel like going outside and running in circles."

The ruling was a crucial victory in a three-year legal saga that highlighted abuses against women in rural Pakistani society, stirred outrage around the world and, more recently, led the Bush administration to chastise President Pervez Musharraf, a key ally in the war on terror, for trying to muzzle Mukhtaran and prevent her from traveling to the United States.

...

The outrage finally reached the White House. Bush administration officials often turn a blind eye to human rights abuses in Pakistan, a key ally in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, but this time Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri to complain about a situation her spokesman described as outrageous. The travel ban was lifted, though Mukhtaran's movements are still restricted by the heavy security that surrounds her everywhere she goes.
Again, this is the SFC--hardly a bastion of conservatism. While the Bush administration doesn't consider it their duty to babysit Pakistan, it's not like they're being completely oblivious. In this particular case, the Bush administration has already done what you suggested and it appears (again, in this case) to be making some significant ground. I do think that we ought to be encouraging Pakistan to make more sweeping changes; they certainly have problems that need to be addressed. Overall, though, I see hope for this democracy that has made, and continues to make significant steps toward becoming a responsible and contributing member of the world community. If I were the president of the U.S., I think I'd rather focus on working with them rather than telling them how to run things. This argument applies to starting schools over there, too. Working to stabilize the region politically and building the Trans-Afghan pipeline will help Pakistan to focus on improving their own position. This doesn't really compare to Iraq, where no amount of help that we could give would have benefited the people there without removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power.

Another comment from Mary:
And Honestly, Bush himself wouldn't even need to do this, but rather encourage the public to do so.
I think you're right, that this is the way to go about things. Allow and encourage American individuals and companies to make voluntary contributions, rather than spending tax money, which is forced out of people, to help other nations. Our nation's government gets criticized now and then for not contributing to relief organizations and such in an amount proportionate to the nation's wealth. What people don't realize, though, is that part of the reason for our nation's wealth is that we don't tax our citizens and businesses to death, which allows them to make contributions out of their own pocket, which they do in sizeable amounts. Somehow I doubt that Bush's simple encouragement would get the amount of media attention that you suggest, unless more liberal elements sieze it as a reason to criticize Bush for not being willing to put his (i.e. the nation's) money where his mouth is.

Another "brilliant Idea":
During the 3 months of school that teachers have off, have the US govt. pay their plane ticket to some country, where they then teach during their off time.
Smart, but there's only so much a person can do in 3 months; you'd barely get started on something before you have to leave. This is probably why LDS missionaries are called to serve for 1.5-2 years. So instead, why not have a program where well-educated, civic-minded people can go for a couple of years and teach people and help them to build bridges and other things that will help to better their community for the long term? Oh, yeah, it's called the Peace Corps. But then, what will those poor, civic-minded schoolteachers do all summer? How about serving the community at home, like the USA Freedom Corps suggests. You may remember, Bush announced the creation of the Freedom Corps in his State-of-the-Union address in 2002. Funny thing is, I never heard about it in the media after that speech. Perhaps if we paid really close attention to everything Bush said and did, we'd get a different picture than when we just listen to headline news.

Conclusion:
I don't see bush as promoting almost any programs that are this self-less.
Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not there.
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