Bono on Bush: BFF
Between the brazen white wristbands from Oxfam, today's Live 8 ditching announcement from Sheryl Crow, and the never-ending blustering pleas on Africa's behalf from Tony Blair, who can make heads or tails of Live 8, the upcoming G8 Summit, or...Bono?
Ah, perhaps we should summon the master of looking damn cool while wearing sunglasses indoors to dig for answers?
Interviewed on June 26th on NBC's Meet the Press via video link from Dublin, Bono had unusually high praise for President Bush- who just today doubled America's previous commitment to Africa by $674 million. Keep in mind that the US is already commited to a figure of over $3 billion (which was tripled under the Bush administration).
I think he's done an incredible job, his administration, on AIDS. And 250,000 Africans are on anti-viral drugs. They literally owe their lives to America. In one year that's been done.
Bono continued to comment on how he loves and believes in America and how it upsets him when others claim America is not doing enough.
So what are we doing for Africa?
Instead of outright funding corrupt and oppressive governments by forgiving debt by the boatload and dropping dollars into militarized headquarters, the Bush Administration has created the Millennium Challenge Account. Through a set of criteria, the program rewards poor nations that invest in the education and health care of their citizens, fights corruption and promotes good governance. Accountability- what a novel idea.
According to Bono (who is now like my favorite person in the world- sorry Tony Blair), President Bush's Millennium Challenge is actually a good idea. Wait- hold the horses. Bush...good idea...entertainment industry...brain combusting... Speaking of the widespread corruption in Africa, Bono commented:
This is the number one issue, and there's no way around it. That's what's so clever about President Bush's Millennium Challenge. It was start-up money for new democracies. It was giving increases of aid flows only to countries that are tackling corruption...this is new, targeted aid.
Instead of a "Make Poverty History" armband (hex on you Lance Armstrong!), I'm going to buy Joshua Tree, write a $25 check to a responsible African aid agency and swing by Starbucks to buy a cup of fair trade Kenyan blend. I will-with much chagrin-watch Live 8, but only because I heart Bono.