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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Excellent Column by Michael Gerson in the Washington Post

Gerson writes to support the reauthorization of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Seven conservative Republican senators have put a hold on the bill unless a requirement that 55% of the funds are spent on AIDS treatment is added.

Gerson notes that part of the reason is general hostility to foreign aid.

The seven, led by Coburn, complain that the reauthorization is too costly. They object to "mission creep" -- the funding of "food, water, treatment of other infectious diseases, gender empowerment programs, poverty alleviation programs"-- as though people surviving on AIDS treatment do not need to eat, work or get their TB treated

He is very careful about discussing another motivation -- sexaphobic hostility to non abstinence only prevention programs, but he does make it clear that the seven are acting, in part, on the theory that the 55% restriction "on the theory that this will starve "feckless or morally dubious" prevention programs." Ah yes morally dubious condoms (we really do have to work on the morals of those condoms). Gerson himself is very clear on the relative moral merits of facilitating sex and of letting people die "Given that there are about 2.5 new HIV infections for every person starting on AIDS drugs, there is no way to control the pandemic through treatment alone."

Unsurprisingly, Gerson writes well (we knew that when Bush was speaking his words). He again gives the impression that he actually cares about people (more or less unique in the Bush administration).

More like this please.

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