President Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” was in full June bloom as he persuaded Senate Republicans to scuttle a bipartisan $500 million boost for the UN’s Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in favor of his own $500 million mother-to-child prevention initiative. Timing his announcement to pre-empt American critics at the G-8 summit in Canada, Shrub touted the plan as “the first of this scale by any government anywhere,” but you could almost read “Save the innocent victims” between the lines. Add it up, though, and Bush’s apparent AIDS action is, at best, a statistical shell game: $200 million for the plan will be robbed from emergency global AIDS money already passed by Congress, with the remaining $300 million not available until 2004. At worst, it’s a sham that sabotages the international initiative. Do the math: 500 minus 200 equals 300; 300 minus 300 equals...nada.
September 1, 2002 • By Danielle Zielinski