The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Sunday, December 07, 2003

InstaPundit links to a US News article connecting the Saudi government to terrorists. The InstantMan highlights the shameful co-opting of US foreign service personnel:

Saudi largess encouraged U.S. officials to look the other way, some veteran intelligence officers say. Billions of dollars in contracts, grants, and salaries have gone to a broad range of former U.S. officials who had dealt with the Saudis: ambassadors, CIA station chiefs, even cabinet secretaries.

This is not breaking news; Matt Welch was shining a light into the Saudi roach nest months ago. And the problem is not limited to Saudi Arabia. A few days ago the San Jose Mercury News published an opinion piece about Indonesia. The author, Daniel Sneider, noted the tensions between fundamentalist Muslims and moderates. He advocated spending more money on secular education to weaken the influence of the radical Islamic schools, and ended with this quote:

More troubling is the pathetic amount of money he offered -- most of it funds shifted from existing programs -- only $157 million over 6 years. Says former Ambassador Paul Cleveland, who heads the U.S.-Indonesia Society: ``You would get more democracy out of $1 billion spent in Indonesia than $20 billion spent in Iraq.''

Is it really surprising that a man who heads the US-Indonesia Society would advocate spending more money on Indonesia? Could he possibly have just a leetle financial incentive, either directly from consulting contracts or indirectly from the Indonesian money funding the Society? And how surprising is it that Cleveland was an ambassador to Indonesia and then landed a cushy position at the head of a pro-Indonesian foundation?

If I thought that the federal legislature could accomplish anything (besides providing a living for pressure groups, accountants, and lawyers), I would call for former foreign service agents be prohibited from accepting funds from the countries they worked in. But this is clearly hopeless; the government will never do anything to prevent its former employees from lining up at the trough of lobbyists foreign or domestic. (If it's not prohibited for former CIA employees to be bribed with foreign money, how can we hope that anything will be done about former ambassadors?)

The only thing that we can do is to vehemently object to these puff pieces when they appear in the public media.



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