The very real needs of Americans pale in comparison to the needs foreign aid addresses. Poor families around the world are right now starving to death. If we cut American aid, we can be sure that millions will die.
We are wasting a fortune on wars when a small fraction of that would and should enhance our national security by helping poor and unstable countries to control disease, boost food production, and protect the natural environment.
When people are healthy, they can be productive. They work, earn an income, and buy products -- they build their economy. It's simple and logical, but to grow economies, the basic building block of health is necessary.
Like many thousands of former volunteers, I am forever indebted to President Kennedy and his vision of a "peace corps of talented men and women" -- a vision to which I owe my family and my career. Even so, is fifty years of Peace Corps enough?
The famine in East Africa must be viewed within the messy political context of regional politics in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Aid organizations and their recipients deserve physical protection rather than rhetorical support.
What's most disturbing is that it's evident many members simply don't care about the world's poor. They believe that they were sent to Washington to save taxpayer dollars no matter what the cost in terms of lives saved or hardships avoided.
The vast majority of the poorest people in the world get their food and income from farming small plots of land. Helping these farming families grow and sell more helps them become self-sufficient and build better lives.
The goal of handing out foreign aid to foster "civil society" always sounds noble and well-intentioned. But you'll forgive someone like me for being skeptical about the results. There is no substitute for local knowledge. Democracy is never a simple translation.