about the Bush presidency's place in history posted today at CNN.com. Pointing to Bush's commitment of billions in federal money to combat AIDS and HIV in Africa, Frist asserts that "the foundations he laid for healing...will be his enduring legacy."
It's true that the Bush administration committed copious sums of money to AIDS in Africa, and it may be turn out to be one of the better accomplishments of an astoundingly accomplishment-free presidency. But Frist conveniently ignores the very harsh and legitimate critiques leveled at how Bush has approached this issue. As journalist Joshua Kurlantzick wrote
last year, "the administration has spent much of the aid money on unilaterally created programs that neither learn from existing efforts nor respond effectively to Africans' real needs." In a 2007 piece
for The American Prospect
, Michelle Goldberg explained the problem:
Under the current policy, one third of the money allocated to HIV prevention goes to abstinence-only campaigns, often run by evangelical allies of the administration. But this figure is also deceptive, because the prevention budget includes things like fighting mother-to-child transmission. In fact, a full two-thirds of the money for the prevention of the sexual spread of HIV goes to abstinence. What's left is targeted to groups considered high-risk. HIV-activists have spent the last two decades trying to show that condoms aren't just for prostitutes and the promiscuous; Bush has undone much of their work.
Goldberg quotes the UN's Special Envoy for AIDS/HIV in Africa: "The only thing one can categorically say is that the overemphasis on abstinence probably resulted in an unnecessary number of additional infections." In other words, good intentions soiled by ideological obstinacy and scientific myopia. That, Dr. Frist, is George W. Bush's legacy.
Bill Frist waxes obsequious in a piece of major league suck-up