As you might have guessed, I read the editorial page regularly. And when I come across something that screems out for a response, I respond. When M. W. Guzy repeated an error Attack Dog Murphy rode to the rescue of Truth, Justice, and the American Way. I just couldn' stand to see a lie repeated over and over and over. It seems that once bad info gets published, it disperses into the data ocean and it can never be pulled back out. Something to do with information entropy, no doubt.

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Subject: Letter to the Editor

M. W. Guzy made some good points about patriotism in his last op-ed. Every American needs to consider and reach their own judgment as to how to handle terrorism and how effective previous administrations were in handling terrorism. And while Mr. Guzy is entitled to his particular opinions on this subject, he is not entitled to blatantly misrepresent facts. At no time did the Bush administration give the Taliban regime 43 million dollars as he asserted. I appreciate he read it in a newspaper, but it is simply flat out wrong.

The fact is that in May of last year Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that the US would provide humanitarian assistance, mostly wheat and other food, worth 43 million dollars to Afghanistan. This assistance went to the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, and Secretary Powell at the time made it quite clear that not a penny would be going to the Taliban regime because in his words, they "have done little to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people, and indeed have done much to exacerbate it."

This assistance brought the total US humanitarian aid to Afghanistan for the year to 124.2 million dollars, and was a continuation of similar aid provided by, you got it, the Clinton administration. The US was the largest aid donor to Afghanistan for both 2000 and 2001. You can these facts for yourself at CNN which provides a contemporaneous account.

There was no 43 million dollar payout to the Taliban; there was simply an attempt to forestall the starvation of millions of people. Frankly, that makes me proud to be an American.

Kevin Murphy

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This page last updated 23 March 2002

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