Dexter Filkins, late of the NYTimes now of the New Yorker. has a piece in the February 14 issue, "The Afghan Bank Heist." This might be one way to do foreign aid if only there was a larger distribution system. Alas there is no such systemso the U.S. and our NATO allies seem to be funding all sides in the war.Among Filkins' observations: "The troubles at Kabul Bank stand as a parable for the sometimes malign effect that the influx of billions of dollars has had on this impoverished country since the current war began, in 2001. Although Western money has done a great deal to create a modern economy, much of it has been captured by a tiny minority of well-connected Afghan businessmen and politicians, often illegitimately. The loss of nine hundred million dollars or more at the bank represents a significant percentage of Afghanistans gross domestic product, which is only about twelve billion dollars."Read it and weep.
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.