President Bush, today:
Today, I’m announcing that America will send more aid to support humanitarian and reconstruction work in Lebanon, for a total of more than $230 million. These funds will help the Lebanese people rebuild their homes and return to their towns and communities. … America is making a long-term commitment to help the people of Lebanon because we believe every person deserves to live in a free, open society that respects the rights of all.
While Bush made sure to hype the increase in the U.S. commitment to Lebanon (from the original $50 million), this amount still pales in comparison to U.S. spending in Iraq. $230 million is less than what the administration spends each day in Iraq ($267 million). A recent study by Foreign Policy/CGD also shows that out of the world’s 21 richest countries, the U.S. ranks just 19th in foreign aid. Iran, on the other hand, has reportedly said that it would provide Hezbollah with an “unlimited budget” for reconstruction.
Bush today said he understands that “failed states in the Middle East are a direct threat to our country’s security,” but in reality, the administration is too bogged down in Iraq to seriously commit aid to other states.