Last week, in an op-ed piece in the New York Times (International Edition), Alex de Waal from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia declared the end of the “era of great famines” and proudly announced to the world, “Ethiopians aren’t starving to death”, only their “animals are dying of thirst.” Of course, that is exactly what USAID Administrator Gayle E. Smith said in her recent interview. I guess they all use the same talking points.
Author’s Note: The following is a true and correct copy of my letter to USAID Administrator Gayle E. Smith dated March 16, 2016, and the response I received from T.C. Cooper, Assistant Administrator, USAID Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs dated April 7, 2016…
My letter questions recent statements made by Ms. Smith regarding the famine in Ethiopia and solicits factual and policy clarifications.
Mr. Cooper’s letter is non-responsive to my inquiries and ignores specific factual and policy issues I have raised with the Administrator.
It is a matter of public record that I have fiercely opposed Ms. Smith’s confirmation to become USAID Administrator. But as a true-blue constitutionalist, I acknowledge and respect the Senate’s vote to confirm Ms. Smith despite my personal opposition.
My inquiry letter is guided purely by my concerns as an American citizen and taxpayer, and not by any residual personal animus from the confirmation process.
In one of my first commentaries opposing Ms. Smith’s confirmation, I promised, “We will use every legal means available to us under American law to question Smith’s official actions and decisions…” The fundamental purpose of my inquiry letter is to hold USAID accountable in its use of American tax dollars in a country whose “government” has a proven history of “using aid as a weapon of oppression” and as an insidious tool of corruption. Continue reading USAID and Famine in Ethiopia: What Does Gayle E. Smith Have to Say?→