So what about Niger?
The United Nations recently announced that Niger is going through an extreme famime and the world seems to be ignoring it. The UN says 150,000 children could die following last year's disastrous crop. It has gotten so bad that according to Oxfam families are feeding their children with grass and leaves from trees to keep them alive.
While critics accuse Niger for waiting to long to call for help, one wonders who will be the first to give their hand for need.
Boston Globe columnist Derrick Jackson believes that the US needs to step up to the plate to save the famished African country.
"Let us hope an administration that used Niger to fake out the world for its invasion of Iraq can take the time to go back to that country to prevent death to many times more people," said Jackson. "To almost the complete silence of the United States, Niger, one of the world's poorest nations, was hit last year by natural weapons of mass destruction -- locusts and drought."
"Jan Egeland, the UN relief coordinator, said this week that 150,000 children will die soon without immediate aid. This is on top of famines in other parts of Africa. Relief agencies have been warning about the possibility of this since last fall, but for all of the self-praise of wealthy nations at the recent Group of Eight summit, the response to this crisis has been appalling. An initial call for aid by the UN in November resulted in almost nothing. This spring the UN called for $16 million and received only $3.8 million. The crisis has escalated so rapidly that Egeland revised the figure needed to $30 million, but so far, only $10 million has come in."
This comes as an irony as the president of Niger was one of the five African heads of states invited to the White House recently to discuss aid and trade issues for the continent.
''The United States will do our part to help the people of Africa realize the brighter future they deserve," said Bush at the meeting.
"The United States, unfortunately, stands out for standing on the sidelines," said Jackson. "Bush has boasted of increases of aid to Africa, and, yes, the United States is by far the world's biggest giver of aid in absolute dollars. But it has taken three years for Bush's Millennium Challenge Account to start giving out aid, and as a portion of our gross domestic product, we are at the bottom of wealthy nations. British Prime Minister Tony Blair wanted the nations to commit to a target of 0.7 percent of GNP for aid at the G-8 summit. Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, and Denmark all already give at least 0.7 percent. The United States gives 0.16 percent. It is the only wealthy nation under 0.2 percent."
Jackson always says it best: "The nation that was so concerned about yellowcake in Niger now needs to give its people the grain they deserve."