"Genocide": AIDS activists go nuclear on Obama over broken promises on funding

“Genocide” is way, way over the top but it does capture the depth of his critics’ outrage. This story’s been out there for a few days but flew under the radar of most bloggers consumed with Pelosigate and the torture battle. British media’s picked it up now, though, and the Global AIDS Alliance issued a withering statement today projecting the number of casualties that the funding shortfall will produce. Gruesome:

When President Barack Obama released his $3.6 trillion budget on May 7, he broke two campaign promises and created a total shortfall of $3.3 billion in US support for global AIDS funding through US bilateral AIDS programs, including PEPFAR, and for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “President Obama also sent a message to world governments that it is acceptable to underfund global health, in particular the Global Fund,” said Dr. Zeitz. “The Global Fund is already facing a financial gap, and this will only make it worse by setting the wrong example.”…

Also speaking at the press conference was Felix Mwanza of the Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (Zambia). “It is not morally right for the President to cut down on the US global health contribution, especially on AIDS. Cutting the budget for global AIDS funding is tantamount to genocide, and Mr. Obama shall be held accountable for deaths that will ensue,” said Mr. Mwanza, quoting from his open letter to President Obama, which was sent to the White House on May 18. (See the links below for the full text of Mr. Mwanza’s letter.)

GAA estimates that as a consequence of President Obama’s broken promises on U.S. bilateral AIDS programs:

* One million people around the world won’t receive treatment for AIDS.
* 2.9 million women won’t receive services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
* 27 million people won’t access sexual disease transmission prevention programs.
* 1.9 million orphans and other children affected by or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS won’t receive care and support services.

Hey, remember on Inauguration Day when Kenyans were saying, “This man is Jesus”? I think Jesus would have found the money in the budget somewhere. It’s only fitting that he’s not taking any heat for this in American media, though: Bush never got due credit from the left for his effort to fight AIDS in Africa, so symmetrically it makes sense that The One won’t get any blame. Although needless to say, there’d have been a media firestorm had Obama introduced the program and a Republican successor then tried to renege on funding it to the extent he promised during the campaign. Exit question: He can’t scrape together $3 billion by trimming a little fat in a budget of $3.6 trillion? Of course not — remember, this is a guy who couldn’t find a few million to keep that D.C. vouchers program going past his first term.