Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Jodi Williams Goes Hollywood

Scott Krummey

I entered the Colgate Chapel last Wednesday hoping to hear Nobel Peace Prize recipient Jodi Williams tell of her successful endeavors in land mine relief. I exited feeling frustrated, after Ms. Williams integrated her unrelenting negativity into a snipe-fest worthy of a celebrity Democratic fundraiser. Because I wish nobody will be misled down the dark road of liberal pessimism after hearing her, I want to confront Ms. Williams’ anti-American spin with the fact and rational thought that she lacked. Ms. Williams first departed from reality with her assertions about U.S. foreign aid. She believes that America should provide significantly more foreign aid to the undereducated, unclothed, and hungry humans in the world – she repeatedly cited that “2 billion” people worldwide lack clean drinking water (the WHO says 1.6 billion). Although giving out money to the poor is a romantic notion, aid is not the magic wand that solves humanitarian problems. Historically, aid has done little to help countries make long-term improvements. In many cases, it only worsens the plight of third-world inhabitants and bankrolls the corruption that rules them (example: Food for Peace).Lost in her sensational appeal is the fact that America gives the most foreign aid around the world. But with all the associated problems, it is illogical to suggest significantly expanding these programs. The Bush administration is attempting to fix the real shortcomings of humanitarian aid by regulating money based on economic and human development by each nation’s leadership. This is the first step towards really increasing humanitarian aid, instead of just continuing to throw away more tax dollars.Ms. Williams further ventured into the proverbial deep end with her skepticism that coalition forces are actually capturing Al-Qaeda operatives. Conspiracy theories are usually delusional and lacking factual support – this one is no different. An objective thinker would note that much information related to these operations is sensitive; the majority of intelligence successes and failures go unreported to the public. Remember when the CIA’s tap on Osama bin Laden’s satellite phone was leaked? He stopped using it, and we lost the intelligence. Ms. Williams probably does not remember because she was too busy blaming President Bush for not capturing bin Laden.I was not at all surprised to hear that Ms. Williams already considers the Iraq War a “bust”. At last check, the war in Iraq was still on-going, and conclusions about weapons programs and al-Qaeda ties are still murky. An in-depth discussion of these conflicts is far too complicated to include here, but Ms. Williams’ statements are unfair at best. For example, The Secret History of the Iraq War by Yossef Bodansky, a former counter-terrorism director who is not shy about criticizing the Bush administration, details Iraqi weapons programs and ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq. He also maintains that Iraq was a necessary step in the War on Terror. Only time will determine the success of the war; but I find her anti-American sentiment irresponsible to broadcast in the midst of conflict.It was disheartening to hear Jodi Williams abuse the notoriety she receives for her tremendous work to propagate explicitly negative versions of the facts. Unfortunately, the only thing she really did was associate herself with the likes of the fanatics in Hollywood, which is certainly impressive company.