A reader tells me I’ve been unfair to NPR. Since I only heard part of the story clearly (see the heading above), he’s probably right. By way of recantation, the reader’s email:
I think you’re hyperventilating a bit.
As I recall, there was *not* a trail of human rights groups whining. There were spokespeople from at least two organizations (not counting the trade group), and I *think* both of them were directly involved not in human rights monitoring stuff but in direct aid programs of some type.
One was the [spokesman from a] Roman Catholic group. That guy gave, I thought, a very lucid explanation of the difficulties involved. He was just surprised to be having a conversation with a defense contractor. I would be, too. But he gave the clearest explanation of both the difficulties in large-scale relief efforts, and by implication of why defense contractors might be ideal vendors for this AIDS project.
The second…[spokesman] DID make my teeth grate. The “unilateralism” charge was totally unsupported, and the reporter is clearly to blame for that, for not asking for examples, and then not following up with an administration response. And the Halliburton reference was clearly nothing more than a slander.