Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson has written an important column that shows how Left Wing politics has apparently interfered with the fight against AIDS in Africa.
During Obama’s transition, Dr. Mark Dybul was initially asked to stay on as the coordinator of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for several months until a replacement could be found and confirmed. Because Dybul was the main architect of the program and one of its guiding visionaries, few were surprised by the offer. With Ambassador Randall Tobias, Dybul organized the most staggeringly successful foreign assistance effort since the Marshall Plan–eventually helping support lifesaving AIDS therapy for more than 2 million people.
That certainly seems like the right thing to do. But then:
A few radical “reproductive rights” groups–the fringe of a fringe–accused Dybul of advocating “abstinence only” programs in AIDS prevention. It was always a lie. Dybul consistently supported comprehensive prevention efforts that include abstinence, faithfulness and condom use–the approach that African governments themselves developed. In fact, Dybul was sometimes attacked from the right for defending a broad definition of AIDS prevention, including programs to address prostitution and transgenerational sex. Over the years, PEPFAR distributed 2.2 billion condoms — hardly an “abstinence only” approach…
Then, the day after the inauguration, Dybul received a call asking him to submit his resignation and to leave by the end of the day. There was no chance to reassure demoralized staffers, or PEPFAR teams abroad, or the confused health ministers of other nations. The only people who seemed pleased were a few blogging extremists, one declaring, “Dybul Out: Thank you, Hillary!!!”
Gerson doubts that Hillary’s fingerprints are on this, but it is clear that for someone in the Administration, maintaining continuity of a policy that has unquestionably saved saving lives of AIDS patients in Africa meant less that being sexual-politically correct. Let us hope this is not a sign of things to come.