The Mystery of Foreign Aid

I couldn't say that I have an informed opinion about the controversy that makes for the subject of this Glenn Kessler article in The Washington Post. I was, however, somewhat heartened to read this lead: "Shortly after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took office in 2005, she was surprised to discover that her staff could not answer a simple query: How much does the United States spend each year on promoting democracy overseas? [...] After nine months, Rice finally got her answer: $1.2 billion."

It dawned on me to wonder about this one morning in 2004 and I was foolish enough to think that Google and Nexis would cough up the answer. It's possible that critics of the streamlining process that Rice has tried to implement are right, but she's certainly correct to be disturbed by how murky the traditional process has made things.