As we contemplate spending hundreds of billions of dollars on getting rid of Saddam Hussein, many countries in Africa are facing another extreme food crisis. As always, people are starving not just due to drought, but also because their so-called governments are too busy fighting wars, stealing from them, or generally screwing up to bother to feed them. Indeed, the pictures of starving Iraqis resulted not from Iraq’s inability to feed its people but rather because Saddam Hussein was unwilling to feed them. However, despite the fact that we know all too well that greed, incompetence, and arrogance are the responsible for famine, it seems like we ought to be doing as much as we can to ameliorate the suffering of these people, who certainly didn’t choose the governments that they’re stuck with.
There might be an argument other than simple charity in favor of helping out the starving masses as well. As we know, plenty of countries (including the United States) have been drought-stricken of late. There’s a reasonably good chance that global warming (whether you believe in it or not) is one of the causes of these droughts. Perhaps we can assume that the effect industrialization has had on the climate compels us to compensate those people who have been affected most negatively by climate change.