Peacekeeping: Tax Deductions That Kill


August 31, 2006: Peacekeeping is often complicated by the ruthless search for tax deductions. Corporations and private citizens often donate supplies to humanitarian assistance or disaster relief operations. This is good PR, and also gives the donors a tax write-off. But what they donate is often less than useful. Relief workers have sometimes found themselves having to cope with loads of expired cookies, 'ThighMaster' exercise equipment, religiously inappropriate or culturally alien canned goods (e.g., pork 'n' beans for a mission in an area with a large Moslem population, or canned spaghetti pretty much anywhere), dated evening wear, and, during one operation that was lending a hand in an area where an insurgency had just been resolved through peace negotiations, water pistols. Some of this stuff gets put in a cargo container and shipped off to a disaster area without being checked. This leaves relief workers, and peacekeepers, to deal with the consequences, when the nature of the 'gift' is discovered.


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