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» Congress Does Not Care About Peace Travis Warrington

Congress Does Not Care About Peace   Leave a comment

UPDATED Feb. 25th, 2010.

Straight from the Alliance for Peacebuilding

Dear AfP Members and Friends,

I hate to admit we’ve been caught off guard, but we’ve been caught off guard. The new House of Representatives voted yesterday to cut funding for the US Institute for Peace to zero! That’s right, zero. There was no advance warning, no analysis, and no consideration of the value and cost/benefit of building peace. They simply found a budget line item without a large and vocal constituency and cut it.

It’s time we become a vocal constituency for building peace. All you need to do is call 1-202-224-3121 and ask for the office of your senator or representative. You can also find their direct phone numbers through their websites. We know that as few as ten calls to the same office will get their attention. Please urge your friends to call them as well.

The repercussions of this action will be disastrous. It will send a message to the entire world that the United States government is withdrawing from the remarkable movement to build a more safe, secure and peaceful world. Destroying USIP – while refusing to make any significant reductions in military spending – will say the only thing that matters is power expressed through battleships, drone missiles, and the threat of nuclear destruction.

(Note: the US spends as much on defense as the rest of the world combined, but our diplomatic budget is barely 1% of the federal budget. As a portion of GDP, the US commitment to social and economic development is at the bottom compared with other developed nations.)

While the House has taken draconian steps, the Senate still has to vote before this becomes law, and the President will have to sign it. I urge you to do two things today. First, call both of your Senators and urge them to sustain funding of USIP at $42.7 million for 2011. Make sure they know the cost of building peace is a tiny fraction of the cost of war and that this move is foolish for fiscal reasons as well as humanitarian concerns. (Most studies indicate a ratio of about 50 to 1 financial benefit to cost.)

Second, please call your representative in the House, and ask how he or she voted on funding for USIP. If they voted against the cut, please thank them. If they voted for it, please ask why, and let them know you are shocked that they would do something like that. And please urge them to reconsider whenever they have another opportunity to vote on similar proposals.

You may want to share your own experiences with building peace and indicate the importance of USIP in the overall US peacebuilding effort. Let them know that virtually every other developed country in the world is making a serious investment in violence prevention and conflict resolution, and that the destruction of USIP would be a dramatic embarrassment for the US.

Thank you very much, and please send me an email indicating how your senators and representatives offices responded. chic@allainceforpeacebuilding.org.

Thank you very much.

-Chic

President & CEO, Alliance for Peacebuilding

USIP will be moving buildings to the Mall very soon, but how will they conduct their research with no funding?

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Posted February 23, 2011 by Travis Warrington in Conflict

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