Billions for Iraq War, Mere Millions for Tsunami Victims

January 8th, 2005 - by admin

Friends Committee for National Legislation – 2005-01-08 14:08:58

President Bush is expected soon to ask for $100 billion or more for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, in a separate request, he is expected to ask for less than $500 million (less than half of one percent of what he is asking for the Iraq war) to address the tsunami disaster, a catastrophe that has devastated the lives of millions of people from Indonesia to India to Africa.

It is time to shift our government’s budget and foreign policy priorities, and we must start by getting Congress and the administration to bring the war in Iraq to an end.

Congress will begin debating these spending requests in early February. Many in Congress – Democrats and Republicans alike – are very concerned about the mounting costs and deepening violence in Iraq. Many are wondering how to extricate the US from this quagmire. Some are considering a congressional resolution stating simply that it is US policy to withdraw all US military forces and bases from Iraq.

The Bush administration has never made this statement before, yet it would be an important first step toward defusing the suspicion and growing discontent that now exists in Iraq against the US. It would begin assuring the Iraqi people, who are suspicious of U.S. permanent intentions, that the U.S. will leave.

Act Now:
Rising concern among both Republicans and Democrats about the deepening quagmire and escalating costs of the war in Iraq provides an important opening for dialog with our members of Congress. Please contact your representative and senators today.

• Urge them to support a congressional resolution stating that it is US policy to withdraw all US military forces and bases from Iraq.
• Urge them to provide generous and sustained long-term development assistance to the countries devastated by the tsunami.

See FCNL’s web site for a sample letter to your members of Congress.

Contribute to Tsunami Relief and Long-Term, People Centered Development Assistance:
• Contact the American Friends Service Committee for more information.

Our government continues to be distracted by an endless “war on terror” and associated ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each month, these wars consume about seventeen times the amount pledged for tsunami victims so far ($350 million).

In the meantime, even greater catastrophes than this unfold each month in the poorest countries around the world. Malaria, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, poverty-related diseases, and natural and man-made disasters claim millions of lives in the poorest countries each year. These disasters hit the poorest people in the poorest countries the hardest, and, because of their poverty, it takes them much longer to recover from disaster.

Yet, the US government spends only about 15 cents per capita per day on international aid* while spending roughly thirty times that fighting and preparing for wars. (*See Nicholas Kristoff, “Land of Penny Pinchers,” New York Times, January 5, 2005.)

Contact Congress and the Administration:

Friends Committee on National Legislation, 245 Second St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-5795 *
phone: (202)547-6000 * toll-free: (800)630-1330