The following was sent to me from ACR (Association for Conflict Resolution, I am a member) and thought it is relevant and important to pass it also along here:
As you may know, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to eliminate funding for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) for the remainder of the fiscal year as part of a $61 billion package of budget cuts. We in ACR leadership were shocked by this action and hope for its reversal in the Senate.
USIP was created by Congress in 1984 as a non-partisan effort during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan. It is the only congressionally mandated and funded institution to develop civilian capacity to perform international conflict management and peace-building. USIP is a federally funded independent organization to support the military, the State Department, successive administrations and the international community.
Its origins began with a legislative commission chaired by Senator Spark Matsunaga (D-Hawaii); a World War II veteran of the Army’s famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team, who believed passionately in the importance of the United States as international peacemaker. The Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution located at the University of Hawaii Manoa campus was established in his name. Many of the “parents” of our field worked tirelessly for the establishment of an alternative to the Army War College. It was out of the efforts of these dedicated people that USIP was eventually born.
Now 27 years later, USIP’s programming is diverse and important. It is deeply involved in building peace in conflict zones around the world, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. It continues to carry out its Congressional mandate to help train civilians and military personnel and to help international organizations in the transition from war to peace.
General David Petraeus, United States Army, has praised its work in Iraq saying: “In Iraq the Institute stepped up to the plate beginning in August, 2007 to assist the 10th Mountain Division in a reconciliation effort in Mahmoudiya, a community on the southern edge of Baghdad that was once known as the ‘Triangle of Death.’” This action saved American lives and saved money. He went on to say that “USIP’s experience working closely with the U.S. military will be a great asset in developing stronger unity of effort between civilian and military elements of government.”
To put USIP’s budget in perspective, consider this:
USIP’s annual $46.5 million budget amounts to less than 18 cents per American.
USIP has cost the American public $2.58 per person over 26 years.
One soldier in Afghanistan costs $1.2 million over the course of the year. USIP’s budget equals about 39 soldiers in Afghanistan.
One soldier in Iraq costs $775,000 over the course of a year. USIP’s budget equals 60 soldiers in Iraq.
USIP’s entire budget request would not even fund the Afghan war for three hours.
For more information about the Institute, go to its website at www.usip.org.
USIP’s record of accomplishments has proven the value of this organization and deserves our support. Now is not the right time to undermine a proven, innovative institution on the front lines that is helping to save lives and build peace and contributes to our security.
Please do whatever you can to raise awareness of USIP’s importance. Let your Congressional representatives know your concerns and please act quickly. The Senate vote on the budget could come as early as March 1, 2011, if agreement is reached on a Continuing Resolution before the deadline.
Congressional Contact Information:
To find your Senator’s number: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
To find your representative’s number to ask how they voted and to tell them to reconsider: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shtml
Or, you can call 202-224-3121 and ask for the office of your senator or representative.
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