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Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 22, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Increase foreign aid budget to deal with conflicts

As conflicts flare up in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and throughout the world, Americans once again are left to ponder: Should we get involved? [“France joins US against Islamic State over Iraq,” Nation & World, Sept. 19].

More pointedly, we should be asking: how should we get involved? Support for military intervention is fickle and often wanes, but development aid is an effective tool for preventing future military conflicts and reducing terrorism.

In addition to the important goal of preserving American lives, according to Robert Gates, “development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers.” In 2010, 50 retired three- and four-star generals told Congress that investments, non-military development tools and diplomacy foster economic and political stability on a global scale. In addition, development strengthens U.S. allies, enabling them to fight the spread of poverty, disease and terrorism.

America needs to be doing more to support development. The United States currently spends less than one percent of our budget on development aid. Increasing the USAID budget even a fraction would have monumental and reverberating effects. In just 30 seconds, you can advance security around the globe and advocate for millions of individuals who need our help. Please call your senators and representatives and let them know that you support an increased USAID budget.

Paul Deckard, Seattle

Comments | More in war | Topics: iraq, Paul Deckard, Robert Gates

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