“food can tip the balance”

Over a billion of our brothers and sisters suffer from constant hunger. The proposed budget cuts would have a devastating impact on their already tragic circumstances.

In the article by William Lambers copied below, he does a masterful job at pointing out that proposed cuts would also threaten our security, as well. Food security and global security are intergrally linked.

Ending hunger is absolutely essential to achieving true global security. Peace and justice cannot exist in a world where a billion people are stalked by hunger.

Stop Hunger Now has a vision of ending hunger in our lifetime. The proposed budget cuts to international food aid will not help achieve that vision. They are short-sighted and morally indefensible.

Cuts in food aid threaten lives and national security

  • February 16th, 2011 2:55 pm ET

The budget cuts to international food aid, as proposed by the House of Representatives, will threaten millions of lives. These funding cuts, which total over $800 million, will cause immense damage to our foreign policy.
 
There is a hunger crisis afflicting nearly 1 billion people worldwide. This crisis is hardest on children who, trapped in war or disaster zones, or living in poverty, depend on access to proper foods for their survival and growth.
 
How do we expect peace and stability to emerge in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan and other countries if the people are hungry and malnourished?   We all saw in Egypt how high food prices and malnutrition caused massive discontent among the population. Food security is integral to any nation’s well-being.
 
The cost of food aid is a relatively small part of the budget. There is not much to be saved by cutting hunger-fighting programs. Clearly, there are  programs far less important that can be cut instead. Look at some of the ongoing waste identified by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
 
According to Reuters, Gates  “blasted lawmakers blocking the Pentagon’s five-year effort to cancel a $6 billion interchangeable engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter being built by General Electric (GE.N) and Britain’s Rolls-Royce Group (RR.L).”
 
Gates said, “We consider it an unnecessary and extravagant expense.”  If Congress were to budget a small portion of that money toward the World Food Programme, it could fund operations in multiple countries where peace and reconstruction are on the line. Food is what can tip the balance.
 
But instead, food aid is being reduced in the House proposed budget with little regard to the consequences.   We can cut every program we have, but we still need to have a foreign policy. Fighting hunger and boosting agricultural production are crucial elements of our foreign policy, and not emphasized nearly enough.
 
The question to lawmakers is have you thought these proposed budget cuts through? Considering that hunger and malnutrition afflict nearly 1 billion people worldwide suggests that the House of Representatives has not.
 
Visit the World Food Program USA take action page to contact Congress.