April 23, 2002

Dear Member of Congress:

Soon you will be asked to vote on a $27 billion FY2002 supplemental spending request from President Bush which we, the undersigned groups, believe will set U.S. foreign policy on the wrong path under the guise of a "global war on terrorism." Overwhelmingly military in nature, this request will do little to reduce violence and may actually undermine efforts to advance peace and security in the long run. We urge you to oppose this FY2002 supplemental appropriations proposal as written. At a minimum, the supplemental request should:

Since September 11th, the Bush administration has lifted or relaxed bans on military assistance to several "Frontline States" in the war on terror, many of which continue to violate the rights of their citizens, fight bloody wars against insurgents, and are involved in regional disputes that could erupt into destabilizing wars. The lifting of military aid restrictions to these countries undermines human rights norms and increases the likelihood that the U.S. will become mired in intractable civil conflicts. For these reasons, we urge you to:

1) Maintain existing human rights conditions for countries receiving foreign military aid. The request would remove or override current restrictions on military aid to countries with notoriously poor human rights records, such as Colombia and Indonesia. In addition, the proposal attempts to circumvent current congressional restrictions on security assistance -- from human rights conditions to congressional notification of weapons transfers -- by allowing aid to be provided "notwithstanding any other provision of law." The "notwithstanding" provision should be removed. The final legislation should make clear that the Administration will be required to comply with international and U.S. human rights standards and humanitarian law.

2) Maintain control of military foreign aid within the Department of State. Funds administered by the Department of Defense are not subject to the same restrictions or human rights conditions as funds given through the Department of State. It is the role of the State Department, not the Pentagon, to formulate U.S. foreign policy and interpret it abroad. By channeling millions of dollars in foreign aid through the Pentagon, President Bush's supplemental request could undermine U.S. diplomatic efforts by circumventing limits on U.S. military contact with countries that systematically violate human rights, are corrupt, or are not democratic.

3) Address real humanitarian problems. The request provides few resources to make good on President Bush's promise to address terror by building hope and opportunity in poor countries. It also contains very little support for long-term reconstruction and multi-national peacekeeping efforts that will be necessary to stabilize Afghanistan. For example, the request includes only minimal assistance for programs to improve basic health, education, agricultural development, infrastructure and governance. Additionally, despite being recognized as a global health and security emergency, no new funding has been requested to address the pandemic of HIV/AIDS.

4) Maintain congressional control of the purse strings and oversight of foreign aid programs. Major policy changes, such as changing the mission of aid to Colombia from counter-narcotics to counter-terror, should be carefully deliberated and fully debated by the appropriate oversight committees and the full Congress. Such critical policy changes are too significant to be rushed through as part of an emergency spending bill. The goals and benchmarks for such aid should be clearly spelled out before any funds are appropriated.

We urge you to oppose the Administration's FY2002 supplemental spending request unless it is revised to maintain existing longstanding human rights conditions for countries receiving military foreign aid, maintain control of military foreign aid within the State Department, address real humanitarian problems worldwide, and protects congressional oversight of the authorization and spending of these funds.

Sincerely,

Salih Booker
Executive Director
Africa Action

Marcel Kitissou
Executive Director
Africa Faith and Justice Network

Wanjiru Kamau, Ed. D.
Founder & President
African Immigrants & Refugees Foundation

James Matlack
Director, Washington Office
American Friends Service Committee

Alexandra Arriaga
Director of Government Relations
Amnesty International USA

Dr. Ian Davis
Director
British American Security Information Council (BASIC)

Don Kraus
Executive Director
Campaign for U.N. Reform

Rachel Stohl
Research Analyst
Center for Defense Information*

William Goodfellow
Executive Director
Center for International Policy

Adam Isacson
Senior Associate
Center for International Policy

J. E. McNeil
Executive Director
Center on Conscience & War (NISBCO)

Rev. Ron Stief
Director, Washington Office
Church of Christ/Justice and Witness Ministries

Greg Davidson Laszakovits
Coordinator
Church of the Brethren Washington Office

Rev. John L. McCullough
Executive Director
Church World Service

Barbara Gerlach and Cristina Espinel
Co-Chairs
Colombia Human Rights Committee

Marianne Loewe
Executive Director
Concern America

Rev. Lonnie Turner
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Jenefer Ellingston
DC Statehood Green Party, Washington DC

Karen Orenstein
Washington Coordinator
East Timor Action Network

Tamar Gabelnick
Director, Arms Sales Monitoring Project
Federation of American Scientists

Alistair Milllar
Vice President
Fourth Freedom Forum

Fr. David Moczulski, OFM
Executive Director
Franciscan Washington Office for Latin America

Joe Volk
Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Maurice S Paprin
Chairman
Fund for New Priorities in America

Alice Zachmann
Director
Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA

Martha Honey
Co-Director
Foreign Policy In Focus
Institute for Policy Studies

Rev. Richard Ryscavage
Executive Director
Jesuit Refugee Service

Elisa Massimino
Director, Washington Office
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights

J. Daryl Byler
Director, Washington Office
Mennonite Central Committee

Howard W. Hallman
Chair
Methodists United for Peace with Justice

Rev. Bob Edgar
General Secretary
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

Greg Speeter
Executive Director
National Priorities Project

Kathy Thornton, RSM
National Coordinator
NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Sarah C. Aird
Executive Director
Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA)

George R. Vickers
Regional Director for Latin America
Open Society Policy Center

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action Education Fund

Robert K. Musil, Ph.D.
MPH Executive Director and CEO
Physicians for Social Responsibility

Rev. Elenora Giddings Ivory
Director, Washington Office
Presbyterian Church, USA

Jim Atwood
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

Todd Howland
Director, Center for Human Rights
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial

Gail Taylor
Legislative Director
SOA Watch

Peter Davies
UN Representative
Saferworld

David Schott
Sister Parish*

Stephen G. Price
Director, Office of Justice and Peace
Society of African Missions

Dr. Valora Washington
Executive Director
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Jaydee R. Hanson
Assistant General Secretary
General Board of Church and Society
United Methodist Church

Mike Amitay
Executive Director
Washington Kurdish Institute

Charlotte Utting
Vice-President
Washington State Africa Network

Steve Bennett
Executive Director
Witness for Peace

Susan Shaer
Executive Director
Women's Action for New Directions

Phyllis S. Yingling
President, United States Section
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

Mark Epstein
Executive Director
World Federalist Association

William D. Hartung
Director, Arms Trade Resource Center
World Policy Institute at the New School

*Organization listed for identification purposes only