World

Bush Disagrees With Foreign Aid Cuts In Trump Budget

| by Ray Brown

Former President George W. Bush said he disagrees with making large cuts to foreign aid such as those proposed by President Donald Trump.

In an interview with NPR, Bush said the United States has a moral obligation to help poor nations in times of crisis.

"I think the most meaningful moment for me was going to a maternity ward in Namibia," Bush told NPR at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. "Seeing a roomful of ladies, most of whom -- if not all -- had the AIDS virus, and every one of their babies was born without AIDS. Mother-to-child transmission efforts of PEPFAR [President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] have been unbelievably successful."

When asked what he would say to a struggling mother in the United States who can't make ends meet while the U.S. government spends billions overseas to help other nations, Bush responded: "Look, we can't solve every problem.″

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He continued: "And I would tell the person who's out of work, hopefully there's enough aid there to help you transition. But, you know, the idea of turning our back on a pandemic that would've wiped out an entire generation of people, I don't think is in the spirit of the United States."

Bush, who began the Iraq War in 2003 after using false evidence to justify the invasion that has led to nearly 200,000 civilian deaths, according to Iraq Body Count, and continues to be a military quagmire, said foreign aid can also act as a way to prevent terrorism.

"When you have an entire generation of people being wiped out and the free world turns its back, it provides a convenient opportunity for people to spread extremism," he said, adding: "I believe in this case that it's in our national security interests as well as in our moral interest to continue funding this program."

Trump has proposed cutting the U.S. foreign aid by 28 percent, according to Reuters.

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The entire U.S. foreign aid budget makes up less than 1 percent of the overall $3.8 trillion budget, amounting to approximately $30 billion, according to The Atlantic.

Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said this is not a good time to make significant cuts in foreign aid.

"How could this be justified in today's world where over 65 million people are displaced, and we are faced with multiple humanitarian crises?" he told CNN. "To abandon the vulnerable for armaments would not make America greater but would make her smaller."

Sources: NPR, CNN, Reuters, The Atlantic, Iraq Body Count / Photo credit: The U.S. Army/Flickr

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