Second, the characterization of USIP – by Reps. Anthony Weiner (D) of New York and Jason Chaffetz (R) of Utah – as merely a think tank was inaccurate at best, disinformation at worst. USIP folks work in conflict zones like Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, the Balkans, and throughout the Middle East, where they train military and civilian personnel. Yes, they “think,” but they transform thought into action.
Finally, a surprise amendment, debated at 1:30 AM with a two-minute roll call vote hours later, is not a responsible way for the world’s leading democracy to legislate such an important function of government as peace, especially when our nation is at war.
What motivated the House to vote this way?
The new House appears motivated by three key, even predictable, lines of reasoning. The first is a shortsighted desire to save a few dollars – whatever the cost to national security.
The second motivating mindset is the usual desire to have private firms, rather than government, do the work of peacebuilding. Ideologically, politicians can reason that they are keeping the American government out of foreign conflicts – an involvement they feel inappropriately expends US resources. (However, contracting private firms to do this work actually costs the taxpayer more.)