There is currently a bill before the U.S. House of Representatives to establish a United States Department of Peace (H.R. 808). This July marks the 10 year anniversary of it's first introduction (in this form). We recognize that this cause may take awhile to acheive, but it is important that we reamin vigilant to our national leadership that we desperatly need federal infrastructure in support of peacebuilding.
A Department of Peace will work to augment our current problem-solving options, providing practical, nonviolent solutions to the problems of domestic and international conflict. From the growing rate of domestic incarceration to increasing problems of international violence, the United States has no more serious problem in our midst than the problem of violence itself. Prison-building is our largest urban industry, and we spend over 400 billion dollars a year on military-related expenditures. Yet there is within the workings of the U.S. government, no platform from which to seriously wage peace. We place no institutional heft behind an effort to address the causal issues of violence, diminishing its psychological force before it erupts into material conflict. From child abuse to genocide, from the murder of one to the slaughter of thousands, it is increasingly senseless to merely wait until violence has erupted before addressing the deeper well from which it springs.
Ten years ago, on July 11, 2001, a bill calling for the establishment of a U.S. Department of Peace was dropped in the U.S. Congress. I urge you to support this U.S. House bill, now HR-808, in the 112th Congress.
I am also requesting that you sign on as a co-sponsor (where appropriate) to the associated legislation and encourage your fellow members to do the same. The last Senate bill was introduced in 2005--we believe it's time for another introduction in the Senate.
Some say we can't afford peacebuilding or another Department. We say, we can't afford not to.
This legislation calls for allocated resources to reduce and prevent violence, 85% of which will be committed to addressing violence in the United States. Domestically, the Department of Peace will develop policies and allocate resources to effectively reduce the levels of domestic and gang violence, child abuse, and various other forms of societal discord. Internationally, the Department will advise the President and Congress on the most sophisticated ideas and techniques regarding peace-creation among nations.
The challenges of violence demand our full resources and attention. I ask you to support this legislation as a big step towards creating a lasting peace in our nation and world.