Bono to US Military: 'Bright Line' Between Aid and Defense

Humanitarian activist and musician Bono is enlisting the U.S. military's help in fostering development. Photo by: Benjamin Zurbriggen / World Economic Forum / CC BY-SA 2.0 World Economic ForumCC BY-SA 2.0

Humanitarian activist and celebrity singer Bono urged the U.S. military to make development assistance an “equal but separate partner” to defense. Bono made the call during a dinner in his honor hosted by the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank focusing mostly on U.S.-European Union and NATO security interests.

“I’m not suggesting that we do each other’s jobs — far from it. I’m not suggesting that soldiers should braid flowers in their hair or [start] carrying stethoscopes or fertilizers in their packs,” Bono told an audience of academics, politicians, and military officials, according to Stars and Stripes, a daily newspaper authorized by the U.S. Defense Department. “There’s a bright line that separates what we do from what you do and that’s OK, but our ultimate goals are the same goals.”

In his speech, Bono also expressed support for President Barack Obama’s proposed funding hike for foreign affairs. Development will receive less money if Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) “gets his way,” the frontman of the Irish rock band U2 said. Conrad chairs the Senate Budget Committee, which last week approved a non-binding resolution suggesting Obama’s foreign affairs budget request be cut by USD4 billion. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week defied the budget hawks and passed a foreign affairs budget hike.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.