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.