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Published: Friday, 3/30/2012

Keep foreign aid

A  bipartisan group that includes former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright is seeking public support for America's foreign-aid budget. The group makes a credible case.

Just 1.6 percent of the federal budget is devoted to international affairs. Advancing U.S. interests through promotion of exports and other commercial activities, development aid, and diplomacy makes it possible for fewer U.S. soldiers to be sent to fight in defense of those interests.

Compare the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with the $56 billion requested for the foreign-aid budget this year. That calculation would not include the 46 Americans who have died in Afghanistan this year.

Foreign aid is under severe political attack this election year. The argument that America should be spending its money at home, on education, job training, and infrastructure, is easy to make. But these needs should not be used as a case for shortchanging America's presence and role overseas.

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