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Campaign Press Release 25 Apr 2012

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
April 25, 2012

Principal Contact (Global Campaign against IEDs):

 

Robert C. Morris, Jr.
Phone (U.S): (757) 869-6770
FAX: (U.S.):  (270) 477-7087
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

 

House and Senate Challenged to Unite Against Terrorism

 

Veterans, Service Members, and the World wait to see if the House and Senate with answer the call: 42 Members of the House Sign a Letter to President Obama to date.

 

Washington,  D.C. – Forty-two members of the U.S. House of Representatives have  signed a letter to President Obama calling for a unified U.S. strategy and international action against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).  Organizers hope others will join the call.

The IED is becoming the weapon of choice for armed groups who seek to achieve their goals through violence. If you exclude the 233 IED incidents per month during 2010 in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are estimated to be, on average, three IED incidents each day in the remainder of the world. There are over 600 IED events per month globally if you count thwarted attempts.

According to the National Counterterrorism Center’s Worldwide Incident Tracking System, this represents a doubling of monthly IED incidents in just five years.  IEDs are the main cause of military casualties, but on a global level now create more civilian than military casualties.

Based on data compiled by Partners International Foundation, a United States non-government organization for the Global Campaign against IEDs, IEDs killed 268 U.S. service members and more than seven times that many civilians (1,898) in 2010. Ammonium nitrate, long used to manufacture IEDs in the Near East and South Asia, is becoming prevalent in Africa. It may be only a matter of time before IEDs are used by gangs in the United States.

Taken together this amounts to a global epidemic of IED use.

To address this threat and mobilize global action against it, the Global Campaign against Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) (www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org) based in Yorktown, Virginia, initiated an international effort to reduce IEDs and the networks that produce them.

On March 23, 2012, Representative Elton Gallegly’s (R-CA) office began requesting that his colleagues sign a letter initiated by Global Campaign against IEDs.

The letter calls for President Obama to work with Congress and global governments to address critical gaps in the humanitarian response to IEDs, strengthen application of the rule of law, and eliminate serious deficiencies in public-private information sharing,

In just six months the initiative is gathering significant bipartisan support. Signatories now include representatives from key House committees including: Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Homeland Security, Veteran’s Affairs, Appropriations, Ways and Means, Judiciary, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Small Business, Oversight and Government Reform, Education and Workforce, Transportation and Infrastructure, Joint Committee on Taxation, Budget, Agriculture and Natural Resources. The response underscores the true bipartisan nature of the issue.

Col (Ret) Bob Morris from the Global Campaign against IEDs points to the actions of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee as noteworthy: “We are particularly honored both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee joined together in agreeing to be signatories to the letter.  This is a show of bipartisan unity on this issue that sets an exemplary example.”

Morris also credits Representative Gallegly with much of this success: “Simply put, if Congressman Gallegly and his staff had not taken the initiative to come forward and lead on this important issue, nothing regarding the letter would have happened. It is a credit to the Congressman and his staff to be out front on this important issue.”

“Great credit is owed to all Members of Congress who came forward to take the lead on this important issue”, says Morris.

“I urge all members of Congress, in both the House and Senate, to sign this letter.” Morris said. “IEDs are not a partisan issue, they are an American issue.”

The letter remains open for additional signatures until April 30, 2012 and the Global Campaign against IEDs is calling on the American people to contact their Congressional representatives and call for them to sign onto the letter.

Those wishing to support the Global Campaign against IEDs can visit its website at www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org .

A full copy of Rep. Gallegly’s Request for Signatures, the Letter to President Obama, and list of current signatories is attached with additional information available on the organization’s website.

A full media packet of background information on the letter and this issue is available for download at: www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/PressPack0.pdf

As of April 23, 2012 we have 42 Members of the United States House of Representatives who have agreed to sign a letter to President Obama in Improvised Explosive Devices and Related Veteran’s issues.

Representative Elton Gallegly (R-CA) – Lead for Signatures – Vice-Chair, House Foreign Affairs Committee

Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) – Senior Member, House Ways and Means Committee

Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL)

Representative Allen West (R-FL)

Representative Rich Nugent (R-FL)

Representative Todd Russell Platts (R-PA)

Representative Bob Filner (D-CA) – Ranking Member, House Veterans’ Affairs

Representative Frank Guinta (R-NH)

Representative Glenn Thompson (R-PA)

Representative Dale Kildee (D-MI)

Representative Danny K. Davis (D-IL)

Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN)

Representative Tom Rooney (R-FL)

Representative Randy Hultgren (R-IL)

Representative Bobby Schilling (R-IL)

Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX)

Representative Dan Benishek (R-MI)

Representative Pete Stark (D-CA)

Representative John Conyers (D-MI) – Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee

Representative Edolphus Towns (D-NY)

Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)

Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV)

Representative Bob Turner (R-NY)

Representative Charles B. Rangel (D-NY)

Representative Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX)

Representative Hansen Clarke (D-MI)

Representative Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

Representative Jerrold Nadler            (D-NY)

Representative John Lewis (D-GA)

Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) - Ranking Member, Committee on Oversight & Government Reforms

Representative Tim Griffin (R-AR)  

Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA)

Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL) - Chairman, House Veteran’s Affairs

Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)

Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH)

Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)

Representative Laura Richardson (D-CA)

Representative Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS)

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

Representative Steve Austria (OH-R)

Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH)

Representative Tom Latham (R-IA)

Members of the House and Senate have a singular opportunity to speak with one voice on this issue. The IED threat is a unifying issue for which there is no legitimate reason not to stand against and renounce them by becoming a signatory on the proposed letter.

 

Letter to President Obama

 

UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

DATE

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear President Obama,

We are writing to urge you to develop a comprehensive strategy to combat the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and the trade in materials to manufacture them.

The IED is becoming the weapon of choice for armed groups who seek to achieve their goals through violence. If you exclude the 233 IED incidents per month during 2010 in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are estimated to be, on average, three IED incidents each day in the remainder of the world. According to the National Counterterrorism Center’s Worldwide Incident Tracking System, this represents a doubling of monthly IED incidents in just five years.  In addition to being the main cause of casualties for our military forces, IEDs on a global level now create more civilian than military casualties. Based on data from 2010, compiled by Partners International Foundation, a United States non-government organization for the Global Campaign against IEDs, IEDs killed 268 U.S. service members and over 7 times that many civilians (1,898) with combined killed and wounded civilians reaching 7,747. Ammonium nitrate, long used to manufacture IEDs in the Near East and South Asia, is becoming prevalent in Africa and it may be only a matter of time before IEDs are used by gangs in the United States. Taken together this amounts to a global epidemic of IED use.

IEDs are the number one cause of casualties for American service members and will be for the foreseeable future. According to the Blinded Veterans Association, vision loss is the fourth most prevalent injury caused by IEDs behind hearing loss, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder for which IEDs are also the major cause. Approximately 34% of those injured by IED blasts suffer duel sensory loss of vision and hearing. This is in addition to the well documented physical wounds such as loss of limbs and other permanent physical disabilities. Similar injury statistics are likely much higher for the civilian populations effected by IED attacks.

These trends underscore the seriousness of the IED problem where innocent civilians, most often women and children, bear the brunt of the suffering. Those in affected areas live in fear of additional attacks that disrupt everything from daily routines, to health care, to elections. When displacement, destruction, and loss of personal assets are added to this mix sustainable livelihoods are severely degraded.

Despite the fact that they are a significant global threat to stability, sustainable development, human rights, and humanitarian operations, IEDs are inevitably framed as a predominately military problem. Military responses alone will not halt the proliferation of IEDs; eliminate civilian casualties; or address the root causes of IED production networks.  A comprehensive approach is needed that combines military responses with the public and private efforts of the Global Campaign against IEDs.  Their approach emphasizes a three-pronged methodology of prosecutions under international rule of law, fact-based information campaigns, and community-based sustainable development initiatives through public-private partnerships with associated information and technology transition enabled by an independent, non-partisan Global IED center. We are asking you to take steps that will substantially fill the remaining gaps.

The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State have supported inter-agency and multi-national engagement on this issue. Through their efforts, the United States is playing a vital and important role against IEDs; unfortunately, however, these efforts are not enough. As we learned from the successful international effort over a decade ago to address the scourge of anti-personnel landmines, confronting the global problem of IEDs requires a focused, holistic, and coordinated global response.

To address critical gaps in the humanitarian response to IEDs, strengthen application of the rule of law, and eliminate serious deficiencies in public-private information sharing, we urge you to:

  • Designate a Lead Federal Agency to develop a U.S. Government strategy that coordinates with  the Global Campaign against IEDs to eliminate the root causes of IED networks and help control the proliferation of IED production materials and techniques, including promoting the exchange of IED-related  lessons learned, best practices, and alert and reporting techniques between and among relevant Federal Agencies and other public and private entities; defining objective metrics with which to measure progress with respect to counter-IED programs; conducting public-education; executing appropriate IED related information and technology transition; encouraging other governments and international organizations to join these efforts;
  • Direct the Department of State to introduce a resolution at the United Nations condemning the use of IEDs and calling for international cooperation in prosecuting IED users under international rule of law, while at the same time strengthening existing controls on the proliferation of IED production components such as explosive remnants of war, ammonium nitrate, and commercial explosives; and
  • Direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop a U.S. Government strategy partnered with Veterans Service Organizations, Military Service Organizations, and other public-private partners to identify the long term physical and psycho-social effects of IED related injuries; share findings and best practices with appropriate agencies and the private sector; and ensure adequate programs and benefits are available to affected veterans and their care-givers.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,