Letter 1: May 12, 2003
(Cut and paste the below message)

SUBJ: U2 Fans Ask You to Help Save a Continent and Free a World

Takes a second to say goodbye
Say goodbye, oh, oh, oh
It takes a second to say goodbye
Say goodbye, oh, oh, oh, say bye bye
Where you going to now...

Lightning flashes across the sky
East to west, do or die
Like a thief in the night
See the world by candlelight...

Say goodbye, say goodbye...

The lyrics of the song "Seconds" were written by U2 singer/activist Bono as a comment on nuclear war. 

But the message can be applied to any human crisis of mammoth dimensions, and the AIDS pandemic, on which Bono himself is so outspoken, is indeed such a crisis. I have heard it said by AIDS activists, that the AIDS pandemic has not even yet peaked. By the time it does, there will not be a person on the planet who does not have AIDS or who is not otherwise impacted by deaths of peoples from AIDS.

And as Bono says, here we sit trying put out this holocaust with watering cans.

You will be considering legislation in the coming weeks to provide this year's funding for the AIDS crisis. The house has already passed relatively decent, unencumbered legislation, with the figure requested in the White House budget of $200 million. Nevertheless, this is a
"drop in the bucket."

We've already spent more than that prosecuting a pre-emptive war for questionable reasons, and we have billions more to go in Iraq, and yet it seems to me that the AIDS crisis - especially the crisis in the less developed nations of sub-Saharan Africa - is at least as deserving of my tax money. If we spent even a quarter of what we spend on the Department of Defense on fighting poverty, famine, and disease around the world, people would no longer NEED to BELIEVE in terrorism and genocide because people would no longer be OPPRESSED. 

This is why foreign aid is imperative. Not because we are a kind and good nation offering charity, but because it serves the interests of our national security in the LONG term. Unfortunately all too many politicians are uninterested in anything more long term than the next election. Which leaves our children fighting wars such as our current "war on terrorism." Is that the legacy you wish to leave?

So I strongly encourage you to up the ante, and then work it out in conference. Furthermore, please do not tack on amendments that limit the use of this money with regard to birth control or other moral encumbrances. 

Asking for accountability is appropriate. In fact, encourage those who would receive the funding to establish Cooperative Agreements, where the use of the money can be tracked more closely than it can with Grants. But with regard to moral issues, our culture is different from the cultures of the developing nations being scoured by AIDS, and it is atrociously inappropriate for our country to try to attach "conditions" on which the money may be granted that include moral imperatives based on our own culture. It is simply not our place to interfere in the moral and cultural beliefs of other nations.

The entertainment franchise *Star Trek* has a rule about non-interference in cultural matters called "the Prime Directive." The sooner the United States develops its own Prime Directive, the better the world will be.

And the sooner we start spending less money on guns and more money on
the fundamental needs of people (housing, food, water, health care and
education), the better the world will be.

I urge you to consider these issues as you consider the AIDs legislation before you. This letter is part of a letter-writing campaign organized by fans of the band U2 who agree with the humanitarian words and deeds of the band, especially with regard to Bono's quest to improve conditions in Africa.

. .