Monday, August 9, 2004 Marin Independent Journal
In today’s era of terror 1.4 million of our soldiers serve in 146 countries at $297,000 per head. To stem terror. America must deploy more cost-effective Special Forces. To do that, we must live Kennedy’s words.
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
Our 35th President invigorated the 1961 world. Within years, even in Bombay’s slums, his picture hung alongside Gandhi and Hindi Gods. Admiration grew from actions, not just charisma.
“If the Pentagon’s map is more urgent, the Peace Corp’s is, perhaps, in the long run the most important..... What happens in India, Africa, and South America -- whether the nations where the Peace Corps works succeed or not -- may well determine the balance of peace.”
Spoken by the Corps first Director and Kennedy-in-law, Sargent Shriver, Kennedy’s Corps remains the most effective terrorist cleanser, as well as most effective and decent human intelligence disseminator and gatherer.
Kennedy told Harris Wofford, the Corps first Deputy Director, former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and former Director of Americorps, he wanted:
“…the Peace Corps to reach 100,000 a year. He said it would then be considered serious. In one decade, it would reach 1 million volunteers."
In 1963, while Viet Nam was a special forces fight Kennedy accepted and not a massive war, and before his calls for a million-member corps were ignored, Kennedy said: Peace Corps volunteers “constitute one third of all qualified secondary teachers in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Nyssaland; they have saved a three-quarter million dollar rice crop in Pakistan; they have vaccinated over 25,000 Bolivians; they are teaching in 400 Philippine schools; they have created a thriving poultry industry in the state of Punjab in India; they are teaching in every rural secondary school in British Honduras; they have contributed to the creation of a system of farm to market roads in Tanganyika. But these are only isolated examples.”
Even when our
governmental policies went wrong, he knew, America’s amateur straight
shooters would turn hearts and minds.
Even when our governmental policies went wrong, he knew, America’s amateur straight shooters would turn hearts and minds.
JFK knew “-isms” would limp away against his book-laden, shovel-carrying, sandal-wearing, language-speaking special corps. He knew the diversity and dexterity of a million American characters working in slums, needy schools, and meager fields; training natives for the future Americans were living, couldn’t miss. Even when our governmental policies went wrong, he knew, America’s amateur straight shooters would turn hearts and minds.
What happened? Visionary leaders were assassinated. Bombs rained. JFK’s visionary army building a concern for “rights and duties” and “the welfare of all” peaked at 15,556 in 1966, then sunk in an Asian quagmire.
From 1965-74, 2,075 times more was spent on the Pentagon’s Vietnam map than on the Peace Corps. Each soldier in Vietnam cost $149,661. Each Peace Corps volunteer, $8,709.
Instead of (2,582,304) soldiers in Viet Nam, (23,240,736) book-armed teachers, pitch forked Ag experts, needle-wielding health workers could have hand-built a Mekong River Valley Power Authority that dwarfed our Tennessee Valley Authority.
The last time a PCV worked in terrorist laden Pakistan was 1967. From 1961-67, 462 worked in agriculture, health, and rural development in both East (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan.
The last time a PCV worked in Osama’s Afghanistan haven was 1979. From 1962-1979, 1,739 worked in education and health.
The last time a PCV worked in Iran was 1976. From 1962-1976, 1,863 worked in agriculture, education and engineering.
(A PCV has never served in “evil” spheres such as Iraq, North Korea or Cuba; or in beads of “holiness” like Palestine or Israel.)
(In all of North Africa and the Middle East, PCVs have only served in Morocco and Jordan.)
Since 1961, 171,000 PCVs have trained and served, far from the million per year Kennedy envisioned.
Today’s Corps has 7,533 serving in 71 countries.
Elite, narrow-minded fundamentalists lead this war. Those they lead are duped into believing that America’s worst policies represent America. That perception is erased when special American characters serve the world – winning hearts and minds.
Three billion people – hungry, uneducated, potential terrorist fodder -- subsist on $2.00 a day. Smart bombs won’t deplete their ranks. A million Peace Corps volunteers, sowing the Field of Better Dreams for “all of God’s children,” will.
Dwayne Hunn of Mill Valley served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the slums of Mumbai (Bombay), India. (In 1989 Congresswoman Boxer introduced his resolution in the House calling for a joint Soviet-American Peace Corps as a means to have cold warriors work on world problems.)
Sections in (….) were edited out of the Marin Independent Journal Op-Ed. They are left her to add additional information. Kennedy Rockwell picture added by me.
For a deeper analysis go to: Green Berets of Terror War