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One million strong World Service Corps needed to augment our 1.4 million military
If America wants to remain the leading economic and political power in the 21st century, it must add a peaceful, productive World Service Corps to its tool belt of economic and moral development. With a million Americans a year working in pockets of need at home and abroad, our military costs and losses will tumble, as will our deficits.
Somewhere amidst political blowhards and hurricanes attacking, distracting, and dumbing America down in this politically contentious era, a crucial issue or two may be discussed. Kyoto and global warming may be one of those. Ignore it. Global warming is only a critical headline. Our problems stem from the mindset of our people.
The world’s colder. It needs a warm draft, heated by volunteering can-do Americans to deal with climate and global village change.
America doesn’t need a stop-the-commie cold war or kill-a-terrorist hot draft. It needs a million more volunteering Americans who lift all boats in a sea heaving with medical, economic, and environmental waves; and while doing so learn how to make smart future policies that benefit us and the world.
Our armed forces serve in 146 countries. We need to continue fielding the world’s best fighting machine. The world needs our disciplined warriors. But to endanger them less, we need volunteers serving on the frontiers of economic and educational deprivation from whence wars and ‘isms’ arise.
America should deploy another million Special Forces under the umbrella of the World Service Corps congressional proposals to increase world safety and, thereby, reduce military costs.
To make this happen, Americans should have the choice of voluntarily serving in at least these special governmental and non-governmental divisions:
• The Peace Corps, where service in over 100 countries builds economies, fights poverty, starts businesses, establishes civic organizations, and improves health. PCVs nation build. They immerse into the culture, language, and economy, obtaining the best human intelligence. PCVs may learn more than they give, but their elementary successes establish the connections that enable the global village.
• Americorps, where America’s poor need more than today’s 6,000 VISTA volunteers to reduce their economic disadvantage. Ballyhooed private volunteerism hasn’t erased America’s poverty handicap where Americorps could.
• Head Start, where joining bolsters 1,578,000 volunteers and staff whose efforts have brighten 21,214,295 children’s lives. What better way could a gentle American serve than by teaching her children?
• Habitat for Humanity, where swinging a loving hammer adds to the 200,000 homes built to eradicate substandard housing in 89 countries, including America. Americus, Georgia, Habitat’s headquarters, is the first America city to eradicate substandard housing. From a proud, owned home, the most loving teachers raise the world’s most productive citizens. Terrorists don’t walk near Habitat’s doors.
• Doctors Without Borders, where you reinforce the 2,500 annual volunteers in 80 countries who treat tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS; assist with the medical and psychological problems of marginalized populations including street children and ethnic minorities; and bring health care to remote, resource lacking areas. Those tendering this care are never forgotten.
• Red Cross, where as of October 2005 thousands of Red Cross volunteers had provided $1.56 billion of emergency financial assistance to more than one million families and still more help was needed.
• Other divisions included in this peaceful, productive army would be the International Rescue Committee, OxFam, Mercy Corps, and state conservation corps.
From Ethiopia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and battles in between, today’s smart military leaders realize war’s aftermath is the decisive battlefield.
Of our 10,000 overburdened soldiers in Afghanistan and Pakistan, over 1,000 have reportedly, without our government’s confirmation, died. Over two thousand have died in Iraq. Maintaining each of today’s 1.4 million soldiers costs over $500,000, when Iraq and Afghanistan supplemental budgets are added with often unbudgeted health and psychological maintenance costs that our soldiers need.
Unfortunately, not every soldier wins hearts and minds. Wars’ maiming and killing multiplies hatreds, terrorists, and additional costs.
Iraq was mistaken as a sprinter’s war. That mistake has turned the world into a marathon of terror. That stupid solo sprint inspired terrorist to run a bloody baton around a worldwide terror track. To win this marathon, we need to smarten, uplift, and gain the support of almost everyone around the global track.
This war requires we deny the enemy the ability to recruit hearts and minds. In this costly, generations-long war, it’s more cost effective to eradicate terrorism and safeguard America by annually:
• Building a Habitat Global Village home at $6,500;
• Assisting the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize winner Doctors Sans Borders at $22,400;
• Teaching a Head Start child at $7,165 each;
• Funding Americorps’ building programs and each of its volunteers at $66,818;
• Sending more can-do Americans into pockets of needs through the peaceful organizations mentioned here.
When months ago 30 out of 35 civilized nations in a Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) poll votes to change our administration by a 46% to 20% ratio, our problems go beyond stemming the recruitment of hearts and minds to narrow-minded leaders, tribes, and terrorists. World Service Corps programs, vastly cheaper than warring, would build a smarter, more supportive world via Americans implementing American ideals.
When John Kennedy started the 1961 Peace Corps, he remarked that it would be significant when it hit a million, implying that he wanted a million Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs) serving yearly by the 1970’s. Annual volunteer costs were then under $9,000, when soldiering in Vietnam cost $149,600 each. Forty-three years later, only about 175,000 have served in 137 countries, returning without socially burdensome psychological or medical costs. Fielding each of today’s 7,700 PCVs in 71 countries costs $40,000.
Almost every PCV wins hearts and minds, multiplying smiles and rooting out terror by planting crops, skills, and improved living conditions.
Afghanistan and Pakistan’s 168 million people reflect much of the world -- poor, illiterate, tribal, and susceptible to propaganda. By 1979 and 1967 respectively, the last of only 2,201 PCVs served there to offset the conditions and narrow-minded ideas that promote stupid-isms.
At the Democratic National Convention, Teresa Heinz Kerry etched the faces that erase stupid-isms:
“… One of the best faces America has ever projected is the face of a Peace Corps volunteer.
That face symbolizes this country: young, curious, brimming with idealism and hope, and a real, honest compassion…
In this World Service Corps, America’s characters, not withstanding many of our government’s policies, win hearts and minds and make America smarter, while creating a safer, better global village.
We need a volunteer World Service Corps (WSC) to brighten recent seasons of hurricanes and shortsighted political rhetoric, and shorten the long falls of terrorism. Help make it happen by at least signing the on-line Petition and helping at http://www.worldservicecorps.us to introduce and pass the WSC proposals into law.
Dwayne Hunn, Ph.D., served as a PCV in the slums of Mumbai (Bombay), India. In 1989, Congresswoman Boxer introduced his reso¬lution in the House calling for a joint American-Soviet Peace Corps as a means to solve world problems by having cold warriors work together on then.