|By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 - 12:13 pm: Edit Post|
Remarks by the President on Citizens Corp
|By Karen Sayer (kesayer) on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 4:47 am: Edit Post|
Wow--You really want to know what I think? Bush and his ideas terrify me. I used to live in a free country, but he seems bent on removing a whole slew of fundamental civil rights. His so-called freedome corps sounds to me like pre-WWII Germany, forming bands of community groups to spy on their neighbors and unconstrained vigilantees.
And how the heck does he figure that, as he repeatedly said in his speach, to "hunt down" and kill Afghans is somehow a good thing? Or morally justifiable? This is very scary thinking...unfortunately that culminates in very bloody actions. And his comments about the Taliban being the most repressive regime in the history of mankind suggests that he doesn't know his history well--or his current events, either. What about the current genocide of Palestinians? But I digress, sorry. My two cents--drop the idea of the vigilante squads.
|By Donald Beck on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 6:55 am: Edit Post|
I felt the same reaction (as above- by Karen Sayer) with images of pre-WWII Germany and calling on volunteer groups to guard American values... "secure our homeland" ... "find the enemy within" ... "spread America's values"
When I hear a rhetoric of "hunting down" "these people who hate America" --- the reference is to 9-11 and I don't argue it.
BUT whipping up a mob mentality in the name of PREVENTING further terrorism blurs our purpose from reacting to beliefs TO imposing beliefs.
I am fightened to hear Peace Corps bandied about as a way to "spread American values." Makes it sound more like an infection or ideology.
Again, It sounds more like "imposing beliefs" rather than "serving beliefs."
Peace Corps is an opportunity for Volunteers to understand the humanity in all cultures through service to others. In service we were to EXEMPLIFY those values... and IN RETURN learn the vast wisdom of a multitude of cultures... to come home with a deeper human understanding of peace.
I am sad to see the emphasis on "giving out of values" when the most valuable part is what WE got in the experience of service.
|By Ann Thompson Hannibal on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 9:35 am: Edit Post|
Sincere and eloquent speech, our Pres. is the best America has ever had! Bravura!
|By John Tarin on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 10:08 am: Edit Post|
President Bush makes it seem so simple. He does not see that no matter what the USA does, it will always be interpreted by some people in the world to be acts of Imperialism. Just helping people is not always going to prove that the USA has benign intentions.
|By Eric Pedley on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 11:10 am: Edit Post|
With Pres. Bush expanding the defense budget, I have to question his motives; mostly in relation to defending and fighting over oil. Instead of wasting all this money on an exhaustable resource, why not attempt to make solar and other sustainable energy sources economically feasible. If a major car company were to make a large purchase of solar cells that would work well enough to satisfy consumers, a market would be produced and competition would cause prices to go down. Without a large research investment, people will continue to use the excuse that solar cells are just too expensive. I believe that instead of continuing this ongoing war with The Middle East, we find a way out. Drilling Alaska, and negotiating with these crazy leaders are just short term solutions with long term hazards.
|By Lawrence Knowles on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 11:20 am: Edit Post|
Voted for Bush. Think he's the right man for the times. Bothered, though, by reference to using the Peace Corps to "spread America's values abroad." My view of the Peace Corps is that it is more a sharing of ideas and values than a one-way flow from the PCV to the people of the host country. Many of our values are worth sharing, but many, in my opinion, are not. Judging from recent events, I would say that much of the world feelws this way as well.
|By Jean Gray on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 1:15 pm: Edit Post|
I disagree completely with using the Peace Corps to spread American values abroad. I think that is the quickest way to undermine the Peace Corps and have its volunteers refused by other countries.
Peace Corps' contribution is sincere volunteers demonstrating high personal values and great appreciation for other cultures. I think most of us would agree that we learned far more than we ever taught.
|By Katherine Waser on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 2:20 pm: Edit Post|
I think these ideas are very, very scary. I definitely agree with Karen Sayers that these ideas will promote vigilanteism and suspicion of one's neighbors, rather than promoting the sort of tolerance for diversity that is so crucial to the functioning of our democracy.
I also feel that the Peace Corps should not EVER be viewed as, or become, primarily an instrument of "spreading American values abroad." Quite aside from the fact that this immediately raises the question of whose values you're going to define as "American" (I, for one, find many if not most of the President's apparent values completely abhorrent), it also completely ignores the fact that, as others have commented, Peace Corps is a two-way street. What about the mission of "bringing the world back home"? When I was a volunteer, one of the things that struck me over and over again was how insular we are in the US, and how valuable it was to have the opportunity to learn first hand and on a gut level that there are other ways of seeing the world besides ours, and that those ways may very well be just as valid as ours, too.
Finally, as an RPCV, I feel strongly that the Peace Corps should be a separate entity and should not be lumped together with all this so-called "America Freedom Corps" the Prez is pushing.
|By Jeff Ankrom on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 5:28 pm: Edit Post|
The President's remarks would have greater significance, I suppose, if he had clarified what American values he wanted volunteers to impart to others.
For me, the most important communication of values was in my own learning to make time to listen to other people, to take an extra moment to ask how people are, how the kids are... and to listen to the reply. What the Peace Corps shows people in other countries is that Americans can be interested in learning, that they are not motivated only by material gain, that they can be caring people, that they miss their families and worry about the news and have kitchen catastrophes like anyone else.
The most important thing that I brought back was the ability to tell other Americans that, despite the stereotypes, people far away are most concerned about... how their kids are doing in school, how the family is going to cover the rent and the doctor's bill, why the family cat is throwing up, whether they ought to try to change jobs, and whether the newlyweds will have a happy life together.
Sadly, I don't think this is the kind of exchange that the President had in mind.
|By stanley Clapp on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 7:06 pm: Edit Post|
I agree with what other RPCV are saying. Keep Bush away rom anything to do with the Peace Corp as he doesn't understand it. We often heard the host country people remark about the Peace Corps being connected to the CIA. Bush's remarks will already be picked up overseas and that idea will be reinforced. Perhaps his speechs shoould be cleaned up more before going public.
|By Lawrence Knowles on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 7:23 pm: Edit Post|
Hopefully, someone in the PC administration will pick up some of these comments and educate the Prez's aides/speech writers what the essence of the Peace Corps mission and experience is.
|By Ernest Arbuckle on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 12:58 am: Edit Post|
It's difficult to know where to start. Bush has no idea what the PC is about if we go by what he says. His total lack of perspective of why people "hate America" could come only from a President who was appointed rather than elected. He addresses about 10% of the substance of issues. Where is the other 90%?
|By Colin Gallagher on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 2:47 am: Edit Post|
Peace Corps is not about spreading "American Values" -- whatever those might be. If you have any doubt about this claim, you can read the mission of Peace Corps, from the Congressional Declaration of Purpose, which is spelled out by statute in Title 22, Chapter 34, Section 2501 of U.S. Code:
"The Congress of the United States declares that it is the policy of the United States and the purpose of this chapter to promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower, particularly in meeting the basic needs of those living in the poorest areas of such countries, and to help promote a better understanding of the American people on the part of the peoples served and a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people."
The only aspect of the above paragraph that could even be remotely connected to "spreading American values" would be where it is stated that part of the purpose of Peace Corps to "help promote a better understanding of the American people." Helping to promote a better understanding, however, does not mean becoming an ad-hoc missionary for the so-called "American Way" -- another undefined vagary from an already ubiquitous Administration.
There has as of yet been no established definition of terrorism provided for the purpose of post-9/11 legislation. Lack of definition, however, is not the only impropriety of the Bush family, which does not have a history of leading by example -- at least not an example that we want to "spread" as part of our "American values." The current Bush's grandfather was convicted under the Trading with the Enemy Act, having been found to have made substantial contributions to the Nazi party. His assets were frozen and held by the U.S. government. The next two generations could not escape the sins of the father: from the time of the war with Iraq to the events of September 11, the Bush family investments lay significantly and squarely in the middle of the holdings of the Carlyle Group, of which the bin Laden family was also a participant -- until the bombs began to fall in Afghanistan. (Shrewd observers will note that the Department of Justice website shows the nationalities of the 9/11 hijackers to be... Saudi! Oil, anyone?)
The "President" speaks of Maine lobstermen participating in a unique effort to report suspicious activity -- Red "commie" lobsters, perhaps. He then goes on to say, "This is a way to organize that which already happens in our communities on a daily basis, and a way to make the homeland more secure and more prepared."
Well, Mr. Bush, if you are listening, the Peace Corps is not an intelligence agency, a community is not a group of informants, and this is sure as hell not a "homeland." This is the U.S. of A.! And I think we've all had enough of the indigestion that passes for patriotism in Washington.
Ernest Hemingway once said, "Never mistake motion for action." It is now time to get moving and take action, before this Administration's motions become the standard for the rest of the country.
|By lawrence Knowles on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 10:59 am: Edit Post|
I think Colin Gallagher said it all. I wish I were as articulate.
|By david engle on Saturday, April 20, 2002 - 2:57 am: Edit Post|
I am gratified - deeply - that my "colleagues" - former PC volunteers - pan so articulately this mumbo-jumbo by our unduly selected President. the PC always lead a precarious existence placed between tasks appointed by (often well-meaning) politics and the _true_ humanitarianism of the volunteers. I am gratified that there are voices who want this precarious exitence to continue and not be "retro-fitted" into a sort of Hitler-youth do-good-for-the-homeland "marketing corps."
Bush's exporting of "American Values" is just plain capitalist hype - the kind pre-prepared before 9-11 to be foisted off on the American public as a "patriot act". It is seen through by most of the world, the sad exception being most of America.
Not everything good happens beneath the American flag. Not everything decent happens under the auspices of a Christian church. Not every thought - here or abroad - is supportive of the President's self-serving agenda. Not everything different is "terrorist" -thank God!
It is not ok to arrest people and not charge them with crimes. It is not ok to profile large portions of the world as being "evil", it is not ok to export cheap goods and import what is essentially slave labor as being "good" and "american." It is not ok to gut the Constitution and proclaim "freemdom" and "american values." It is not ok to use the Peace Corps to gain soldiers in the american cause and it is not ok to "export american values" when that means either "I win, you loose," or "you differ so I am right".
And it is not right to mis-use the Peace Corps to get Americas idealism to march - lock step / goose step - to Bush's self serving drum: the drum defined as "America" but dba as "dubya."
|By Joanne Marie Roll (joey) on Saturday, April 20, 2002 - 9:01 am: Edit Post|
I believe that Colin Gallagher should immediately document the source for the charges he made against the grandfather of the current president.
George H. Bush, the first Bush president, served in the military during WWII and indeed, was shot down over France and had to parachute from his burning plane. At eighteen, he was truely considered a hero. Now, what is at stake, here, is not the legtimate criticism of Bush foreign policy but the integrity of this website. I appreciate Colin Gallagher's analysis on many
topics - but when Colin Gallagher alleges such charges without documeting
the source, he risks compromising his crediability.
Gallagher has written.
|By Colin Gallagher on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 2:06 am: Edit Post|
The following message is intended to clarify sources requested by J. Roll in a prior post. To best answer this request I will phrase my response as a historical brief, with specific sources quoted in the below text. The above post by J. Roll refers to George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States -- not to be confused with Prescott Bush.
Our current Bush, often referred to as "George W.," had a great-grandfather named Bert Walker. Walker was instrumental in the creation of the Hamburg-America shipping line. Prescott Bush (George W.'s grandfather) later became the director of this line, which was seized on August 28, 1942 due to its use as arms transport for the growing Nazi juggernaut.
Multiple Freedom of Information Act requests have confirmed that on October 20, 1942, the U.S. Alien Property Custodian seized the shares of the Union Banking Corporation. This is a matter of public record (see Office of Alien Property Custodian, U.S. Government Vesting Order No. 248; Filed, November 6, 1942, 11:31 A.M.; 7 Fed. Reg. 9097 (Nov. 7, 1942), also see Vesting Orders 259 and 261). The law which was violated was the Trading with the Enemy Act, the crime being the use of American capital for Nazi interests. Prescott Bush was a director and shareholder of this organization, which (amongst other questionable activities) busied itself by routing money to the Silesian-American Corporation, a corporation which was managed by Prescott Bush and George Herbert Walker. The Silesian-American Corp. was shut down by the U.S. government on November 17, 1942 for its support to the Nazi war industry. This is also a matter of public record. Ensuing details of the result of these corporation's activities, and its multi-generational financial progeny, are nearly too excruciating for print. Please read the source material (cited above and at end of this post) if you wish to pursue the specifics.
As for George Herbert Walker Bush, the decorated WWII fighter pilot, you may recall the controversy of 1988, when (then Vice-President) Bush was forced to fire certain questionable scoundrels from his campaign. I will quote from Tony Rogers and Nick Mamates' article, "Who is George W. Bush?":
"The scandal erupted when Washington Jewish Week and other media outlets discovered that the Bush campaign harbored well known neo-Nazis, including Jerome Brentar, a holocaust revisionist who claims that the Nazis never deliberately gassed victims of the Holocaust, and Akselis Mangulis, who was involved in the SS-influenced Latvian Legion during World War II. George W. Bush, the campaign's hatchet man, fired the Nazis slowly, so as to hide "under the radar" of the media. After the election, four of these came back to work for the Republican Party according to USA Today."
(( See http://www.monitor.net/monitor/0001a/fortunateson.html ))
For detailed sources of this information, you can go to a variety of books: 'Blowback' (Christopher Simpson) is a well-known source for information on Nazis and their supporters in the United States (I highly recommend Simpson's book due to its non-partisan approach and extensive source documentation); another is 'Old Nazis, The New Right And The Republican Party' (Russ Bellant, Boston, MA; South End Press, 1991.), and yet another is 'The Secret War Against The Jews' (John Loftus and Mark Aarons. New York; St. Martins Press, 1994.) The best material, however, is the original source -- Freedom of Information Act records. If you are not interested in waiting for your government to provide you with copies of this information, I suggest contacting Richard N. Draheim, Jr. (who has done some definitive work on the subject), or myself, with a specific request for source, though my time is also limited in that regard. The best rewards come to those who wait -- Happy hunting.
|By Maggie McQuaid on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 3:00 am: Edit Post|
Bush's speech disturbed me in so many ways that it is difficult to organize my thoughts. His new vision for America appears to involve all manner of people in all manner of what sounds like paramilitary "corps". Apparently, the purpose is to utilize volunteers to spy on their neighbors, rat out people for "suspicious" activities, and alert the authorities to anyone not holding to the official doctrine. This is what happened in Nazi Germany or Maoist China, folks. If we as the American public passively accept this, we're in big trouble.
It troubles me to hear this as an expectation of national volunteers. I take seriously my two years' service in the Peace Corps, and an additional two years' service as a VISTA volunteer. Bush's vision of a new national volunteer corps cheapens the work that I - we - did.
Finally, as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Central America (Honduras) in the 70's, I learned some quick and painful lessons about the real history of American involvement in Latin America. Learning about American-backed coups throughout the region, meeting people who had been raped and tortured by "special operatives" trained by Americans (and sometimes IN America), and learning the real reasons why our government has backed any number of sorry-ass regimes throughout the world sobers you up pretty quickly. Like many RPCV's, when I heard the post-9/11 plaint of "why do they hate us so much?", I'm afraid I could list many (too many) reasons.
I am worried and sickened not only at what the current administration wants to do to the Peace Corps, but what they seem to want to do to America. The proposals of the "Homeland Security Office" and the "Freedom Corps" smack terrifyingly of facism, repression, and paranoia.
I think we as RPCV's, with our unique and invaluable knowledge of the realities of Third World life and politics, are duty-bound to resist Bush and his henchmen in every way possible. And - should any correct and proper citizen out there read this and think I'M a threat to the nation, then come get me. I'm in the Anchorage phone book and easy to find.
|By Gary Geoghegan (garygeo) on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 1:25 pm: Edit Post|
President Bush suggested in his speech that the Peace Corps helps to spread American values. I take it to mean he trusts those who sign up, both past and future, to have values that most Americans would support.
From my experience, the values commonly held by Peace Corps volunteers are kindness and generosity, and, more than tolerance, an openness to the best other cultures have to offer, as well as a willingness to look critically at US policy. If looked at this way it is hard to argue that spreading THESE American values has a downside.
|By Colin Gallagher on Tuesday, July 30, 2002 - 2:42 am: Edit Post|
A few months ago, when I read the above message, I understood that your statements were bringing a polite and positive closure to an unquestionably heated discussion.
As I view them again now, in light of the increasingly fascist policies of our Government, I am saddened by the twisted mirror in which our collective national identity has come to view itself, the sharp and acrid distinction between Bush's "partisan patriots" and those people with true dedication to Constitutional principles, and the inevitable internalization of the global conflict created by what too many politicians have been ready and willing to call "American values."
With respect to "spreading" of such "values," would that they be spread so thin that we would not have to think about them, feel them, or see them! But sadly, that is not so. The diner sees his prey and dabs ever thicker pats of rancid butter upon his bread. Regardless of how thin he might "spread" it, we all can smell it quite well, thank you.
I wish this had more to do with partisan politics, but I fear that such is no longer the case, and the more I think about it, the more I realize in fact that partisan conflict was never the real issue. It is time to resist at every turn a rising tide of nationalism, to fight the racist policies of a Government turned against its own people, and to expose the irrational fascism of a dictatorship with aspirations of global dominance as expressed through a mask called the Presidency.
While I strongly feel that we must not turn to violent means -- service in the Peace Corps, for example, is still one of the best things, in my view, that a U.S. citizen can do -- further violations of the public trust and abuses of power by our government may create a situation in which the water will boil, despite the seemingly placid surface of our society.
We cannot pack kindness and generosity into bombs and bullets. These are values which must be cultivated from within, and require of the individual patience and openness in interaction with others. This alone is not enough, however. In order for us not to lose whatever kindness and generosity we have gained, we must de-emphasize material gain and the superiority of identity. The fundamental problems which plague the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also trouble the psyche of American government and culture, culminating in the extremes of political expression of power.
Can we, through our actions, provide more good than bad in the world, more friendship than hatred, more joy than sorrow? Would that it were so simple that every thought and action had a numerical counterpart, point and counterpoint. There is a long way to go before the good in the world wins out at least enough to create an equality of perspectives; a long road is left to run.
There is no finish line to this struggle. Make it, then, a way of life, a search for that which is better than the travesties we trip over on our journeys through the harsh and unyielding land of the living that we have learned to love, and to live in lovingly.
|By John Montaign on Tuesday, July 30, 2002 - 8:31 pm: Edit Post|
Who is this guy Bush? What country does he live in? Certainly not in the America I know.
|By Anonymous (pool-72-66-18-27.washdc.fios.verizon.net - 220.127.116.11) on Friday, August 03, 2007 - 8:18 am: Edit Post|
I had the distinct pleasure of serving in two profound programs which Pres. J.F.K. began, i.e., the Peace Corps and U.S. Army Special Forces. Both of these programs shared the common features of embedding personnel in the fabric of a village, learning the language, doing meaningful assistance...and winning hearts and minds. We were ambassadors for America, trusted and appreciated. In many of the posts in this thread, it appears that as long as some leftist president would lead our nation, it's acceptable to promote those values. But, when American political leadership has the appellation of being conservative, it bothers the blue jackasses at every turn. Evaluating J.F.K.'s style of foreign policy would have him no where in the camp of this current morass of Demokrats, moreover, he'd be a strong proponent of what we're doing overseas right now fighting terrorism, not this left-wing pollyanna nonsense which so many espouse here. Oh yes, I AM a veteran of the war there. As for my Peace Corps experience, I never was one of the dope-smoking Peace Corps junket kids, and there certainly were many 30 years ago, a sign of those times. But, there were many patriots in the Corps, that truly believed in American values, and that's exactly what was promoted, whether you think it's desired or not. Foreign nations WANT our success... the success of economic progresss=capitalism, not socialism. We went overseas not just to take away, but to give back, and that meant giving ideas and talents related to American values, ideas and insight.