PC as a military option

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: August 2, 2005: Headlines: Speaking Out: Military: Intelligence Issues: Washington Post: Peace Corps Option for Military Recruits Sparks Concerns : PCOL Exclusive: The Coyne Column: A Hidden Agenda? : PC as a military option

By mj hazelton (pcp06830698pcs.wodhvn01.mi.comcast.net - on Thursday, August 11, 2005 - 10:48 pm: Edit Post

This is a VERY crazy idea. I served in Malaysia in the late 1960's, during the Vietnam War. There was a PCV drafted out of country, from my town. The damage was irreparable. No school wanted another PCV. I'm sure my credentials were questioned. I would not want myself or anyone else to be put at that type of risk. Now. it could be life threatening. There would be always a question on the host country national's mind about the willingness to serve and the ultimate goal for that volunteer... and for every other volunteer in that country. It would take but a minute for any information about that volunteer to get out into the country. This is a very ill-concieved idea... from someone, who has not served overseas in any sort of function within a local community. Clearly, it puts all PCVs at risk... just ask those of us serving during the Vietnam era. We were always under suspicion about our loyalties....

By Pat Smith ( on Friday, August 12, 2005 - 1:04 am: Edit Post

The stereotypical liberal politically correct idea is no association between (R)PCVs and military. Gee, how many volunteers used to go to the Marine guards house and party, drink free beer, and watch movies when in the capital city? How many PCVs realize that Embassy and military planners know where all PCVs are in case of necessary evacuation? How many PCVs have a friggin' clue of current humanitarian operations which are conducted by the military in numerous countries and actually produce positive results in terms of projects completed, host country nationals served, and long range benefits of military operations versus the stereotypical two year Peace Corps project which leaves great memories but no infrastructural development? The dual 'Nam vets and PCVs may have too much bias from their respective and opposite tours to realize any evolution between the missions of both institutions. When jaded by political leanings, the reaction is "hell no, we won't go"; I can as easily reject that position as a non-thinking political gut reaction. RPCVs, PCVs, and military vets with active duty military personnel have many commonalities which could allow cross training in cultural sensitivity, languages, and assimilation techniques from the Peace Corps side of house, while the military can offer much as to project identification, management, assessment, and on scene/site support for PCVs. The maintenance of separation for "purity" purposes is BS/ sikusikembum(BS in Dogon-Pelani dialect) and political when promoted by someone like Chris Matthews; it is a non-thinking emotional and rhetorical reaction straight from the "Kumba yaah" days. Regardless of institutional affiliation, some anti-Americanism always existed and will continue to exist; don't blame it on Iraq, W, or whatever. I agree with the continued need for intelligence separation between Peace Corps and any intelligence positions; but to deny a military medic who does community health, give me a break! There are areas of mutual reinforcement which should be researched without emotional outcries about maintaining the "purity" of the Peace Corps or the real Corps, the Marines. Get beyond the political rhetoric which Matthews pushes, and define the areas of complementarity without getting bogged down in the political bias. JFK created and promoted the Peace Corps simultaneously as the Green Berets and Navy Seals; in certain environments the Peace Corps is a better tool, but usually once secured by the Marine Corps or by political stability. This fabricated tempest in a teapot denies the fact the both bureaucratic institutions, Peace Corps and military, are for the improvement of national interests, both are tools for the same team, not tools against each other. This continued rhetoric denies the fact that American institutions funded by public tax dollars should be mutually supportive; both can teach the other and both can produce positive results in an increasingly difficult globalized community. Work on the same team without getting all bent out of shape by some philosophical "purity" characteristics which never truly existed in either the Peace Corps or the military. Get over it/60s syndrome and get on with it-improve both institutions in a common mission.

Pat Smith RPCV Mali 1977-80; US Navy Diving Officer 1980-1987

By Anonymous (ip68-2-128-60.ph.ph.cox.net - on Monday, August 15, 2005 - 11:28 pm: Edit Post

hmmmm... Typical American Imperialistic rantings.

You know, there is nothing to prevent military guys from VOLUNTEERING for the Peace Corps AFTER their service commitment is over.

Making the Peace Corps a virtual branch of the armed forces is a slap in the face to those of us who espouse alternatives to war and military solutions.

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