|By Joanne Marie Roll (joey) (dialup-184.108.40.206.dial1.denver1.level3.net - 220.127.116.11) on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 9:48 am: Edit Post|
The soldiers who have been in the military, during a time of war, will be loaded with intelligence which would be of prime value to terrorists. Once away from the protection which the military, of necessity, provides, and assigned, in peace corps sites, unarmed and isolated, they will be vulnerable to being captured.
This is some of what soldiers know which would be of value to terrorists: They know how the United States trains soldiers; they know strategies for interacting with civilivans; in specific locations, (Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries with a US military presence) they know the names of civilivans cooperating, perhaps secretly, with US Forces; they know where weapons are stockpiled; they know contingency plans and they know a whole lot more, which we don't know, because it is secret intelligence. Vasquez's letter on how the soldier/PCVs will be handled by Peace Corps does not say that they could not be assigned to Peace Corps sites in the same country where they served as soldiers. That possibility would increase their intelligence value to terrorists.
When the National Call to Service legislation was amended to include Peace Corps, in December of 2002, this country had not yet invaded Iraq and was not in prolonged military engagement in the Middle East, as it is now. The Talliban in Afghanistan had been defeated in a multinational military effort. The military did not look that different from peacetime. Now it is really different.
So called "human intelligence" is critical to both sides. Soldier/PCVs would be walking, talking, computer chips. And if they are captured, what is their status? Would they be considered POWS and covered by the Geneva Convention? Or, in the language of Bush, would other countries be free to call these soldier/PCVs, nonuniformed "enemy combatants" and detain them, indefinitly and torture them for the information they have?
Senator McCain does not understand how the Peace Corps works. When McCain was a POW, his status was clearly defined and he was, according to his books, sustained by the loyalty and support of his fellow Americans who were imprisoned with him. Even then, he admits to giving in under torture.
To say this is not to diminish his bravery or sacrifice. Richard Starr, a PCV who was captured and held captive for three years in Colombia, did not have any contact with other PCVs and the United States government abandoned him; after evidently being able to assure the Colombia government that Starr was not CIA and had not been engaged in any other US governmental activity in country. The US government will NOT be able, honestly, to give such assurance if a soldier/PCV is captured. Plus, Starr didn't know anything. PCVs don't know anything. Soldier/PCVs will know a whole lot.
Those of us who have served our country, either in the Peace Corps or the military, know that power only goes to those who NEVER served and their ignorance is exceeded only by their arrogance. McCain is the exception; but he is a romantic and did not have enough respect for RPCVs to even have consulted them before initiating this legislation. He doesn't have a clue of how and where PCVs work.
This is incredibly stupid policy which will endanger the security of the United States.