Active military personnel serving in the PC put all PCV's at risk

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 : Director Vasquez says the National Call to Service (NCS) program will not have an impact on the Peace Corps : August 21, 2005: Headlines: Speaking Out: Military: Intelligence Issues: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Washington Post: Colman McCarthy says Welcome Soldiers to the Peace Corps: Active military personnel serving in the PC put all PCV's at risk

By cashdollar ( - on Wednesday, August 24, 2005 - 11:08 am: Edit Post

This is a no brainer if active military personnel begin entering the PC as a part of their service every tom, dick, and harry with a grudge against the US military will target any PCV they can get their hands on, including soldiers. They along with the rest of the PCV's they will be unarmed and often alone, and they will end up dead. End of story. This isn't about respect for those serving in the military, and any suggestion that it is just plain stupid. This is about common sense, if you want to keep PCV's safe you will keep active military personnel out. Once they complete their service they can apply just like everybody else.

By Paul S. Gilbert ( on Wednesday, August 24, 2005 - 6:32 pm: Edit Post

I was in the Navy on active duty from '61 to '63 and then joined the Peace Corps in '64-'66.after completing a Master of Arts in Teaching at Harvard Graduate School of Education. I was in Somalia II.

Although the question never came up in 2 years in Somalia about my being in the Navy, the question came up often as to whether or not I was a spy working for the CIA undercover as a Peace Corps volunteer. My often, I mean about 5 times in 2 years.

Somali people were not then, nor now, xenophobic in asking this question. In 1962, when Ehtiopa and Somalia were in a shooting war (as opposed to a progoganda war) Somalis did correctly identify F-86s while they were bombing Hargeisa, the largest city in the Northern part of Somalia and today the capital of a seperate nation unrecognized by the U.S..

At the time the question was asked, the Peace Corps had a policy which they passed on to volunteers in training that no one with CIA background could apply to be a volunteer in the Peace Corps.
Today, to make this policy effective, we would have to say no one who actively gathered national security should be in the Peace Corps. This is because of the many parts of our Governemnt that now gather national security intelligence.
By the way, I would not extend this prohibition to those gathering economic intelligence to allow these people to serve as volunteers and staff in the Peace Corps.
I concur with others who say that if we allowed CIA persons to serve in the Peace Corps this would make it harder for volunteers to defend themselves in conversation regarding the independence of the Peace Corps from the CIA.
Yes, the debate is not about the CIA, but about the military. This is much tricker for the following reason.
About 35% of the military personnel serve to back up other military personnel. They do not deal with intelligence or secret operations or even fighting on front lines in war situations.
I think these people would have a lot to offer many countries in terms of organizing distribution of goods and services. So I would nmot rule these people out as volunteers or staff or advisors.
In addition, we have many persons in the military who run bases within the U.S. or who work to provide medical services. There skills again would be at a premium for many underdeveloped countries.
What about the persons actually fighting wars? If this policy had been in effect in 1993, I would not have been able to be a volunteer. Here, I am torn. I think that most persons involved in warfare are involved, as I was, with supply ships or planes or trains. Again, I think of them as supporting the military although they are part of the military. I would tend, but here I am being very subjective because of my experience to allow these people into the Peace Corps.
What about persons involved in police work, Homeland Security within U.S.s borders- Again and I think non-subjectivelly, I would allow them to become volunteers also.
So who in the military should be excluded. I think special operations, spy and intelligence duties when these are over 50% of a military persons duty should be excluded.
Sorry for stirring the pot on this issue. But I think the objective at the end of all debate should be for a volunteer or staff member to be able to tell anyone in relation to themselves and their fellow volunteers and staff members that they and all Peace Corps personnel do not include any person involved in fighting wars or in gathering military or economic intelligence.
I would keep the policy of not allowing persons from the military to join within one year of leaving the military- or if that is not policy, I would add that to policy.
I would not count Military Reservist as being in the military unless they had been activated and working for the military within a year of when they began volunteer or staff training.
I would also add to that persons workingt on a contract as a soldier, either clearly or under cover should also not be allowed into the Peace Corp for a year for soldiers and foever for under cover personel.
In addition, I would not have the Peace Corps take on tasks where a major part of the task was to fight drug distribution. I would pass such requests to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Thanks for yuour time.

P.S. If anyone wants to get into an exciting political contest, let me know and I can introduce you to the 48th Congressional District in SW part of Orange County in Newport Beach and South in California.

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.