|By Frank Anastasio (cpe-69-205-141-45.stny.res.rr.com - 22.214.171.124) on Monday, December 12, 2005 - 10:20 am: Edit Post|
After writing and having published a letter to the editor of the local paper in Corning, NY (The Leader) about urging Pres. Bush and Congress to establish a "Rescue Corps," I discovered this article about a Crisis Corps--a great idea.
Here's my proposal:
How might President Bush “redeem” himself? How might he and we Americans improve not just our “image” abroad, but repair our moral standing as well? And how might we begin to heal some of the divisions within our own nation?
A partial but significant measure would be to establish a “Rescue Corps.” Recall the moral impact at home and abroad of Kennedy’s establishing the Peace Corps. Unlike JFK’s Peace Corps (which I served in)--designed to have volunteers live for two years abroad where their skills might improve teaching, farming, etc.—the Rescue Corps would respond to disasters on a shorter term basis in countries with the greatest needs.
This may resemble what some of our military personnel have been doing in aiding victims of the tsunami, of earthquakes and flooding. Right! Consider the good will such efforts create. That’s something we can build on in a more intentional and intensive way to demonstrate humane values in healing a broken world.
And the Rescue Corps could operate at home as well, as we saw in the devastated Gulf States. Such a proposal, instead of causing more divisions in politics (in red vs. blue states, in religious vs. secular constituencies), could foster unity. Furthermore, young men and women searching for an alternative to the traditional military options would have a chance to serve heroically without wounding or killing. In addition, such a proposal could combat the growing cynicism about our government.
The cost? Designating a fraction of the over $500 billion military budget for the Rescue Corps--some of which is already spent for disaster assistance--shouldn’t affect the federal budget.
Please urge our President and Congress to declare soon that a significant segment of our military—working with volunteers from other countries, with the UN, with NGO’s (non government organizations)—will be trained and equipped specifically to rescue people and repair devastated areas around the world. Imagine the substantial and spiritual impact that could have.
And what better time to announce this than during this holy season!
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Corning, NY 14830