2006.03.02: March 2, 2006: Headlines: COS - Morocco: Protest: Speaking Out: Ashland Daily Tidings: The Ashland Daily Tidings has issued a request for all internal and external Peace Corps communication pertaining to the service, or lack thereof, of Derek Volkar

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Morocco: Peace Corps Morocco : The Peace Corps in Morocco: February 13, 2006: Headlines: COS - Morocco: Protest: Speaking Out: Ashland Daily Tidings: Derek Volkart takes out his anger through helping others in Morocco : 2006.03.02: March 2, 2006: Headlines: COS - Morocco: Protest: Speaking Out: Ashland Daily Tidings: The Ashland Daily Tidings has issued a request for all internal and external Peace Corps communication pertaining to the service, or lack thereof, of Derek Volkar

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-186-164.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.186.164) on Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 11:03 am: Edit Post

The Ashland Daily Tidings has issued a request for all internal and external Peace Corps communication pertaining to the service, or lack thereof, of Derek Volkar

The Ashland Daily Tidings has issued a request for all internal and external Peace Corps communication pertaining to the service, or lack thereof, of Derek Volkar

"... the inconsistency of the official Peace Corps position is troubling at best, and knee-jerk extremism at worst. Mr. Volkart is deemed unfit to serve in Morocco, but instead offered another assignment on the Pacific Islands? If heís unfit, heís unfit. Are we less concerned about how Pacific Islanders view America than we are Moroccans?"

"We want to see for ourselves why a critic of the Bush administration is not fit to proudly serve the United States of America on a mission of peace and environmental advocacy overseas. "


The Ashland Daily Tidings has issued a request for all internal and external Peace Corps communication pertaining to the service, or lack thereof, of Derek Volkar

Strange sage with Peace Corps begs explanation

Caption: Ashland painter and carpenter Derek Volkartís decision to join the Peace Corps as an environmental volunteer in Morocco was cemented by the U.S. governmentís policies both at home and abroad. Photo: Orville Hector | Ashland Daily Tidings

If there is a better way to prove those completely distrustful of the present administration correct, it is hard to fathom right now. Because the Peace Corpsí decision to rescind an offer to send Ashlandís Derek Volkart to Morocco smacks, on the surface anyway, of every allegation of autocratic dictatorial control made by folks since the stolen election of 2000.

Isnít this still America, where freedom of speech and the right of every voter to hold elected officials accountable serve as twin foundations to the tenets of our democracy? Have American leaders become so concerned about propaganda that a single Peace Corps volunteer, critical of the present Bush administration is a threat to our countryís image? One would expect such tactics from behind the Iron Curtain of the 1970s, not America circa 2006.

Thomas Jefferson, the man who believed upheaval (he used the word ďrevolutionĒ) is necessary to keep democracy on track, is surely rolling over in his grave. Are we really to believe that one outspoken critic from Ashland is enough of a threat to warrant being removed from his Peace Corps assignment, just days before he is to leave for a two-year volunteer hitch overseas?

We know this is not as clear cut as it seems on the surface. Many Peace Corps veterans will say you donít allow yourself to be quoted offering harsh criticism of American policy. Since our story ran, they have been critical of Mr. Volkartís comments. Peace Corps guidelines are quite specific about conduct while on assignment, but, at least from the scant information we have gotten from the Peace Corps officials so far, the matter is less clear when it comes to actions prior to starting an assignment. Still, some would argue that Mr. Volkart was trying to stir the pot and got the comeuppance he was vying for.

Even so, the inconsistency of the official Peace Corps position is troubling at best, and knee-jerk extremism at worst. Mr. Volkart is deemed unfit to serve in Morocco, but instead offered another assignment on the Pacific Islands? If heís unfit, heís unfit. Are we less concerned about how Pacific Islanders view America than we are Moroccans?

Perhaps more of this story exists and the Peace Corps has a better explanation than what they are giving us to report. But, until we see such evidence, the entire strange saga smacks of a systemic problem throughout all things federal right now. This type of leadership has implications for all Americans and at all levels of public service.

We want to know more about this episode in the hope it tells us a little more about just how things are run back in Washington, D.C. The Ashland Daily Tidings has issued a request for all internal and external Peace Corps communication pertaining to the service, or lack thereof, of Derek Volkart. We want to see for ourselves why a critic of the Bush administration is not fit to proudly serve the United States of America on a mission of peace and environmental advocacy overseas.





When this story was posted in March 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:


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Slavery was once called "the peculiar institution," but a better candidate for this title may be the Peace Corps. Current geopolitics make this a good time to probe Peace Corps' peculiarity, as prelude to a long overdue reconceptualization of what is arguably the most underused federal entity. An imaginatively reinvented Peace Corps could powerfully promote US interests in a period when perceptions of American motives are increasingly relevant to global realignment.

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Story Source: Ashland Daily Tidings

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Morocco; Protest; Speaking Out

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