27 February 2007

Peaceful Pursuits

In a time of war, it is necessary to concentrate on the effectiveness of peace. Dropping a bomb on someone's head is rarely as effective as digging them a well for clean water. To this end on March 1, 1961 President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order that established the Peace Corps. At the time there was an intense Cold War that could have been fought with totally operational weapons of mass destruction. We even came close with the Cuban Missile Crises in October of the following year.

During the course of his campaign for the presidency in 1960, Kennedy had floated the idea that a new "army" should be created by the United States. This force would be made up of civilians who would volunteer their time and skills to travel to underdeveloped nations to assist them in any way they could.

During the 1960s and 1970s, thousands of Americans-especially young people-flocked to serve in dozens of nations, particularly in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Volunteers often faced privation and sometimes danger, and they were not always welcomed by foreign people suspicious of American motives. Overall, however, the program has been judged a success in terms of helping to "win the hearts and minds" of people in the underdeveloped world. The program continues to function, and thousands of Americans each year are drawn to the humanitarian mission and sense of adventure that characterizes the Peace Corps.

Compare this to our current president who seems to think the way to convince someone of our superior way of life is to threaten their very existence. We can send our young to encourage, build, assist, and support or we can send them to destroy, kill and be killed or maimed in mind or body.

I will leave it to you to decide which President has best served the ideals of the United States:

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