Marin Independent Journal, December 25, 2006
Leading the world by example
HOW SHOULD we behave as a nation? This is what Andy Rooney had to say on "60 Minutes" on Sept. 10:
"Americans are puzzled over why so many people hate us. We seem so nice to ourselves. They do hate us though. We know that and we're trying to protect ourselves with more weapons.
"We have to do it, I suppose, but it might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn't make so many people in the world want to kill us."
ago, terrorists trained in
Are we winning hearts and minds? Well, polls show more than 80 percent of the people in those nations hate our policies.
Obviously, Rambo didn't win hearts, except maybe in a couch potato's mind.
What if, instead of macho movies, we exported our best resources? Can-do, nation-building Yanks?
What is our tally sheet for sending real teams, rather than film crews, to win hearts and minds? Since its 1961 inception, Peace Corp volunteers who have served in:
Habitat Global Village Homes built since its inception in 1976:
¨ In your
God's playful creativity, decades ago he birthed you in
¨ Over those decades, 100,000 Americans, rather than 2,217, had built better homes for you and your neighbors, helped diversify crop production, taught in schools, grew micro businesses and addressed medical needs.
world's mightiest military power had flexed those muscles. Would
you now admire
Today, proposed legislation would create that smart behavior in large multiples through the American World Service Corps.
If enacted by Congress, each year for the next seven years, about 140,000 Americans would voluntarily choose to serve in the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, Head Start, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, OxFam, Mercy Corps, State Conservation Corps, etc. By the seventh year, 1 million AWSC members of all ages, or less than 1 percent of those aged 20 to 60-plus, would annually serve for a year or two at home or abroad. (Details are at www.WorldServiceCorps.us)
It is time
to push this new Congress to support the American World Service Corps
There are many possible benefits from such a program. Other nations might implement their own World Service Corps. Imagine, international teams in friendly competition building nations rather than bombing them.
That would help nations understand the words of the Greek slave Aesop: "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
The American World Service Corps is a cost-effective program that the world, our nation and our military must quickly implement. Delaying implementation increases the risk that we will fight World War III from extremists' caves and the super-rich's high-tech bunkers, while the world struggles to survive amid the deadly diseases of ignorance and weapons of mass destruction.
the benefit if, for the past 30 years, a million Americans serving annually
had exemplified our nation's behavior. All those
children who had been educated, homes that had been built and sick who had
been cared for would not let terror camps sprout up in their healthy lands. And all those experienced volunteers would have made
Andy Rooney is right. The world can't wait for us to behave.
Dwayne Hunn of