In his book, Battle Plan for Peace, General Zinni proposes non-military strategies to achieve ultimate victory – stability. People’s Lobby citizen-initiated American World Service Corps (AWSC) proposed congressional legislation provides the cost-effective winning strategy that builds worldwide stability. It’s our most cost effective investment in reducing terrorism, hatred, ignorance, and poor policies.
General Zinni’s Warriors +
Zinni’s Battle Plan for Peace needs
“We have a choice. We can do all we can to create stability and order in the world. Or we can do nothing, hunker down, and gamble that the instability and chaos out there will not migrate over here – knowing that steel and electronic barricades will never seal our borders.”
Zinni’s words took me back to a youthful visit to
I passed my experiences onto a buddy who actually fought in their jungles for
two years, he responded, “Well, damn,
do you mean, you were where it was dangerous.
I was just in
“Ahh, no. I never felt in real danger.”
“Huh? You were in the jungle, fighting.”
“Look, whenever we’d see someone in the jungle, my master sergeant would say, ‘Too bad that poor son of a bitch has to die today.’”
From his “foxhole view,” General Zinni, in The Battle For Peace, offers a different soldering mindset needed to bring today’s ultimate victory -- stability.
“In 1967 I stepped into an environment radically alien from the
“When I arrived on Easter morning in March I was a naïve, impressionable, twenty-two-year-old second lieutenant. Infantry officers like me all knew that war is about going out and killing the enemy and winning battles. That’s war. That’s success.
“But my assignment as adviser showed me a very different view of this war – and of all wars. I lived with Vietnamese in the field and in the villages; I spoke Vietnamese; I was immersed in their culture; I hardly saw another American.
“From this perspective I saw that military success on the battlefield alone was not going to give us ultimate victory….”
Peace Corps volunteers come to a similar view, developed from working out of different “foxholes.”
Ultimate victory does not come when “nation building” revolves around employing young men as alley thugs and fifteen to sixty year old women as floor cleaners and hookers.
Most parents, rich or poor, have similar desires. They want their children to be happy, healthy, and big hearted. They love seeing them act kindly. They are proud when good grownups smile at their children’s generosity. And they are hopeful that their elder days will be in the caring hands of loving, well-taught children.
They pray their children won’t scavenge for food, sleep in hutments, cry in refugee tents, or gun down others. They want them sharing a disease free, civil, educated society, living under the rule of fair law, amidst a growing, thinking middle class.
today’s bush and urban terror wars, winning kill tallies does not build the
nations parents desire. From Vietnamese
foxholes through posts in the Balkans,
operating out of
“Do you have any pictures of your family in
I pulled out what I had – a picture of my wife and me in front of her parents home. The old lady stared at it, shook her head, and then looked up at me with a deeply penetrating expression.
“Why are you here in
I gave her the standard answer about stopping communism and protecting democracy and our Vietnamese allies.
“But what are you going to do to change things there,” she asked, her hand pointing toward the south.
I thought she had made a mistake – the enemy was to the north. Then I realized she was saying exactly what she meant to say. The government that lurched from coup to coup, replacing one general with another, was as much an enemy to her as the Vietcong and the infiltrators from the north.”
To win 21st century wars, does Zinni tread a path different than that of “sanitizing” the jungle?
...Any military professional who fails to understand the subtle levels
of such dynamics will fail to accomplish the missions our military faces
today. Or else he will simply repeat
A military unit that gets thrown into
Our current war in
“Walk a mile in my shoes…”
Yes, Zinni walks in villagers sandals, not just
military boots. What he advocates fits
with Peoples Lobby's citizen-initiated World Service Corps (WSC) proposed
congressional legislation. From
Kurdistan to the Balkans to
In 1991 Operation
Provide Comfort (in
As I plunged into Provide Comfort, I found myself involved in day-to-day activities and actions that were not 99 to 100 percent military. Instead of a purely military focus, I was now exposed to political, economic, humanitarian, social international agency, NGO issues, media issues. Most of these were outside of military experience, doctrine, and training. We learned what we needed to know on the spot. P69
…we had US agencies such as the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), such as Oxfam, CARE and Doctors without Borders, and a coalition of 13 nations sent military forces.
…And the crisis we expected to handle immediately soon took on a bewildering array of dimensions requiring actions it would require take us months -- even years – to accomplish. We left behind a temporary solution of no-fly zones and security areas that remained in place for twelve years. P71
Drawn from life’s lessons, Zinni envisions the world’s needs well beyond mere military boots and muscle. He sees a “need (for) a counterpart organization to deal with the political, economic, informational, social, humanitarian, and other dimensions of the issues we face.”
The entire world faces a choice: to put in the time, effort, and wisdom necessary to shape an order everyone can live with (as happened in Germany and Japan after World War II), or, to let nature take its course (as happened after World War I, when a near universal failure to take action allowed the Nazi “order” to emerge out of an unstable Germany).
The action needed is not some twenty-first-century rebirth of the White Man's Burden. Our job in the developed world is not to command and direct but to help, support, and empower. And there's a big place in this for every variety of actor: governments, regional organizations, international organizations, NGOs, ad hoc international coalitions, single individuals, groups and organizations within nations … anyone who wants to help, who can work with the others, and who can do the job effectively.
We must think of these actions not as “foreign aid” that tosses billions of dollars down some sinkhole of corruption but as investments in our own security and stability. By helping others--a good in itself--we are also greatly lessening the threats to our own well-being.
“Helping others” and “lessening the threats to our own well-being” is what Peoples Lobby’s citizen-initiated World Service Corps (WSC) proposed congressional legislation does. The congressional proposals at www.WorldServiceCorps.us offer the “stability” building service solutions the general advocates, and the world needs.
If the WSC proposals were enacted in the next Congress, each year for the next seven years approximately 140,000 Americans would voluntarily choose to serve in their choice of 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 one million American World Service Corps members of all ages, or less than .6th of 1% of those aged 20-60+, would annually serve for a year or two at home or abroad. After 20 years, Congress could consider sun setting it.
Yes, our soldiers need the best Kevlar vests even if retailing at $1600, armored humvees at $150,000, and F23s at $153 million each. But if we built hundreds of thousands more Habitat Global Village homes for $600 to $8,000 each, stateside homes for less than $60,000 each, wouldn’t the world be stronger and safer? Wouldn’t we then need fewer vests, bombs, and amputees?
too many of our dedicated soldiers suffering, terrorists being recruited,
refugees scavenging, nations stumbling into instability, isn’t it time for
· Move a large all-star team of Americans off the couch and into the classroom of world needs?
· Develop calluses building their nation, the world’s nations, and their firsthand view of the warming global village?
· Inspire other nations to emulate our robust American World Service Corps (AWSC) with their own World Service Corps?
wouldn’t have lost so much blood, life, and money in
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.
citizens of the world: ask not what
General Zinni is right. Ultimate victory comes in building stability. And Sargent Shriver, the Peace Corps first Director, was right.
If the Pentagon’s map is more
urgent, the Peace Corp’s is, perhaps, in the long run the most important. What happens in