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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

 

Intelligence Counts
By Duayne Hunn


   In preemptively attacking one of today's many hapless and evilly run global villages, our intelligence was inadequate. Either we stop myopically invading too few countries too late with too few, or continued dumb warfare will dismantle America's comfortable life style, or empire.
   Pundits consistently remind us that effectively winning preemptive wars, meaning without excessive human and resource costs, requires more people on the ground who speak the language and think unconventionally.  Such unconventional guerrilla thinking comes from Americans thinking from the cultural perspective of the global villages invaded. It means understanding the mind of their disparate peoples. It means connecting with those people, which doesn't mean relying solely on often unreliable bribed spies.
   We lacked that intelligence because this administration did not listen to or include sandaled Rambos who spoke, worked, or learned the unconventional-to-us thinking of those invaded global villages.  Those setting American policy have big-time, conglomerating corporate experience. Their experience is akin to that which King George's court had when they brilliantly sent troops to clean up insurgent America's oily tea party.
   Many, who today push sending our soldiers to die, be maimed, and psychologically scarred in Iraq, were among those who long hindered foreign aid strategies and sending an army that would have bloodlessly buried those who are today's raving terrorists.
   Maintaining each of today's 1.4 million soldiers costs $297,000, without factoring in roughly $250+ billion of supplemental Iraq and Afghanistan appropriations and soaring later pension and medical costs.  Fielding each of today's 7,733 Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in 72 countries costs $40,000, and they do not burden future budgets with pension or medical costs.
   The last time a PCV worked in terrorist laden Pakistan was 1967. From 1961-67, only 462 worked in agriculture, health, and rural development in both East (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan.
   The last time a PCV worked in Osama's Afghanistan haven was 1979.  From 1962-1979, only 1,739 worked in education and health.
   The last time a PCV worked in going-nuclear, fundamentalist dominated Iran was 1976.  From 1962-1976, only 1,863 worked in agriculture, education and engineering.
   A PCV has never served in "evil" spheres such as Iraq, North Korea or Cuba; or in beads of "holiness" like Palestine or Israel.
   In North Africa and the Middle East, PCVs have only served in Morocco and Jordan.  A count of heads from Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan totals well over a half billion. Yearly, since 1961, an average of only 184 PCVs have worked amidst them or one for each 84,000, among whom America's motives are increasingly questioned.
   Since 1961 only 178,000 PCVs have served, far from the yearly million Kennedy envisioned serving throughout the world from 1970 onward.
   Had visionary leadership pushed Americans to order our elected employees into invading today's trouble spots with millions of cost effective National Service PCVs, we wouldn't today be grieving over dead and maimed brave Americans. We wouldn't be staring over the fiscal and trade deficits cliffs that portends the fall of America's ascendancy.
   Working and traveling the world provides a truer world understanding than does that proclaimed by corporate super-sizers, bookish Ph.D.s, and spinners.
   Continued over-reliance on leadership with little first-hand knowledge of the world's urban jungles and struggling villages, portends more painful burdens for the world's - and America's-poor and middle classes. 
   A growing and educated middle class builds democracy and prosperity.  Inadequate intelligence shrinks such healthy options. Intelligence counts.

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