Did we torture?
Does torture produce solid info, made-up stories, lies, or complex stuff that needs dangerous on-the- ground verifying?
How F_ _ _ing expensive is all that stuff --- stealth helicopters, foreign bought fuel, fortified worldwide military camps and embassies, bullet proof embassy cars, star wars suits, night goggles, laser guns, drones, spies, spying gadgetry, post service trauma aid for the troops who we send into overt and covert conflicts?
Is there a less costly way to make heroes and the world safer for democracy?
Decades back, when my fellow Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs) worked in Pakistan (1961-67) and Afghanistan (1962-79), they didn't worry about bikers stopping them with guns shouting "No white faces here." If a PCV wanted to know more about someone or some situation, you sat or squat over a pot of tea or food.
The always polite natives would want to provide tea or food in their humble home or neighborhood shop. It seemed like everyone -- rich or poor -- wanted to drink tea or dine with a PCV. And the situation you were trying to learn about stemmed around getting to know a distant neighbor or making life better. It was not about prying into the deadly dangerous for thirty dark, malicious reasons.
Then US taxpayers wouldn't have had to buy foreigners a Lamborghini to get a phone number. Foreigners didn't "Hate us for our freedoms." They liked us, because we were fabled Americans who served and lived with them trying to make human life a little better. They didn't see us as Viet Nam napalmers, Iraqi missilers, or Israeli droners.
No, we were part of Kennedy's Kiddie Corps and could safely serve just about anywhere. And his inaugural words that birthed the Peace Corps seemed to be known or understood around the world.
"My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
As his first Peace Corps Director, brother-in-law Sarge Shriver understood, decades before we got into our subsequent phony wars and military messes, how over-reliance on military solutions just further hastens our economic and moral decline. As Shriver said,
"If the Pentagon's map is more urgent, the Peace Corp's is, perhaps, in the long run the most important..... What happens in India, Africa, and South America -- whether the nations where the Peace Corps works succeed or not -- may well determine the balance of peace."
Back then JFK envisioned and seemed to have inspired a nation to get behind him in quickly getting a million Americans involved in helping build more builders and a better world.
"Those peoples in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required"
Then JFK's vision was erasing the Ugly American image. His Camelot would have had tens of millions of Americans peacefully serving over the decades, and would have given life to his words"
"The energy, the faith and the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it, and the glow from that fire can truly light the world."
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