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How to prepare for disasters

Marin Independent Journal                             

MARIN VOICE                                September 23, 2005

Dwayne Hunn

Another Katrina will happen.  Another earthquake will.  With Mother Nature stuff happens, and you can’t always avoid it.  However, you can competently and humanely temper its aftermath.

Another Iraq and Vietnam may happen.  Another extremist act may.  With politics and policies, stuff happens.  However, you can avoid a lot of stupid policies from becoming bloody economic disasters.

Ø      How?  By making Americans and the world smarter.

Ø      How do we do that?  Give Americans a visionary program in which a significant number serve, share, understand, learn, and teach their young.  From that, America grows a super majority of smarter citizens.  That super majority then votes America away from stupid, costly mistakes that cost us dearly in blood and economy.

Ø      What is that vision?  It’s the citizen-initiated World Service Corps proposed in Congress.

If passed in Congress this year, the proposed laws would annually ramp up America’s best resource until by the sixth year one million Americans, or .6 of 1% of those aged 20 – 60-plus, would voluntarily serve in their choice of the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, Head Start, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, OxFam, State Conservation Corps, etc.

Why would Americans volunteer to do the WSC?  Because Americans enjoy serving, like playing on great teams, and prefer building over wrecking.  In addition, the proposed legislation would offer simple, cost effective federal financial incentives to volunteers.

Upon completing service, WSC members would receive two years of community plus two years of state college tuition, equivalent educational loan pay off, or equivalent investment in Medical or IRA Accounts, which would be transferable to family relatives.  This updated mini GI Educational Bill of Rights gives the do-good governmental and non-governmental organizations the mix of enthusiastic, experienced, can-do Americans, aged 18 – 60+, who make the world safer and better.

In less dangerous and testing times, John Kennedy wanted the Peace Corps to put a million PCVs into the world.  Then, he felt, it would become a significant force bettering the world and America.  Today, one ofAmerica’s best and most cost effective programs has only about 177,000 returning Peace Corps volunteers.  The World Service Corps proposals legislate a million of our most cost effective resources into dealing with and learning from world and domestic problems.  It does so at a total (stipend plus incentives) annual cost less than 1/10th what it costs to maintain each of our military personnel, which is soaring past $500,000 each when supplemental and off-budget costs are added.  What a huge, long run cost and blood savings bargain.

Sure, a million WSC members physically improve the world.  They do so by working shoulder-to-shoulder with the world that wants to idolize them.  Perhaps more importantly, they enlighten the world’s superpower, whose steps can improve or destroy chunks of the world, by directly exposing Americans to global village needs.

Only about 15% of Americans take out passports.  Many of them have corporate or Club Med world experiences.  The WSC exposes more Americans to the classroom of world needs, so that their voting decisions are based on real life experiences, rather than on forgettable TV designed for couch potatoes.

The WSC raises America’s political and policymaking IQ.  That, then, keeps American voters from stumbling into shortsighted, costly, or bloody policies that we could avoid by pursuing visionary, practical, cost-effective policies.

Imagine, if the WSC had been running for years.  Its incentives would have inspired more states to start Conservation Corps.  The day Katrina struck thousands of those new and expanded state Conservation Corps, plus thousands of Red Cross, Americorps, Habitat, Doctors Sans Borders, International Rescue Committee, etc., volunteers would have been moving into Mississippi and Louisiana, with or without a Federal Emergency Management Agency passport.

We need peaceful, productive Special Forces to handle today’s special needs, as well as to reduce terrorist recruitment.

The World Service Corps www.worldservicecorps.us needs your local and national support.  Before the next hurricane or earthquake, before the next terrorist act, citizens need to enlighten local, state, and federal politicians, so they will enact the WSC legislation to send a million can-do Americans into our and the world’s classroom of needs.


Dwayne Hunn of Mill Valley is executive director of People’s Lobby and sponsor of the World Service Corps proposals.  He served in the Peace Corps.

An army of volunteers for peace

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Marin Independent Journal – Marin Voice

Dwayne Hunn

Dwayne Hunn, IJ

Osama, Saddam and their followers are bad actors and will get what they deserve, probably mostly from our superb military.

In the meantime, it would be healthy to hear politicians, opinion leaders and parties lay out a  long-term solution to the terror these actors breed, before we get too deeply entwined in war’s bloody human and financial costs.  The solution lies in a Sargent’s quote:

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.

In the 60’s and 70’s then New York Senator Jacob Javits proposed a peace army of a million young men. Labor leaders advocated an overseas service corps of 100,000. The Peace Corps’ first Deputy Director, Warren Wiggins, said a Peace Corps of 30,000 — 100,000 was needed.

The Peace Corps mean budget from 1965-69 was $108,000,000, with its mean number of Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in the field numbering 13,947 with a mean cost per volunteer of $7,743.

On the other hand, for that same period the Vietnam War Budget was $16,260,000,000. The mean number of soldiers we kept in Viet Nam was 413,300. The MEAN cost per soldier was $39,370.

If just ten percent of the Vietnam War budget, $1,626,000,000, had been put into the Peace Corps budget to get Americans to work “the toughest job you’ll ever love that REALLY does good,” then an additional 209,996 mean Peace Corps volunteers could have served during that period.

Imagine if we had continued inspiring 55,000 American volunteers each year to serve in countries where clean water doesn’t run easily, chalk boards are luxuries, people house themselves in mud, clay and cow dung padded walls, education is treasured, health and food is too often wanting.

Instead, since its 1961 inception only slightly over 150,000 PCVs have served in over 130 nations.

Had our Army of over two million PCVs already served in the field, do you think international newspapers would be lambasting America on its pages?  Would readers buy it? Would Osama bin Laden and his cells have risen in such a world?

Maybe.  But having been a Peace Corps volunteer as well as a Global Village Habitat for Humanity homebuilder working near the struggling masses, I think not. Even most ivory towered policy wonks would probably agree.

Yet, where on the political hustings, on the forums provided for perceived leaders, do you hear even some of them planting visions of common sense, of marshalling good-doers to address the sufferings of the world.

The lines drawn between long suffering masses and terrorists and comfortable, arrogant Americans are short, and getting shorter.

The line eraser is not a stealth bomber or more technically armed Special Forces.  The eraser cleans when you build what an American Peace Army does – builds relationships, schools, sanitation systems, small farms and businesses.

Sarge Shriver was right, in the long run the Peace Corps map of the world is more important.  Today’s world reminds us how much more his words needed heeding.

Edwin Markham was one of John Kennedy’s favorite poets.  One of Kennedy’s favorite Markham poems was:

Why build these cities beautiful,

If man unbuilded goes.

In vain we build the world,

Unless the builder also grows.

Some brother-in-laws think alike.  Their vision of a vastly expanded Peace Corps is what today’s unbuilded global village needs.  Building a life for one’s loved ones forges a sense of pride, and that builds villages and cities beautiful.

It’s what two visionary leaders preached.  It’s what isn’t pushed enough today.


Mill Valley resident, Dwayne Hunn, is field director for the National Initiative for Democracy Campaign, a proposed process to empower all Americans with law making capabilities. Hunn served in the Peace Corps Mumbai, India.


A U.S.-Soviet Peace Corps IJ Editorial

In 1989 the Marin Independent Journal gave this Editorial endorsement to the American Soviet (or United States-Soviet) Peace Corps Proposal.

Marin IJ's endorsement "to increase understanding."
Marin IJ’s endorsement “to increase understanding.”

Wednesday, December 13, 1989 Marin Independent Journal



 A U.S.-Soviet Peace Corps

IN 1961, President John F. Kennedy did something visionary: he created the Peace Corps to export American exper­tise to those nations of the world strug­gling to keep up with the demands of the 20th century.

Today, Novato resident  Dwayne Hunn holds another vision: an American-Soviet Peace Corps that will bring together people from the two most powerful nations on Earth to work as teams on worthwhile pro­jects in undeveloped nations. Rep. Barbara Boxer, D-Greenbrae, has introduced a reso­lution in the House supporting the idea.

The goals of each organization would be similar: to foster interpersonal bonds, to teach us about the Soviets and them about us, and to make it far harder for the people of either nation to harbor hatred for each other based on ignorance.

Hunn’s American-Soviet Peace Corps would be a good way to increase understand­ing between our two nations and to make sure the Cold War retreats into the dimness of history, never to return.


Erase below…

Click & read:  United States-Soviet Peace Corps     IJ-editorial-ASPC89 as pdf.