The breaking news this afternoon is that the U.S. is planning to send hundreds of additional diplomats and civilian officials to Afghanistan…all part of the new post-Bush “civil-military” regional strategy that President Obama security advisers have scripted and now waits the president’s signature.
Okay, where are the “hundreds, if not thousands” of additional Peace Corps Volunteers that Candidate Obama promised to send overseas as soon as he got elected?
Remember, President Obama, you said you would double the number of PCVs to 16,000. Well, if the current cuts to the agency hold, based on the Omnibus Bill for 2009, the Peace Corps will eliminate 500 positions, dropping the number of new PCVs below 3,500. This is at a time when 22 + nations–including Indonesia, Sierra Leone, and Colombia–are asking for Volunteers.
President Obama, the Peace Corps isn’t just a scribbled name in the margin of some paper on regional strategy for the United States. The Peace Corps has been the best face of America for nearly 50 years. Do better than Bush. Keep your promise to enlarge the agency. The Peace Corps is not part of your foreign policy problem; it is part of your solution.
As an ex-community organizer, you should be well aware of what men and women, PCVs living, working, and making friends in the villages of the world, can do for America.
Keep the faith. Keep the Peace Corps strong.