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  • In that Trump represents crass materialism, values the dollar more than humanity, uses disparaging language to describe people who are different from himself, views the United States as the only country on the planet, caring not a whit for that planet, lies to get his way, I would say that, yes, he represents the new ugly American.

  • Thanks to the efforts and sincerity of thousands of PCVs over the years, I think most of the world’s peoples understand a couple things: 1. That this President hardly represents the American People’s “Better Angels”, and 2. That the government of the US is increasingly losing it’s legitimacy both in terms of those same American People, and of the US Constitution. I think the peoples of the world understand things like this, more than we realize.

    It’s been going on for a long time, and the eventual emergence of someone like Donald Trump, a caricature greedy, self-absorbed, constantly lying, opportunist, is almost expectable in a system not dissimilar in fundamental values. Sounds pretty grim, doesn’t it ?

    There’s a lot of reason the country should be immensely proud of the Peace Corps — first an earlier generation of visionary gov’t leaders who brought it into being, and those thousands who selflessly made it happen. John Turnbull Ghana-3 Geology and Nyasaland/Malawi-2 Geology Assignment

  • Yes, Joanne. The title was a clever play on words. And the grassroots work of Mr Adkins, many believe, provided a model for the founders of the Peace Corps, for what actual PCVs in the field might do.

    I’m always reminded of a quote from another period book, by Naval Intelligence offier in SE Asia, Lt Cmdr William Lederer: “The only thing that ever worked right in Vietnam was when the Marines in I-Corps, tasked with “pacification”, slung their M-16s, sat down with local farmers and village leaders, like Peace Corps Volunteers, and asked what it was that they needed and wanted.” It wasn’t long afterward that the USMC Commandant and command, decided that this war was NOT something the Marine Corps wanted to be involved in. And engineered their pull-out, and in doing so saved the integrity of their outfit. The Army would learn their lesson the hard way.

    Today, with the current fascination with elective wars, we (and Congress) need to go back and read these things. As has been said (I think it was Pres Truman), “Every mistake we make, is another chapter of history we didn’t read.” John Turnbull

  • I was not aware of what John Turnbull says about the Marines. From 1962 to 1964 while in the Peace Corps I was not fully aware of what was happening in Vietnam. Upon my return to the USA I was drafted into the U.S.Army and eventually sent to Vietnam for a year with the First Infantry Division. It didn’t take very long for me to come to the conclusion that Vietnam was a huge mistake. I think the Peace Corps is the most cost-effective part of the US foreign policy budget. I know one Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who (the last time I heard from him) still supports President Trump. I think he is in the minority, but I find it difficult to see how or when we will get beyond the divisiveness that currently exists in our country. This is troubling because I believe nothing less than life on our planet is at stake.

  • The Peace Corps is not relevant as a part of foreign policy. Peace Corps has had Volunteers in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, off and on for well over 50 years. However, when the call is to help these three countries deal with the economic and political crisises which are propelling out-migration and causing a new crisis at our borders, nobody mentions the Peace Corps or its work.

    Why? I believe work of Volunteers has much to offer about what worked and what did not work, economically. However, Peace Corps has virtually no record of those efforts. Peace Corps destroyed its library and much of its history. I don’t know why.

  • Ray D, Thanks for your thoughts. Concerning the USMC, it was the Commandant (Gen Greene, I believe), who in a considered public statement, after the Marine pull-out, bluntly stated: “If anybody thinks that what we’re doing in Vietnam is to prevent Communists crawling up on the beaches of Los Angeles, they’re sadly mistaken.” The remarkable thing was not only the statement itself, by a career officer and Commandant, repudiating gov’t policy, but the fact that the General kept his retirement ! !

    Another quote that stays with me is the comment from a Bird Colonel, TDY to the Selective Service, whom I spoke to after receiving my own induction notice, after returning from the Peace Corps. Listening to my appeal and reasoning, the Colonel, in absolute candor, after thanking me for my PC service, said “The LAST thing they want over there (i.e. Vietnam) is somebody like you. I’ll see what I can do, The decision remains with the draft board, but they usually listen to what we say.” The old man was as good as his word, and together with the efforts of a Reserve Major, I was able to enlist in a National Guard unit, and stay out of ‘Nam. It was the human side of “The Big Green Machine”, which every now and then expressed itself. It would come back again, when my unit was mobilized for riot duty related to the War Protest. John Turnbull

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