June 8, 2007

The Next Children's Crusade

In the thirteenth century, the fabled (and almost certainly mythical) Children's Crusade set out to bring peace to the Holy Land. According to the legend, a young boy proselytized throughout central Europe that Jesus had told him in a vision that an army of pure children could liberate Jerusalem just by showing up, and that the waters of the Mediterranean would part to greet them when they arrived in Italy. They set out in boats instead, sail to Tunisia -- where they all get sold into slavery and are never heard from again, even in legend.

One might think that anyone relying on this kind of strategy 800 years later would automatically discredit himself as a leader. However, John Edwards thinks this is a better way to fight terror than actually fighting terror:

Senator Edwards is outlining a new national security strategy that hinges on the creation of a 10,000-person civilian peace corps to stem the tide of terrorism in weak and unstable countries.

Mr. Edwards's plan, which he presented in Manhattan yesterday, comes less than a week after he called President Bush's war on terror a "bumper sticker slogan" and said the current national security strategy has not made America safer. ...

The plan Mr. Edwards presented yesterday — which he dubbed "A Strategy to Shut Down Terrorists and Stop Terrorism Before It Starts" — calls for a 10,000-person "Marshall Corps" to deal with issues ranging from worldwide poverty and economic development to clean drinking water and micro-lending. He said investing in those areas would shore up weak nations and help ensure that terrorism does not take root there. That, he said, would allow the country to stop potential terrorists before they even join the ranks.

There are "thousands committed to violence" today, he said, and America needs to use all of its tools to go after them. But he said millions more people are "sitting on the fence" about whether to join those ranks. "We have to offer them a hand to our side instead of a shove to the other side of that fence," he said.

Mr. Edwards proposed creating a Cabinet-level position to oversee the initiative, which he said would require international allies.

It's the Peace Corps under another name. That's not a bad thing; after all, the Peace Corps did good work in helping make life easier in small ways for destitute peoples. It has done little to stem the rise of terror, mostly because it isn't designed to do that.

And, in fact, George Bush has already pledged to double the number of Peace Corps volunteers who go abroad. The number is already over the 10,000 Edwards wants for his "Marshall Corps", and funding has increased significantly already since the 9/11 attacks. But even at its height of 15,000 volunteers abroad in 1966, those volunteers served in 44 nations, or roughly 360 per country, which won't do much to alleviate the conditions for terrorism in the nations afflicted by it.

Why? Primarily, terrorism stems from political oppression and radical Islamist theology. The Peace Corps, or Edwards' redundant Marshall Corps, would do little for the former and would likely aggravate the latter. Poverty doesn't have much to do with terrorism, as terrorists today prove. Most of them come from educated classes, with the exception of the saps they get to carry out suicide attacks. The main leaders of al-Qaeda and most of the 9/11 attackers all came from either middle-class or wealthy families and had been well-educated.

Ten thousand people dedicated to clean water, worldwide poverty, and economic development won't make a dent. Ten million people dedicated to those missions might have a chance of changing some conditions on the ground on a wide enough area to help prevent some local frustrations throughout the world from turning violent. Even then, what it does is to help perpetuate the bad political situation in these nations by giving the regimes a safety valve for the kinds of conditions that could help bring real political change. It's the kind of foreign aid that sounds good in the short term but which does real damage in the long term.

John Edwards keeps trying to show us that he is not a serious candidate. This Children's Crusade should cinch that.


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» Peace Corps Part II from The American Mind
Summertime means movies, many of which are sequels. John Edwards wants to get into the act with a sequel of his own emulating President John Kennedy’s Peace Corps: The plan Mr. Edwards presented yesterday — which he dubbed “A Strategy to ... [Read More]

» John Edwards' Not so Brilliant Plan to Stop Terrorism from No More Spin
Yesterday in New York, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards gave a speech in which he outlined part of his plan to stop terrorism. His plan: a new initiative similar to the Peace Corps that would help in areas such as global poverty and ...... [Read More]

» Lather, Rinse, Repeat on Terrorism from bRight & Early
John LRR™ Edwards has outlined a six point plan discussing how his administration would handle the problem of terrorism. ... [Read More]

Comments (30)

Posted by Cybrludite [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 8, 2007 6:32 AM

The (D) after his name cinched it for me...

Posted by mikey | June 8, 2007 6:37 AM

Since Edwards is not going to be President, he can still create this Corps and be the first to volunteer, go overseas, and win them all over.

Posted by JSFM | June 8, 2007 6:39 AM

Incisive commentary, Cybrludite. Keep up the good work.

Where the Marshall Corps is concerned, Mr. Morrissey address the PR aspects of the problem. Maybe we can't heal the world with 10,000 more people, but wouldn't it be justifiably good for our image to have more Americans visible abroad than just those in fatigues? An active military is important, but a charitable nation is more likely to be viewed as friendly than a violent one.

Posted by jeff | June 8, 2007 6:47 AM

Edwards is a tool, and the numbers he proposes are too small to do anything, but he is right about one thing. Terrorist entities like Hizb'Allah, Hamas, etc., win over folks that would otherwise not be pro-terror/radical Islamic organizations by providing needed social services and governmental services they don't get elsewhere.

Look at the Black Panthers and their free breakfast program. Tremendous recruiting tool. So, it's not completely bogus that providing services in lieu of the terrorists helps stem the creation of new terrorists.

The problem lies in that we should be helping legitimate local parties/NGOs do it, so folks start trusting their own, rather than going to the Islamic nutjobs. They may never trust us, but we can help keep them away from the terrorists.

Posted by Fausta | June 8, 2007 6:55 AM

My worry would be that a group of Peace/Marshall Corps Americans would be prime targets as hostages. If I remember correctly, the Peace Corps had to withdraw from Colombia and parts of Mexico because of the hostage "industry".

Also, I know for a fact that all Peace Corps personnel were evacuated from Kyrgyzstan immediately following 9/11 due to similar concerns.

Posted by Joe Doe | June 8, 2007 6:59 AM

While I find it hard to say anything positive about the current president, to say that "the current national security strategy has not made America safer" is just another political spit in the face of reality. It is the cost that I believe to be too high - somehow, I also think this is a $ deal between the Bush dynasty and the Saudi equivalent - to keep the terror out of the mainlad USA for as long as $ are being made by both families.

I cannot wait for the peace corp to be formed - a sure way to get rid of lunatics. Just add a provision that wold the peace efforts fail, USA will respect the sovereignty of those parties that are being helped by the corp peace.

Posted by docjim505 | June 8, 2007 7:02 AM

Cap'n Ed wrote:

That's not a bad thing; after all, the Peace Corps did good work in helping make life easier in small ways for destitute peoples. It has done little to stem the rise of terror, mostly because it isn't designed to do that.

I suppose I am tarring with far to wide a brush, but I knew a girl who was in the Peace Corps in Latin America during the late '80s / early '90s. I was much interested and asked what she and the Peace Corps had done down there. Build bridges? No. Roads? No. Schools? No. Clean water wells? No. Well, what DID you do?

Passed out condoms and pamphlets on birth control.

At about the same time, I knew an Army Reserve officer who'd been to Latin America. His outfit DID build roads, bridges and schools.

I don't say that the idea of the Peace Corps is totally bogus, but it seems to me that, in order for such a thing to be effective, it must DO something other than send untrained young Americans off to live in squalor and try to impress the locals with how nice we Americans actually are.

And as for terrorists, here's MY plan:

1. Kill terrorists.

2. Destroy the governments that provide support and backing for them.

3. Strongly (ahem) encourage repressive nations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt that seem to breed terrorists to mend their ways.

4. Work with other countries to shut down terrorist money trails and root out terrorist organizations.

5. See #1 above.

Posted by Dale in Atlanta | June 8, 2007 7:04 AM

A very nice piece of analysis Capt't, well done!

Too bad you can't convince the Leftists in this country, including John Edwards of your views!

Just some things to keep in mind:

a) I lived overseas during the 60's & 70's with "Peace Corps" volunteers; never more of a radical bunch of 60's flower children, did you ever see. In fact, they did more damage to American-Host Country relationships, than they helped the people building wells and schools. They inserted themselves into local politics, used drugs, preached beatnik and flower-children philosophies, and generally made complete and utter asses of themselves. In fact, they were kicked out of several countries I lived in, just because of things like that, and the general disrespect they brought on themselves, and the United States. One of the major problems with institutions such as the CIA and State Department today, is that these 60's Peace Corps radicals, later got haircuts, put suits on, and gravitated towards upper echelon positions in the CIA and State Department, but they never ditched their roots in radicalism, socialism, and Anti-Americanism; just one of the many reason why those two particular institutions are complete and utter fraud til lthis day!

2) You are so correct on the education -level of the Jihadis. I have this argument all the time, with Leftists, when they spout their typical meme: "America's economic oppression of the whole world, causes terrorism!" That red-herring can easily be disproved with one simple question: "Where are all the Haitian Homicide Bombers and Terrorists???"

Haiti has been an economic basketcase for 200+ years! One of the poorest countries in the world, continually. Ergo, IF "poverty creates terrorism", where are all the Haitian Homicide Bombers and Terrorists attacking the United States??

The fact is, if you take a look at the list of 50 poorest countries in the world 50 poorest countries in the world, you'll see that the only ones to produce Homicide Bombers and Terrorists who attack the United States, are the ones that are either a) Muslim or b) have significant Muslim populations or c) have had citizens who converted to "Islam" from them!

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....wonder what that "trend" signifies!

3) Finally Captn, the Radical Islamic Theology that you write about, has a name!

It's called Salafism and it has a THOUSAND year Plus history, within Islam, of producing radicals, Anti-Western/Anti-Christian leaders/Imams, and you're readers need to educate themselves as to exactly what it is, that we face.

Anyone, with 2 brain cells to rub together, will then realize that it wasn't "Bush" that created these murdering terrorists, it wasn't the Iraq War that created them, it wasn't "American" that created thim; it a ONE THOUSAND year old Theology, that has no intention of stopping, unless we destroy it!

Posted by mikey | June 8, 2007 7:12 AM

If you were in the Peace Corps, you cannot work for the CIA. Now the State Department...

Posted by bulbasaur | June 8, 2007 7:24 AM

If he wins the election and this farce becomes reality, can we can at least bring out its inner poignancy by insisting the little tots wear blue helmets?

The real peace corp is the United States Armed Forces.

Works every time it's tried.

Posted by Dale in Atlanta | June 8, 2007 7:40 AM

mikey: that's funny, I know people who did both; I'm curious where you got that piece of information?

Is it US Law?

If so, could you please cite it, because I know I know people who did both, so please point me towards that?

Posted by Anthony (Los Angeles) | June 8, 2007 7:41 AM

And I'm sure Edwards will pick Dennis Kucinich to lead this visionary effort, as part of the new "Department of Peace."

Are there any adults left in the Democratic Party leadership?

Posted by Papa Ray | June 8, 2007 7:43 AM

The result of Edward's plan would more likely be thousands of kidnappings of his "force", and thousands of potential converts to Islam.

Not to mention thousands murdered.

The only thing Islamic nations are agreeable to is more money from the infidels. If we built schools, they would allow only boys and teach them to hate the very ones that built the schools.

Islam is the enemy. Edward's socialist plan would do nothing to make them like us. The only thing they want is for us to be subservient, pay their "taxes" like good little slaves or convert and join their effort to make Islam the one and only religion.

I vote we give any assistance to Mexico, make them clean up their government and nation, help them build their economy, put their people to work (in Mexico) build their social programs, stop corruption and kill all of those involved in the drug trade.

I also vote that all wars in South America be waged by proxy. We have much more money than Warriors.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Posted by rbj | June 8, 2007 7:58 AM

One of the complaints of the terrorists (and of the whole anti-American Left) is that the US is arrogant and seeks to impose our values on the rest of the world. Seems to me that Edwards' proposal would just add more fuel to the flames. The Sept. 11 hijackers mostly came from Saudi Arabia -- not a "weak" government.
Just more proof that John Edwards should not be given sharp scissors, much less any political office.

I like docjim505's plan.

Posted by azlibertarian | June 8, 2007 8:48 AM

Am I the only one imagining that Edwards' "Marshall Corps" would attract all our Rachel Corrie's?

Posted by LarryD | June 8, 2007 8:50 AM

<fantasy>Draft "progressives" into this "Marshall Corps" and ship them to Gaza. For a Year.</fantasy>

Posted by mikey | June 8, 2007 9:05 AM

Dale, it was on the application when I worked there from '89-'98. I doubt there is a law covering it but there are obvious personal safety reasons you don't want former Peace Corps volunteers in the CIA and vice versa.

Posted by Brad | June 8, 2007 9:31 AM

Memo to National Idiot (Edwards):
Islam breeds terrorists.

Posted by Dale in Atlanta | June 8, 2007 9:47 AM

mikey: that's very interesting!

I filled out several applications for them as well; and I will repeat, I do in fact, know people who have worked for both the CIA & PC, and PC & State Department!

That's a very interesting comment.

Hmmmmm, I'll do some checking, ask a few people; I understand the thrust of your comment, and yes, it makes sense, obviously; but I'm wondering how long that has been in effect, if it was mostly for the time period you were there; if the people I knew were in BEFOREHAND, etc.1

Interesting, IF I find something out on that, I'll post it here later!

Definitely though, I knew/know DOZENS former PC types in the State Department.

In the CIA, it was only a couple, but again, I'll ask a few people I know, and see what I can find out...thanks.

Posted by richard mcenroe | June 8, 2007 10:00 AM

"...but wouldn't it be justifiably good for our image to have more Americans visible abroad than just those in fatigues?"

That ranks with the most slanted or most ill-informed things I've ever seen typed here...

Posted by MikeD | June 8, 2007 10:15 AM

docjim505 nails it.

"5. See #1 above."

Repeat as necessary.

Posted by the fly-man | June 8, 2007 1:02 PM

So it ties National Security to the Peace Corps. If the GOP can preach it's head off about imaginary domestic policy agendas which they then absolutely abrogated to the War and terrorism, why can't the senator sell his foreign policy dreams too? Why all of sudden has the right become such over night, foreign policy, collective, think tank, without once acknowledging their miserable abuses of time and treasury? We now know because of the failure of Conservatism to grasp the helm of government, real action on big items is unattainable.They had the trifecta and blew it. Just look at Immigration, have the Republicans just been putting this off just to blame the Democrats? What kinda of abuse of power is that?

Posted by David M | June 8, 2007 1:28 PM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 06/08/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

Posted by burt | June 8, 2007 3:40 PM

I am one of those people who believes most foreign aid is at best of no value and that much has a negative value. That said, there are a few low cost items which could aid people at low cost and help them to become self supporting and prosperous. Three of the most effective are: DDT, clean water and possibly solar ovens.

The screed by Ann Morrow Lindbergh has directly resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people, more than the malevolence of Hitler. Finally after many decades a critical mass of opinion appears to recognize that one to two million people die each year because of malaria which for a few years was controlled in some places by DDT. If we wanted to help people by providing significant amounts of DDT for control of malaria. Even more important in my opinion would be the reduction of the chronically ill who are both suffering and unproductive. A society In which a large fraction of the populace is unproductive is very unlikely to advance out of poverty.

Similarly, a society which does not have good access to water which is free of poisons and organisms is unlikely to be healthy and productive. Some places cannot be provided with cheap palatable water but others can. Our former Treasury Secretary suggested providing wells where this was easy. His idea was not well received. It should have been. He was fired because he was not considered a political asset.

Solar ovens work reliably in sunny areas such as sub Sahara Africa which also tend to not have adequate fuel to burn in more conventional stoves. This results in people spending inordinate amounts of time gathering fuel and decimating their environment. I understand that the big draw back for solar is that it is very slow and that people don't want to use them. A faster oven (bigger reflector, better insulation) or education about the longer term benefits of solar ovens might be of great benefit.

Dale, the Haitian population of DC speaks better English and is better educated than the typical African American who went to a DC high school.

Posted by Jim | June 8, 2007 4:17 PM

Dale in Atlanta said:
"One of the major problems with institutions such as the CIA and State Department today, is that these 60's Peace Corps radicals, later got haircuts, put suits on, and gravitated towards upper echelon positions in the CIA and State Department, but they never ditched their roots in radicalism, socialism, and Anti-Americanism; just one of the many reason why those two particular institutions are complete and utter fraud til this day!"

Add to this every major educational institution in America. They are the educators now and are busy putting out little icons of themselves into society and into the CIA,NSA, DIA, and state dept.

Posted by Project Vote Smart | June 8, 2007 5:22 PM

Senator John Edwards’s voting record on foreign aid and policy issues can be found at: http://www.votesmart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=21107&type=category&category=32&go.x=12&go.y=13

Senator John Edwards’s history of speeches on the Marshall Corps can be found at: http://www.votesmart.org/speech.php?keyword=marshall+corps&daterange=&begin=&end=&phrase=&contain=&without=&type=search&can_id=21107&go2.x=0&go2.y=0#Results

Senator John Edwards’s ratings from special interest groups on foreign aid and policy can be found at: http://www.votesmart.org/issue_rating_category.php?can_id=21107

Project Vote Smart produces the National Political Awareness Test (NPAT), which essentially asks each candidate “Are you willing to tell citizens your positions on the issues you will most likely face on their behalf?” You can find Senator John Edwards’s responses to the NPAT at: http://www.votesmart.org/npat.php?can_id=21107#1061

For more information on Senator John Edwards’s position on foreign aid and policy issues please visit http://www.vote-smart.org or call our hotline at 1-888-VOTE-SMART.

Posted by Rose | June 10, 2007 2:45 AM

It simply makes you want to vomit that these Dim Liberals act like they are normal and reasonable, EXPECT TO BE TREATED as such, and that MSM and the GOP all treat them as such WITHOUT SO MUCH AS BATTING AN EYELASH in the face of such rank inhumanity.

Why cannot we stick them in one of those sensory deprivation rooms and load them so full of their favorite hallucinogens and just shut the door and lock it!

And everyone would be thrilled!

Posted by Rose | June 10, 2007 3:05 AM

Anyone, with 2 brain cells to rub together, will then realize that it wasn't "Bush" that created these murdering terrorists, it wasn't the Iraq War that created them, it wasn't "American" that created thim; it a ONE THOUSAND year old Theology, that has no intention of stopping, unless we destroy it!

Posted by: Dale in Atlanta at June 8, 2007 7:04 AM

There is a quote of one of them telling Thomas Jefferson of their plans to destroy the infidel Americans, in the 1800's, in Jefferson's papers.

I've heard several Christian historical students cite it, lately, and name the man who said it to him, and there ia another man today in the muslim terrorist movement going by that name, that today is very familiar to us.
I don't know where to go to for that quote, off-hand, and don't remeber that name, either, but it was most likely Grant Jeffrey that cited it, the last time I heard it, you can bet a dozen of the men who do those type studies will have the reference, shortly, within weeks.

This is the quote from the Christian teachers I heard, but not from their site, but this is exactly what they have been saying, lately:

"During the meeting Jefferson and Adams asked the Dey's ambassador why Muslims held so much hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts.

"In a later meeting with the American Congress, the two future presidents reported that Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja had answered that Islam "was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise." "


Posted by Rose | June 10, 2007 3:09 AM


Declaring that America was going to spend "millions for defense but not one cent for tribute," Jefferson pressed the issue by deploying American Marines and many of America's best warships to the Muslim Barbary Coast.

Posted by Rose | June 10, 2007 3:22 AM

ALL of Washington DC pretended that NONE of them KNEW the history of Thomas Jefferson having a koran in his possessions, which was allowed to be used by Keith Ellison as if it sanctified his muslim oath of office in the USA Congress - WHEN IN FACT IT WAS THE VERY ANTITHESIS OF SUCH AN FALSE OATH, and a FALSE SWEARING IN - A "HUDNA".... NO DOUBT AT ALL THE SOURCE OF THE TERM "HOODWINKED"!

Thomas Jefferson had the Koran because of the Bible admonition, "KNOW YOUR ENEMY"!