The Peace Corps Was Another Casualty of the Gulf War

The opinion-page column "The War's Winners and Losers," March 7, is well put. There has been little attention for one American loser, however. As a result of the Iraq-US confrontation, the Peace Corps was pulled out of five Arab countries. True to its original goals, the Peace Corps was present in relatively poor countries - precisely the same nations who have always resented the ruling elite of the oil-rich sheikdoms. Many evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers feel that the US cannot simultaneously use them as peaceful representatives of the US in sending them on a people-to-people mission, and bomb the people of a similar nation next door. In the "new world order" there should not be room left for double standards in foreign policy.

Payam Foroughi, Logan, Utah

In assessing winners and losers, the author says "President Bush laid to rest once and for all the allegations of personal wimpishness." This apparently was intended as praise, but reminded me of a satirical article that I read in a British magazine in January, on the theme of various countries' secret weapons - the American one was the "voice-activated Bushwhacker - call it a wimp and it starts a war."

Guy Ottewell, Greenville, S.C.

Military and the media In the opinion-page article "Gulf War Scorecard," March 7, the author gives the military a "C" or maybe even a "D" in "public relations." He also berates generals who think reporters are a nuisance. He has the right idea - but the wrong target.

The business of our armed forces is not "public relations" - it is war. The military's prime directive from the American public which it serves is to conserve American lives while achieving victory. In the Gulf war, the generals and admirals seem to have honored that obligation remarkably well. This may explain why it is not the public but only the press which is carping about the military's alleged lack of public relations.

If it was your life at stake, or that of a loved one, who would you trust - one of the PR-deficient military leaders, or one of the seemingly endless stream of babbling "bouffants" speaking from the electronic box? In the minds and hearts of the 550,000 troops now returning from the Persian Gulf, alive and well, as well as in the minds and hearts of their families and friends, the military gets an "A+" for real "public relations" - caring about and taking care of the members of that public.

Francis Cummings, Boiling Springs, Pa.

Folk songs and war memorabilia Jeff Danziger's cartoon, March 4, shows a folk musician hunched over a guitar on a bar stool. He'd introduced an antiwar song he'd been unable to finish because the war had been wrapped up so quickly.

I did get a chuckle out of this. Three days after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait I wrote a little folk tune. I sang it at every club performance I engaged, and most often it was the dignified, thoughtful, and quiet one in 20 that responded with genuine gratitude. It generated a lot more attention after bullets started flying.

Today I happened to notice how many magazine racks are packed full of Desert Storm bumper decor, how many shelves are lined with sweatshirts bearing the motto "Support Our Troops," and the thousands of stickers and memorabilia eternally etched with soaring eagles and American flags. I don't know what they'll do with all their leftovers, but my little folk song has just begun to do its part, and it won't take up any room in the local dump.

Donna Brown-Joerg, Chesterhill, Ohio

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