Sunday, March 20, 2011

Give Peace A Chance?

Not so much at the U.S. Institute of Peace. 
The chairman of the 10-member bipartisan board for the past seven years is J. Robinson West, a Bush appointee who served in the Reagan administration as an assistant secretary of the interior in charge of offshore oil policies and before that as a deputy assistant secretary of defense for international economic affairs. In 1984, he founded the PFC Energy company. Little in his professional background suggests either a competency in peacemaking or ties to the American peace movement. The vice chairman is George Moose, a former ambassador posted by the Reagan administration to Benin and Senegal.
With occasional exceptions — I have in mind Kerry Kennedy — presidential appointments to the institute’s board serve as a homogenized dumping ground for academics, corporate executives, Republican or Democratic party loyalists, and others of the well-paid and seemly mannered with no reputations as boundary-pushers. They have little hands-on experience in peace education or peace training, much less sweaty antiwar activism. They are more suited for patronage appointments to harmless presidential commissions, if their yens to be seen as players can’t be controlled.
Over the years, I can’t recall any pacifists from the War Resisters League, the Catholic Worker, the Washington Peace Center or — horrors! — the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee being given a seat on the board.
My emphasis.

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