Nov 1, 2007

Slightly Off Message

During a State Department meeting yesterday in which Foreign Service Officers aired their grievances about a new policy which may involve forced assignments to Baghdad, one officer expressed his view about the "improved" security environment on the ground there:

Service in Iraq is "a potential death sentence," said one man who identified himself as a 46-year Foreign Service veteran (Jack Croddy). "Any other embassy in the world would be closed by now," he said to sustained applause.

Harry K. Thomas Jr., the director general of the Foreign Service, who called the meeting, responded curtly. "Okay, thanks for your comment," he said, declaring the town hall meeting over.


Lurch said...

Many across the blogosphere have made much of this incident, highlighting the fear of several FSOs of coming to harm. It may or may not properly be an indictment of the alleged Bu$h "foreign policy" but it most certainly is a revelation of how professionals view our chances in the Middle East.

Having said that, these FSOs (and to a lesser extent the FSSs) have taken a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution and defend and protect, etc and to obey lawful orders. They don't have a vote in this, other than to resign.

zenpundit said...

I don't want to minimize the risks FSO's face in places like Iraq but this issue was raised once before over at the Small Wars Council to the extreme derision of most of the Iraq veterans and FAO's on the board. Being in the Green Zone isn't like being outside of it.

The US has always needed diplomats who understood the risks of their profession. By and large, the Foreign Service has always risen to that occasion and often gone "above and beyond". That ethic may be waning and if so, a housecleaning is in order. Iraq isn't going to be the last crisis of the 21st century.

Meatball One said...

Lurch and Count Z-Daddy:

...what sharp and nuanced readers we manage to occasionally attract to these seedy quarters. The T-Dawg of Haft of da Spear ( ) broke rank with his usual hypercursorosity and expressed elongated thoughts congruent with your considered takes.

I'm in complete agreement with ye all on this non-event.

BTW, Z-Daddy: thanks for the cartographic overview de Maximus Fabius over at your moated abode.