A slur against America’s Foreign Service Officers

I recommend reading this letter from John K. Naland, President of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) to the Editor of the Washington Post (esp. note the last sentance; bold emphasis added):

Your May 2 news article “Expert on Terrorism To Direct Rebuilding” included a shameful slur against America’s career diplomats by Pentagon advisor Richard Perle. Discussing President Bush’s selection of Foreign Service Officer L. Paul Bremer to direct the rebuilding of Iraq, Perle characterizes Ambassador Bremer as being “aggressive by Foreign Service standards (but) I’ve seen hummingbirds that are aggressive by Foreign Service standards.”

It is unfortunate that Mr. Perle does not understand that our nation’s diplomats do indeed aggressively promote vital U.S. interests, often in harsh or dangerous places. As Secretary of State Colin Powell told a Senate committee on April 30, “I send young State Department officers out to the most difficult places in the world to serve their country, taking their families with them where there may not be any hospital care, there may not be any school for their kids, or where they’re separated from their families for a longer period of time than the average soldier gets separated from his family. And they go willingly because they’re happy to serve the American people.”

Indeed, I invite Mr. Perle to visit the Department of State this coming Friday, May 9, to witness the addition of six more names to the AFSA Memorial Plaques honoring American diplomats who have died in the line of duty while serving our nation abroad. Those plaques now contain 215 names. As a Pentagon advisor, Mr. Perle might be particularly interested in the fact that, in the last half century, more U.S. Ambassadors than generals and admirals have died in the line of duty.

To date the Washington Post has not published this letter.  Hat tip for this to a comment posted at Abu Muqawama.

Please share your comments by posting below (brief and relevant, please), or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

3 thoughts on “A slur against America’s Foreign Service Officers”

  1. Duncan Kinder

    I’ve seen hummingbirds that are aggressive by Foreign Service standards.

    Perle also slurs hummingbirds, which can be highly aggressive. See “Aggressive/territorial Hummingbird? silly newbie question…

    As soon as she sees another hummer she zooms in and starts chewing him/her out in bird language and chases him/her off! I swear I’ve seen her peck at the other birds….I know that hummers (esp. the Rufous) have a reputation for being aggressive.

    Or simply Google “aggressive hummingbird”

  2. It is said that if hummingbirds were as large as crows, it wouldn’t be safe to walk in the woods (if you’re in Tucson, check out the marvelous walk-in hummingbird exhibition at the Desert Museum).

    I’ve spent a lot of time in embassies and have worked with hundreds of Foreign Service officers. Perle’s slur is on a par with the other services he’s rendered his country over the years.

  3. And I remeber the letter signed by many serving and retired USA FS officers (many heads) that stated that the Iraq war was going to be:
    (1) A disaster.
    (2) Totally against everything that US policy had stood for for (what?) 30 years.
    (3) Some, quite correctly picked up that it was against Internation Law and, since the created the UN and the Congress agreed to it, against US law!!

    They are a lot of really good US FS people, just as there are good UK, Australian, French,Chinese, etc, etc. Nice if their Govts would actually listen to them occasionally.

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