Archive for the ‘Diplomatic Corps’ Category

U.S. Diplomats: Free To Resign

January 10, 2008

James Morrison
The Washington Times
January 9, 2008
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Diplomats who refuse to serve in Iraq because they oppose U.S. policy or fear the duty is too dangerous can always resign from the Foreign Service, a State Department spokesman said yesterday in response to a new survey of U.S. diplomats.
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“When we signed up for these jobs, we signed up to support the policies of the American government,” said spokesman Sean McCormack. “If people have a problem with that, they know what they can do.”
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Forty-eight percent of 4,300 diplomats who responded to the survey by the American Foreign Service Association cited their opposition to U.S. policy in Iraq as a reason for refusing to serve in the country. The diplomats could list more than one reason for rejecting an assignment to Iraq. Sixty-one percent cited security concerns, while 64 percent listed “separation from family.”
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Sixty-eight percent of those who responded also opposed or strongly opposed being ordered to serve in Iraq. Only 32 percent favored or strongly favored the so-called “directed” assignments to Iraq.
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Earlier this year, the State Department feared it might have to draft diplomats to fill the jobs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad but found enough volunteers to staff the mission.

Our thanks to Mike Benge for bringing this to our attention….

Related:
Halfhearted at State?

Diplomat Jack Croddy: You Don’t Want to Go To Iraq? Step Forward and Meet the Families of the Fallen and Those that Serve

State Department Memories from The Hanoi Hilton

Diplomats Who Refuse Assignments: “Hit The Road, You are Terminated with Prejudice and Without Pay”

The Abyss Between State and Defense

In Iraq: Reporters More Dedicated than the U.S. Foreign Service?

Diplomatic Infighting Hurts Terror War Effort

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

“Gaffe Machine” Karen Hughes Leaving State Department

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Halfhearted at State?

November 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
November 7, 2007

For the first time since the Vietnam War, the State Department has notified career diplomats, or Foreign Service Officers (FSO), that they may be required to accept overseas postings not of their choosing. The order from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was necessary to fill 50 or fewer posts in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

FSOs immediately began to express outrage that they might have to leave cushier assignments for tasks in what could be a danger zone. So Miss Rice convened State’s version of a venting session they call a “Town Hall Meeting.”

A 36-year veteran of the diplomatic corps, Jack Crotty, came to the microphone to say: “It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?”

According to reporters, many of Mr. Crotty’s colleagues applauded.

Outraged military personnel, too disciplined to express anger to the media, contacted several retired military people like myself to ask, “What about our service? What about our children? And why are the elite of the State Department allowed to pick and choose their assignments without repercussions? Didn’t we all take the same oath?”

The fact is that the oath FSOs, and everyone of any importance at the State Department, takes is the same oath military personnel take. But there is a vast difference in the way that oath is respected, apparently.

Military people know they face the Uniform Code of Military Justice if they refuse orders. They know they may wind up standing before a court martial. State Department people, it seems, feel completely within their right to defy the secretary of state and their president. Herein lies the dilemma.

After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the president of the United States declared a war on terror and the Defense Department mobilized for war. At Foggy Bottom, many career diplomats yawned. What started as apathy has morphed into defiance.

And our military men and women know this.

But it wasn’t just the active duty military who took Mr. Crotty’s remarks and his colleagues’ apparent approval as a serious affront: Retired military and Foreign Service officers began to buzz on the Internet.

Mike Benge is a retired FSO who should know something about duty, honor and respect for those who serve and abide by their oath.
 

Mike was in the Marine Corps before he joined what is now the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In Vietnam, he served as a Foreign Service officer doing what is now termed “nation-building.”

In 1968, Mike was captured by the North Vietnamese communists and held hostage for more than five years, most of it in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. But since Mike was not a uniformed member of the armed forces, he was not a prisoner of war (POW), so he was held in isolation.

After his release in 1973, Mike again returned to Vietnam as a volunteer and continued his work until the communist takeover in 1975.

Mike, along with many of his colleagues who view service much differently from the current crowd at State, expressed outrage beyond belief that senior State Department officers today are not aware of — or have so little respect for — their oath and their distinguished lineage

Mike sent us this message: “We had many fine Foreign Service officers who served in Vietnam, quite a few from the State Department who served in various capacities including in danger zones out in the provinces. The closest thing to a ‘green zone’ perhaps was service in Saigon — which was sometimes dangerous,” Mike wrote.

“Every one of these dedicated State Department officers in Vietnam did an excellent job, and many gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in service of their country — 27 State Department officials gave the final sacrifice for their countrymen, I believe. Many more from USAID and other government agencies lost their lives, and some like me, were taken prisoner,” wrote Mr. Mike Benge

Now, is the United States of America mobilized for and fighting a “Global War Against Terror” or not? Knowing that senior State Department officers can choose not to participate without any repercussions makes one wonder.

John E. Carey is a retired career military officer, former president of International Defense Consultants Inc. and a frequent contributor to The Washington Times.

Diplomatic Corps: Division Over War Assignments

November 6, 2007

By Nicholas Kralev
The Washington Times
November 6, 2007

The growing pressure on State Department personnel to serve in Iraq, which culminated in Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s decision to resort to forced assignments, has polarized the Foreign Service to a level not seen in decades, American diplomats say.
 


Ryan C. Crocker, U.S.
Ambassador to Iraq.
Some of them said the Bush administration is straining the world’s largest diplomatic corps in support of an almost impossible mission. Others accuse their colleagues of whining and not living up to the oath they took to serve their country.

“We are concerned that directed assignments of Foreign Service civilians into a war zone would be detrimental to the individual, to the post and to the Foreign Service as a whole,”

Steve Kashkett, vice president of the American Foreign Service Association, wrote in a cable to the union’s members.
Iraq service was taking its toll long before the announcement a little more than a week ago that Miss Rice would “direct” diplomats to serve in Iraq, State Department employees said.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/
article?AID=/20071106/FOREIGN/111060060/
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Diplomats Who Refuse Assignments: “Hit The Road, You are Terminated with Prejudice and Without Pay”

November 2, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 2, 2007

Members of America’s famously proud and elitist diplomatic corps have said they will not serve in Iraq so apparently we now live in an America where an oath, a commitment, responsibility, the team and orders don’t count for a thing: even in wartime.

My response to the so called “diplomats” and such “public servants” is analogous to that of Ronald Reagan when air controllers who were Federal Government employees decided to go on strike. The President basically said: “You guys are all fired. Clean out your desks and lockers.”

Ronald Wilson Reagan
Ronald Reagan

There are times when the team is more important than the individual. There are times when an oath has meaning. Who are these bastard that think they are more important than our troops who are fighting and dying in war in behalf of all of us?

Dear members of the American Foreign Service and Diplomatic Corps: your freedom and your cushy jobs are being bought and paid for every day by members of the U.S. Military.  In blood.  You are no longer fit to be called “American” if you cannot take on the occasional tough job between the “cocktail postings.”

In my view, these renegade State Department employees should never again receive a U.S. Government check. They should never again be paid with taxpayer money. And if the president had the power to banish them: he should send them to Uzbekistan or some other garden spot to serve out the remainder of their miserable and disloyal years on this earth.

In my younger years, I briefly aspired to become a United States Foreign Service Officer. I was drawn by the opportunity to serve my nation, to proudly represent the American people, while dealing with the other proud peoples of the globe.

But many of my advisors dissuaded me. Several said “You won’t like the members of the Foreign Service. They are all elitist snobs.” My Father, who served his country in the F.B.I., and two brothers who were U.S. Army Officers, said, “You can do what you want but isn’t there ANY OTHER group of people you’d rather spend your adult life with?”

There was: I became a career U.S. Naval Officer.

And as the years passed, and I had more and more experience with our so called “diplomats,” I knew I made the right decision. We have many fine diplomats and Foreign Service Officers. More than 1,500 members of the foreign service have served in Iraq and Afghanistan already. But this gang of scum who believe they can refuse their oath and continue in “service” of the nation need some awakening. Or they need to find new careers.

In the U.S. Military men and women are starkly aware that they serve “at the pleasure of the President.” That goes for every cabinet member and every member of their staffs. And I for one detest the notion that my taxes are paying for the cushy lifestyles of scum that refuse the orders of their government and their President; no matter the reason.

Related:

State Department Memories from The Hanoi Hilton

 Diplomat Jack Croddy: You Don’t Want to Go To Iraq? Step Forward and Meet the Families of the Fallen and Those that Serve

Condi Rice: Failure is a New Experience

The Abyss Between State and Defense

In Iraq: Reporters More Dedicated than the U.S. Foreign Service?

Diplomatic Infighting Hurts Terror War Effort

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

“Gaffe Machine” Karen Hughes Leaving State Department

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

November 2, 2007

Austin Bay
The Washington Times
November 2, 2007

Diplomats, pack your duffel bags.

And I mean duffel bags, not garment bags. While you’re at it, get a pair of boots. I also recommend several pairs of work gloves and work pants with lots of pockets for cameras, extra batteries, sunglasses and your global cell phone.

Twenty-first century diplomacy isn’t an office job. It is a demanding and, at times, a dangerous trade, one that requires accepting deprivation, running physical risks and hanging out in bad neighborhoods. If this echoes a field soldier’s job description, it’s not a coincidence.

Like it or not, the United States is engaged in a long war over the terms of modernity — will modernity be defined by tyrants, terrorists and religious extremists, or will democratic liberalism defeat them? In this war for wealth creation (economic development) and political maturation, diplomats and skilled civilian agency specialists are soldiers of a type, and to win it means “being out there” in the difficulties.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071102/COMMENTARY/111020112/1012