Archive for the ‘U.S. Department of Defense’ Category

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

November 3, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 3, 2007

As of October 15, 2007, according to the Washington Post, 118 journalist-reporters had been killed in Iraq.

At least 3,830 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to the Associated Press.

We asked the U.S. State Department about any and all deaths and we got this in reply:

“More than 1,200 of 11,500 eligible State Department personnel have already served in Iraq. By 2008, we need to fill 250 posts in the Embassy in Baghdad and we have had 200 volunteers.”

“At least three department employees have been killed in Iraq since the 2003.”


And one more point: who was in charge of protecting the diplomats of the State Department and the Foreign Service? Why, the State Department itself. State hired Blackwater to do the job: and now there are rumors that Blackwater is very unhappy with the way the department behaved in protecting them and managing the contract.

When the city of Washington DC has too much crime in a short time span, the Police Chief and the Mayor declare an “All Hands on Deck.” The city gets flooded with police officers and crime goes down.

After September 11, 2001, I thought I heard the President of the United States declare war on terror: in effect, a national “All Hands on Deck.” Reporters and military people streamed into Iraq.

The Foreign Service? Many ran for cover with no repercussion.


Defense on Steroids; State on Life Support

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath
A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

Diplomatic Infighting

See also:
War’s Necessary Sacrifices

The Abyss Between State and Defense

November 3, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 3, 2007

Last Wednesday, October 31, 2007, at a U.S. State Department “Town Hall Meeting,” a U.S. Foreign Service officer stood and addressed the Secretary of State using these words: “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?”

This one short statement underscores the cultural abyss between the U.S. military and the U.S. Foreign Service.

Military people and Foreign Service officers are all voluneers. All take the same oath. But they are widely divided by culture.

A military man or woman who refuses assignment to a war zone has four options: prove that he or she is conscientious objector, desert, face disciplinary measures or prove some hardship such as being the only family member with an income. Proof is tough for any road requiring the military to grant special priviledge and very few military people fail to carry out their assignments and their duties.

At the State Department, it seems to military people, there are no repurcussion for the Foreign Service officer who fails to obey an order or “squirms out.”

In more than 30 years of my personal service, I have seen the gulf between the Pentagon and “Foggy Bottom” (a nickname for the State Department) deepen and widen.

At the Pentagon, the view is that the State Department believes in endless discussion, endless dialogue, endless staffing and endless meetings. At the State Department there is a widely shared view that military people really know nothing of the world and, like a hammer that spots a nail, always favors the force of arms over diplomacy.

Neither of these views is correct.

But misperception and disagreements in form and substance exist between Defense and State and they are significant and dangerous to our Nation, the United States. The two sides of the Potomac River have very different cultures and this will take a long time to resolve, if it really needs resolution. It may be an essential element of mankind that one’s life experiences shape his or her outlook and culture.

But the immediate issue is this. President Bush declared a world-wide war on terror and an all-out U.S. government effort immediately following the terror disaster of September 11, 2001.

But the all-out U.S. government effort never materialized, according to many who work on the Arlington side of the river.  About one percent of the U.S. population has been engaged in the war and the Defense Department has carried, by far, the largest role.   

Arlington is the home of the Pentagon and the great National Cemetery.  On the Arlington side of the river, people look toward Washington DC and ask, where is their contribution? Where is the REST of the Federal Government.

Arlington denizens look toward Foggy Bottom with scorn and distain.

The remarks made at Wednesday State Department Town Hall Meeting have to be faced and dealt with or the abyss within the U.S. government will deepen and widen yet again and even more.

Oath of service to the United States, taken by military members, members of the U.S. Foreign Service, and other government employees:

“I (person taking oath says own name) do solemnly swear that I will support and defend that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. That I take this obligation freely and without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. That I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me, God.”


Diplomatic Infighting Hurts Terror War Effort

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

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

“Gaffe Machine” Karen Hughes Leaving State Department

China showcases transformed army

August 5, 2007

August 5, 2007

As China marks the 80th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army, the BBC’s Michael Bristow in Beijing looks at how the force has modernized.The inability to work out exactly how much it really spends on its military is just one of many transparency issues worrying China’s neighbours and rivals.

“This lack of transparency in China’s military affairs will naturally and understandably prompt international responses that hedge against the unknown,” the US report to Congress warned.

Read the rest: