The Bush administration is taking a hard line on dragooning civilian Foreign Service Officers into serving in the war zone of Iraq. The article contains a quote by Ambassador Ryan Crocker which says that the FSO’s swear an oath to serve anywhere in the world. This is not true. They swear an oath to uphold the constitution. They sign a contract that allows them to be posted anywhere. There is a difference, and the two documents may actually be in contradiction. For instance, what if the government did something unconstitutional and wanted to send you to support that action . . .?
Another retired US diplomat sent me this:
‘ I am also a retired Foreign Service Officer, and strongly second the view of the anonymous FSO (retired) whom you cited in your column today. The issue really is not the commitment to world-wide service undertaken by FSOs. The decision by the Bush Administration to not only keep an embassy open in a war zone, but INCREASE its size to make it one of the largest in the world, is simply testimony to the madness of the entire Iraq “adventure,” and the fraudulent nature of the expressed rationale for our being there. Most of the staff in this “embassy” do not speak the language and cannot act effectively as diplomats, even if that were the purpose in sending them there. But that is not the purpose….
The willingness of Secretary Rice, or Dr. Ferragamo as she is known on one satirical website, to continue supporting this war of occupation through this “embassy” and more broadly through her declaration of a new order known as “transformational diplomacy” simply confirms that she is not a “moderate” voice for diplomacy against the likes of Dick Cheney. Diplomats do not “transform” other countries. They represent the interests of the US to the governments and citizens of other, independent, countries. ‘
Again, please write your congressional representatives and senators, and contact your local Democratic and Republican party organizations, and urge them in the strongest terms to close down the US embassy in Iraq. It has no business being there. It is under constant mortar and rocket attack, cannot actually conduct diplomacy, and is a thinly veiled Viceregal Palace intended to perpetuate Bush’s neo-colonialism.
To end the war, begin with what is possible. Close the embassy. Save our diplomats.
By the way, is the sort of news still coming out of Iraq every day, with 3 more US troops killed. That’s a “lull”? And, see Phillip Carter on the dark side of the ‘good news’ about Iraq. The fact is that it is still one of the most violent places on earth and the decline in fighting comes in part in Baghdad because the city has gone from being 50/50 Sunni and Shiite to being 75% Shiite, with much of this change having come in 2007 under the nose of the surge troops from the US.
Diplomacy with Iraq’s neighbors can be done outside Iraq better. Diplomacy with Iraqi politicians can still be pursued (most of them live outside the country anyway).
Save the diplomats. Save the world.