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November 07, 2007

Not All Foreign Service Officers Are Whiners

I donít know how representative John Matel is of his colleagues but I sure hope thereís a lot more like him in the State Department than the ones we tend to hear about. Currently serving on a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Anbar Provience, Matel has a few choice words for the folks who spoke up about forced deployments to Iraq. In short, shut up and let the grownups do the important work.

Calling Iraq a death sentence is just way over the top. I volunteered to come here aware of the risks but confident that I will come safely home, as do the vast majority of soldiers and Marines, who have a lot riskier jobs than we FSOs do.

I wrote a post a couple days ago where I said that perhaps everyone's talents are not best employed in Iraq . That is still true. But I find the sentiments expressed by some at the town hall meeting deeply offensive. What are they implying about me and my choice? And what do they say to our colleagues in the military, who left friends and family to come here and do their jobs? As diplomats, part of our work is to foster peace and understanding. We cannot always be assured that we will serve only in places where peace and understanding are already safely established.

If these guys at the town hall meeting do not want to come to Iraq , that is okay with. I would not want that sort out here with me anyway. We have enough trouble w/o having to baby sit. BUT they are not worldwide available and they might consider the type of job that does not require worldwide availability.

Matel is scheduled to be in Iraq through next September. I havenít had a chance to read a lot of his stuff yet but it looks like his blog bears watching for a different perspective on whatís going on over there.


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posted by DrewM. at 12:05 PM

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