DH - Foreign service dedicated to nation
Foreign service dedicated to nation
Published: 11/30/2007 12:23 AM
I can understand the disappointment and resentment toward the U.S. Department of State that many people have felt since a few Foreign Service Officers, or FSOs, publicly expressed their reluctance or refusal to serve in war zones.
As an FSO serving in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, with a Provincial Reconstruction Team, or PRT, I am ashamed and offended by other officers who do not seem to accept the responsibility entailed by their oath of office.
I would ask my neighbors (my permanent residence is in Glenview, and my wife and two children live there now, waiting for me to come home) not to judge the Foreign Service by a tiny minority. Over 2,000 members of the Foreign Service have already served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and some have given their lives - like my cousin, Ed Seitz, a diplomatic security service special Agent.
The Foreign Service is less than one half of one percent as large as the military in terms of personnel and budget. The service is stretched thin. But many of us are working effectively side by side with our military colleagues to achieve the U.S. government's objectives and to fulfill our oath of office.
We are not all hunkered down in bunkers; many of us go on missions with the military. Our military colleagues recognize and appreciate us as "force multipliers," and together we are constantly improving our interagency best practices for promoting security, governance, reconstruction and development in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The American people's professional Foreign Service will not let our country down.
P. Franz Seitz
Hat tip to AFSA.