• US to Philippines: You are Whores

    October 8, 2011

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Embassy/State, Iraq

    The US ambassador to the Philippines apologised for saying that 40% of male tourists visit the country for sex. Ambassador Harry Thomas sent a text message to the Philippine foreign secretary expressing regret for his comments, which provoked an outcry among officials unhappy at their country being portrayed as a haven for sex tourists. “I should not have used the 40% statistic without the ability to back it up. I regret any harm that I may have caused,” Thomas said.

    Thomas, as with any Ambassador, speaks as the personal representative of the President, and his remarks abroad constitute official statements by the Government of the United States. It looks like Thomas is off the hook with a texted (!) apology to the Philippine government. Whew.

    Thomas, prior to being Ambassador to the Philippines, served as Director General of the Foreign Service, a position that, in part, made him responsible for enforcing discipline against Foreign Service Officers who displayed bad judgement and less than professional conduct.

    Meanwhile, Thomas’ old office continues to prosecute me for writing this blog, for writing a book that truthfully describes State’s failings in Iraq and for speaking out.

    The New York Times, in writing about my book and me, said:

    He is certainly not the first diplomat to harbor doubts about the efficacy of American diplomacy, but in the cautious culture of the State Department, where every public statement is carefully “cleared,” often all the way back in Washington, airing them so starkly is simply not done.

    The book and the publicity surrounding it — including an Op-Ed article by him in this newspaper — have infuriated Mr. Van Buren’s colleagues. To them, he has betrayed his loyalty to the well-traveled, multilingual, highly educated professional cadre that is the Foreign Service.

    “If you feel that strongly about policies you feel are misguided and harmful, you do the honorable thing and resign before tearing your colleagues apart in public,” said a diplomat who served in Iraq, speaking, as is more typically the case, on the condition of anonymity.

    Some of the earlier threats State made against me came from… you guessed it… Harry Thomas’ office.

    While the Philippines is way pissed at the US over Harry’s hairy-handed remarks, and while Harry spoke with the authority of the President, and while Harry made headlines around the world, he got off (…) with a texted apology.

    Thus, in the spirit of my new mentor and hero, Harry Thomas, I offer the following. I have already tried to text this to Hilary Clinton, but her mailbox is full. So, Hilary, please:

    LOL, sorry for the blog + book. I didn’t call Iraq a nation of whores or make up statistics, so we Kewl now?!? TTYL, Peter

    I also added a Smiley Face icon. Thanks Harry!

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  • Recent Comments

    • MattieB said...


      And as we also all know, Ambassador Thomas took the lead in the politicized, maladroit handling of Iraq assignments at State.
      In reality there were no cowards, nobody was shirking, everyone, or almost everyone, has put in their time in some very dangerous places, and stands ready to do it again for the needs of the Service. Even in the absence of a clear, stated mission.
      After that sorry town hall meeting on Iraq assignments, expressly set up to humiliate the Foreign Service, Thomas and other HR heroes toddled off to ambassadorships in safe places like the Philippines. The hypocrisy was breathtaking. But never surprising.

      10/8/11 5:34 PM | Comment Link

    • aha said...


      I agree with Matti B. Ambassador Thomas got his island ambassadorship, and the DG deputy Ambassador Taylor got his island ambassadorship. HR is a must stop if you want to become an ambassador unless you’re rich enough to buy it.

      Who would invite the press to witness and record an inhouse townhall anyway? If the Foreign Service appears the worse for the wear, look for the guys who left Washington with medals on their chest for arm twisting their colleagues arms to go to Iraq and Afghanistsn. As long as there are suckers who are willing to volunteer, they and others like them do not have to and can enjoy their quite kingdom somewhere else.

      But how come the former DG got an ambassaodrhsip when he has not served in the WTF zones? What hardship assignment did he serve? Is HR counted as a hardship post? Please respond before I send in my bidlist.

      10/8/11 11:07 PM | Comment Link

    • Administrator said...


      You both are spot on of course. Harry Thomas, as Director General of the Foreign Service, threw the entire FSO corps under the bus to suck up to then-SecState Condi Rice.

      He rigged the personnel rules to pressure people into positions they did not seek for political show (and we can see the results every day in Iraq of what the wrong people in the wrong jobs do).

      Now Harry embarrasses the nation, as he himself is obviously unqualified to represent us as an Ambassador if he can’t even make simple remarks without pissing off an entire allied country. Jeez, even I know better than to say the stupid stuff he did.

      Another wrong guy in the wrong job because of Iraq, Harry Thomas.


      10/8/11 11:43 PM | Comment Link

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