• What it All Means: Is America Served Well by Silencing Dissent?

    May 15, 2012

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

    For those joining our story already in progress, here’s the Twitter-length summary: I’ve worked for the State Department as a Foreign Service Office for some 24 years. I spent a year in Iraq, wrote a book critical of the State Department’s waste and mismanagement in Iraq, blogged about it and now am being fired from the State Department for all that.

    Diplopundit, still the best blog and perhaps the best news source on the State Department, has written a long piece trying to answer the question of what all that means:

    Had Mr. Van Buren, a midlevel FS-01 quit after his return from Baghdad, then wrote his book, we probably would be talking about his book for like, 15 minutes, then forget about it. But that’s not how it happens. He got his 15 minutes of fame plus more. Along the way, we learned a bit more not only about how we spent $44.6 billion in taxpayer funds on rebuilding Iraq but also on the the shallowness of our convictions– from our tolerance to dissenting views, to our much touted push for Internet Freedom and 21st Century Statecraft, as long as they’re not our guys.

    The State Department spends much money and effort to recruit and train the “best and the brightest” to represent America overseas, then proceeds to hammer and shape them into, I’m sorry to say, drones, who follow directions, not cause waves and most importantly, whose stingers are without barbs… How can we cultivate leaders, risk takers, innovators and independent thinkers for the 21st century in an environment that penalizes such traits?

    No matter how Peter Van Buren’s case turns out, the signal had been sent loud and clearly. A Director General of the Foreign Service once testified in the case of a DS agent dismissed for “notoriously disgraceful conduct” and said, “I think it’s important to send a message to the entire State Department that. . . you cannot do this.” That’s the same message broadcasted now in Foggy Bottom’s billboard.

    I’m sure the State Department can argue that “enforcing” the rules is done to promote the proper functioning of the Service. But does the proper functioning of the Service trumps everything else? If the State Department can make sure that another Peter Van Buren will never happen again in the future, that is good for the organization.

    But are we, the American public better served?


    Best to read the entire article, over at Diplopundit.



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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      PVB,

      What it all means is they had to fire you for a lame reason – the Wikileaks link – because you didn’t give the DS/Stasi quasi-law enforcement goons on your case a chance to cripple your professional reputation or arrest you on some phoney charge.

      A Director General of the Foreign Service once testified in the case of a DS agent dismissed for “notoriously disgraceful conduct” and said, “I think it’s important to send a message to the entire State Department that. . . you cannot do this.”

      In your case they shot the messenger.

      To the other DS goons who are engaged in “notoriously disgraceful conduct” it’s too bad the excellent professionals in DS know who they are, but they too have been sent a message. If the DG fired them all, what kind of message would that send?

      05/15/12 9:46 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...

      2

      You are a patriotic American who delivered some unsavory truths to a public in dire needs hearing them. You availed yourself of open-source materials, in addition to your own first-hand experiences, and you vetted your book properly.

      Beyond that, you are a U.S. citizen accorded all the rights devolving therefrom, right?

      You are a true public servant, Mr. Van Buren. You are in the category of some very few, very brave men who have publicly stood against this travesty of justice that is the Phony War on Terror, and who have done so from positions of authority.

      05/16/12 3:29 AM | Comment Link

    • America as a Shining Drone Upon a Hill by Tom Engelhardt « CITIZEN.BLOGGER.1984+ GUNNY.G BLOG.EMAIL said...

      3

      […] What it All Means: Is America Served Well by Silencing Dissent? (wemeantwell.com) […]

      05/16/12 2:19 PM | Comment Link

    • jhoover said...

      4

      When saying US handover Iraq to Iran many of those “foolish” Iraq Analysers denying that and keep lying and believes in their own lies and foolishness>

      Let see were all money “spent $44.6 billion in taxpayer funds on rebuilding Iraq”

      The Persians Dig Deeper into Iraq

      05/17/12 7:08 PM | Comment Link

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