• Creating Chaos: We Meant Well in Washington Diplomat Magazine

    August 14, 2012

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

    The nice people at Washington Diplomat magazine are running a nice piece on We Meant Well.

    The article is mostly in Q&A format and the author, himself a former Foreign Service Officer, asked some good questions:

    Q: But surely you can understand that if lots of FSOs decided to write critical books like yours while still on active duty it would create chaos?

    A: I can understand that argument. But this is part of living in a free society. As Donald Rumsfeld said, “Democracy is messy.” The State Department promotes the rights of people to speak back to their governments. The Arab Spring — we want people in Syria to shout back at their government, but we won’t let our own employees do that.

    Q: Did you consider resigning after or during your experience in Iraq?

    A: People ask me why haven’t you resigned or if I’m a whistleblower — a Bradley Manning with a better haircut — and I don’t buy any of that stuff. I have no interest in resigning. What I did was write down what happened to me. If you came to Iraq with me, that’s what you would have seen.
    You don’t have to be Bradley Manning. I think it’s reasonable for people to believe that they can write about and talk about what goes on in government. The vast majority of people in government who make the vast majority of decisions which impact us aren’t elected. They’re just people like me, and so there is an obligation for people inside the government to tell people outside the government what goes on in there.

    Q: Do you have regrets?

    A: Not really, my career was essentially over. I’m leaving something else behind and I’m not done yet. I told the PRT story to the world. I left something so my family knows what I did in Iraq and I sent a message for my kids that some things in life are worth standing up and getting kicked in the ass for, and the State Department may yet have to change the way it looks at the writing of its employees — that part is still yet to be written.

    One of the problems with the Foreign Service is we’ve never recovered from the McCarthy era. We gave up being an aggressive advocate in the foreign affairs arena during those years and we’ve never come back. It’s all about going along and play along and it rewards people who do.

    A lot of things the military does have finite, measurable results. With State, the goals are amorphous — to secure friendly relations, to empower women, etc. — it’s stuff that isn’t measurable, and so it’s easy to just kind of float around.

    The people who get promoted don’t have opinions; they’re the people who just do whatever they’re told. I don’t think that’s good for America.

    Read the whole article online now at Washington Diplomat Magazine!

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  • Recent Comments

    • Jhoover said...


      Is he same guy who said after the looting going on the street of Baghdad:
      Let them feel the freedom!!

      Is he the writer of 1996 song ” Ready or Not ” (Fugees song),

      Thinking about the robbery that I did last week
      Money in the bag, banker looked like a drag
      I want to play with pelicans from here to Baghdad
      Gun blast, think fast, I think I’m hit
      My girl pinched my hips to see if I still exist
      I think not, I’ll send a letter to my friends
      A Born Again hooligan only to be king again

      The references to Baghdad are eerily relevant to 2003 till today.

      So now USAID doing good work not like what the done in Iraq with chicken farms…..

      When I speak with him, he’s just returned from a summer trip to Egypt, where he was assessing bee colonies for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Apparently the feds liked his work, he says, because they’ve invited him back this winter.

      Bees help him travel the world

      08/14/12 6:41 PM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...


      I feel your feeling but your country men and women still some do not know the World Map?
      After US losses, hundreds of thousand Iraqi killed and still every day blood on the street of Baghdad, Ten years from invasion and occupation war in Iraq, for some with Rupert Murdoch’s news outlets (he need to make sure new news readers new the map well) still some don’t know Baghdad on the map, and don’t know Iraq from Iran!!
      Just Like many in White house with GW Bush he don’t Know Sunni from Shiites when he went to Baghdad?

      08/14/12 6:55 PM | Comment Link

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