At a State department “town hall” meeting on Wednesday, one participant, veteran diplomat Jack Croddy, pointed out the risks of injury and death faced by American diplomats [in Iraq]. But he hit closer to the heart of the matter when he told the director general of the Foreign Service, who was leading the meeting, “It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment.” On Friday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was traveling, issued a statement saying, “We must go forward with the identification of officers to serve, should it prove necessary to direct assignments. Should others step forward, as some already have, we will fill these new jobs as we have before —with volunteers. However, regardless of how the jobs may be filled, they must be filled.” [complete article]
Editor’s Comment — The core issue here is that there is an inherent tension between loyalty and intelligence. The willingness to follow orders requires, in part, a willingness to suspend the use of ones own powers of discrimination, analysis, and judgment. Diplomats who are good are doing what they are told and probably not as good at conducting diplomacy.