BOY, RICHARD PEARSON is one discriminating journalist. The Post obits writer loves “to get a D.C. school principal on the [obituary] page so I can knock out a foreign service officer who could order sweet-and-sour pork in 12 languages but who did nothing.”
That quote left me wondering how Pearson can judge an entire person’s life based on an obit. But it also hit me pretty hard on a personal level. My father (now retired) was an FSO for 30-plus years and my brother has been one for more than a dozen. I’ve known lots of dedicated FSOs, Mr. Pearson, and let me tell you, they work hard, sometimes under extremely trying circumstances, to represent our government’s foreign policy with as much intelligence and diplomacy as they can.
They also help American tourists in trouble and serve as hosts to demanding congressional delegations. And occasionally, for their trouble, they are taken hostage or killed. Pearson would do well to visit the State Department lobby, which has two plaques with the names of diplomats killed serving their country. They’ve been counting since 1780, and so far there are 171 names on the plaques. Pearson also might want to ask the Post‘s foreign correspondents where they’d be without their embassy sources.
It’s so easy to bash the foreign service. No one really knows what FSOs do, which makes the bashing that much easier. I’ll tell you what they do: They represent you and me, and I hope Pearson learns that the next time he’s on vacation somewhere and he needs to call on his embassy or consulate for help.
via the Internet